Dakar: Scott Cox's Dakar Daily 2007-01-17

Wednesday January 17, 2007 Stage 11 - Wednesday 1/17/07 This stage is replacing the Nema-Timbuktu stage initially planned Today, was a somewhat of a semi-rest day on the Dakar with no timed special test section planned. Riders and teams will...

Wednesday January 17, 2007
Stage 11 - Wednesday 1/17/07

This stage is replacing the Nema-Timbuktu stage initially planned

Today, was a somewhat of a semi-rest day on the Dakar with no timed special test section planned. Riders and teams will travel by highway to the bivouac in Ayoun - a wise move toward safety of all participants prompted by the above mentioned Foreign Ministry.

Cruising comfortably down the tarmac on his still immaculate #9 Red Bull KTM 660 Rallye, Chris Blais had the opportunity to savor the success he's enjoyed so far this year. As of last night, he sits comfortably in the 4th overall position - mind, body, and motorcycle have all worked, according to Chris "Perfect. No problem."

Some in the rally are sold on the "new is better" concept. And evidence of this is everywhere. However, Chris and his technician Matt "Rock Steady" Spencer have opted to stick with "old" technology in the form of KTM's proven 660 Rally engine, versus the more modern, perhaps more powerfu (and, for some, less reliable 690 powerplant). Blasphemy? Results don't lie and they American's gamble has paid off. With just over 25-minutes separating him from the 3rd overall #8 Repsol KTM of David Casteau, who can argue with that? Bon chance, Chris!

***

Blais charges through on Stage 10

Stage 10 - Tuesday 1/16/07
Nema - Nema

Stage 10 according to www.dakar.com This stage is replacing the originally planned Nema-Timbuktu stage which was rerouted for safety reasons. -- "No longer the same colours or materials, no longer the same demands. On leaving the Sahara and its strings of dunes, there's a very noticeable increase in the average speed. In the savannah now, you can start putting away the shovels and waffle-boards. But watch out - after visiting Timbuktu there's going to be another outing in Mauritania."

The 2007 Dakar enters the final stages

Technical gremlins didn't allow me to get a sat-phone call through to the Chris Blais. Suffice it to say that Apple Valley, California's favorite rally racer put in another stellar performance. 7th for the day, 4th overall going into Stage 11.

"GO CHRIS! GO!"

Farewell friend: Marcel Fortney

It is with great remorse that I must announce the death of a wonderful man and good friend, Marcel Fortney. On Monday, Marcel, 49, was overcome by a sudden heart attack while at home on his Templeton, CA ranch.

A much respected veteran of the motorcycle industry, with over 30-years experience, Marcel was perhaps best known as the AGV Helmet man. His first job was with Cycle Guide magazine and since then he worked for Fox Racing, Pirelli, Yoshimura, Artehouse, and most recently AGV Helmets. He also owned and ran several motorcycle dealerships in the San Francisco Bay area. Marcel and his trusted colleague "JH" are familiar faces in the race paddocks, boardrooms, and motorcycle shops across America. Marcel had an encyclopedic knowledge of, and love for, collectible motorcycles, cars, art and memorabilia. He enjoyed books, music, and horses but most of all Marcel was passionate about his family and being close to them.

Marcel exemplified the spirit that motorcyclists everywhere search for. Those of us fortunate enough to know him, to love him, and to work with him will forever miss his easy going manner and brilliant sense of humor.

Marcel leaves behind a wife, Christie, and 14 year-old daughter, Mackie. A private memorial service for friends and family is scheduled for Sunday, January 28th in Ojai, CA.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donation's be made on behalf of Marcel's daughter:

The Mackie Memorial Fund
c/o Mid State Bank, 1207 Maricopa Hwy, Ojai, California 93023
Account number: 410-218-611

For questions regarding donations please contact Pati Michaels at 805-646-0111.

-credit: scott cox

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Chris Blais