Dakar: Team Vanguard stage 11 report

Bailey's Withdrawal Tied to Equipment Failure Dakar's governance board ruled that Bailey was eliminated from the race when he missed two checkpoints in Stage 9. The lengthy delay we reported at checkpoint 1 on January 9th was caused by a failure...

Bailey's Withdrawal Tied to Equipment Failure

Dakar's governance board ruled that Bailey was eliminated from the race when he missed two checkpoints in Stage 9. The lengthy delay we reported at checkpoint 1 on January 9th was caused by a failure of the power steering pump's pulley assembly. "One of the bolts used to secure the pulley was miss-installed the day before. We were about 70 kilometers into the special just prior to checkpoint 1 when the failure occurred," stated Bailey in a telephone interview today.

With the assistance of the team's support vehicle, the crew managed to engineer a bolt in the field but the steering pump's bearings were contaminated during the incident. After just a few kilometers the bearings ceased and ripped the serpentine belt. Bailey elected to tow the car to checkpoint 1 to stay in the race. Unknown to Bailey, Andy Caldecott's fatal accident had the medical crew on high alert.

"After we cleared checkpoint 1 we continued our tow towards checkpoint 2 when one of the sweeper trucks stopped our progress. They informed us that all competitors were to stay at their closest checkpoint until further notice. We returned to checkpoint 1 and waited the rest of the day. What I didn't know at the time was that the medical support crew didn't have the authority to speak for the rally governance board. When they released us from checkpoint 1 we were told that we would be allowed to continue the race if we made it to the bivouac prior to the start of Stage 10, now delayed until early afternoon," continued Bailey.

The going was slow. In tow it took Bailey all night to reach the Stage 10 bivouac, arriving at about 9:30 am, just in time to replace the steering pump. The body damage recorded in the photographs was sustained while in tow.

"I wasn't aware there was a problem with my status until I arrived at the Stage 10 bivouac; that's when I saw that my car was officially withdrawn from the race. When I explained my circumstances to the board I learned that the medical team didn't have the authority to speak for the board. After some discussion, the board ruled that I made two mistakes in Stage 9. First, I bypassed two checkpoints, and second, I didn't question the orders from the medical team. I am deeply disappointed but accept the boards ruling. I'm committed to Dakar and will race again next year. The racing director was kind enough to reclassify my car as a T5 assist vehicle. I came here to make it to Dakar; this way I can learn more about the terrain of the Dakar and continue my Pen's-for-Kids-to Learn campaign. There is a silver lining in these events. I am able to spend more time in the villages and handout the pens directly to the children...it's a wonderful experience. I can't tell you how much I am enjoying my Dakar experience," concludes Bailey.

Oddly, Kiffa, the point that Bailey was eliminated from the 2006 Rally at Stage 9 is the same town that he was eliminated in 2005 in Stage 6. Should we start praying that Kiffa is off the Dakar rally map in 2007?

Team Vanguard's Philippe Gache finished stage 11 in 67th position, moving his overall standing to 13. Hang in there Philippe -- we are pulling for you! The team truck is withdrawn from the race for missing the same checkpoints in Stage 9.

-vanguard-

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Series Dakar
Drivers Philippe Gache