Watch out for your... tongue! On km 2 of the day's special stage, the best thing to do behind the wheel was to stay quiet. A bad rut in the road not only sent about 10 riders off their bikes, but it also hurt two of them in the exact same way....
Watch out for your... tongue!
On km 2 of the day's special stage, the best thing to do behind the wheel was to stay quiet. A bad rut in the road not only sent about 10 riders off their bikes, but it also hurt two of them in the exact same way. The first victim was a rider named Christian Califano, who is nevertheless pretty familiar with the most viciously tough times. The newcomer on the Dakar cut his tongue over 2cm by biting in it. This injury was enough to silence the traditionally pretty talkative 'Cali' who still managed to mumble: "French rugby players should come on the Dakar to see what pain really is!" A few hours later, another Dakar rookie ended up with the same injury: Frenchman Patrick Jacquemin. "I suffered during the whole stage, he says. At a certain point en route, there was a group of gorgeous Argentinian girls who gave me water and called me 'El Frances'. When they saw my injured tongue, they were not that into 'El Frances' anymore..."
The little bike that goes, goes, goes
The increase in the number of pilots opting for the 450cc category when enrolling on to the Dakar has been a strong trend over the last few years. This year, 92 riders have registered with these "smaller" bikes that represented more than 40% of the bike line up starting in Buenos Aires. Neglected for too long because of their lack of reliability, the 450cc benefited from the efforts of all manufacturers who managed to link up the bikes' driver-friendliness, lightness and toughness. More importantly, the best in class come with promises of top performaces in the race. The best and most convincing example is - of course - David Fretigne, who ranked 4th in the overall rankings at the end of stage 2.
Pichot pays a visit to the bivouac
Former Pumas captain, Agustin Pichot briefly dropped by on the Dakar and had his attention attacted by the bivouac at Puerto Madryn. As the scrum half he is, he immediately gauged the situation: "I am very impressed. I thought the Dakar was a dream race and it is now in my country! Even better, it is driving through this magical region called Patagonia to which I am so attached because I worked here." Feeling relaxed, clad in a pink T-shirt, Agustin, who is vacationing in Argentina, only deplored that the "pig" had not yet arrived at the bivouac. To the mind of Pichot, the "pig" is no one else but his friend Califano racing on bike nr83. "Cali is always late. He will get here after night fall..." As to racing the Dakar himself one day, the case is quickly closed: "On a bike, I don't think I can drive more than 20m without falling." But this should not prevent Pichot from returning to the rally raid for the Mendoza or the Buenos Aires finish. Just to really say hi to the "pig"...