All but a Rest Day in Dakar 2005 South Africa's Alfie Cox is in high spirit and well prepared after today's Rest Day in Atar. Having completed just over 5000 km, Cox is in 4th place overall in the motorcycle category of the 2005 TelefÃ³nica...
All but a Rest Day in Dakar 2005
South Africa's Alfie Cox is in high spirit and well prepared after today's Rest Day in Atar. Having completed just over 5000 km, Cox is in 4th place overall in the motorcycle category of the 2005 Telefónica Dakar race.
Anything but peaceful! Early this afternoon a sandstorm raged through the bivouac in Atar and at the same time overall motorcycle leader, Italian, Fabrizio Méoni of the Gauloises KTM Team, teammate to Cox and Frenchman Cyril Despres, had to convince the organizers to lower his penalty from 10 to 2 minutes, after he was caught moving out of the allowed racing corridor. "The organizers of all the cross country rallies allow competitors 3.3 km on either side off the centre line planned route, but in the past it was very difficult to implement and control. Now it is very simple, we simply monitor the competitors GPS after the stage," said Zanarolli, the route director.
Andy Caldecott dropped from 3rd to 8th place. He was punished for exceeding the speed limit in a town. "Four days ago I must have been speeding on a liaison. It was 5 a.m. in the morning and the vision was terrible when I headed towards a village. I knew there must be a speed trap, but it wasn't located within the village. It was set up right in front of it. When I passed it I was still a bit over the speed limit. Due to the 17 min penalty I have lost my tight grip on the top riders. That's bitter."
Marc Weber, mechanic for Jean Brucy, remarked, "I'm not going to change the engine. It runs flawlessly. We've engaged a pressure-loss check, changed the sparks and checked the carburetor. I'll probably also renew the clutch."
Fabrizio Meoni is going to take off with a new engine tomorrow. His mechanic Romeo Feliciani explains, "I'd rather change the engine. If there is a brake down I will be the one to be blamed. One never knows exactly just where or why parts might be worn or cracked."
Cox decided not to change his engine, saying: "I have not really pushed this engine hard yet. When we change the oil after each stage, it is still clean and there are no iron filings coming out, so I will rather use the one I know than start off with a new engine and not be certain how it is going to behave."
All riders are healthy. "All riders are offered a massage to loosen their muscles," explains physiotherapist Ralph Pariasek, "Fabrizio always demands a special massage for his back. Alfie's shoulder has to be bandaged again; it helps to stabilize it. All the KTM truck drivers are treaded for sore backs."
Yesterday, Hazel (Alfie's wife), received an e-mail from a family in East Germany who registered their car as COX3, the e-mail read:
We ( my wife, my son and I) came from Chemnitz, East Germany. We are so great fans, so as we create our label for our car by your name and starting number at the Dakar 2005. Isnt it great?
We hope, you will win the Dakar this year!
If you read this mail, we will be happy, if you can sent a mail or letter to us with a column from you.
Greetings from Germany
Christian, Ines and Alex"