The remaining 169 competitors arrived without problems in Bobo-Dioulasso; Burkina-Faso. A day off, not appreciated by most of the riders and than again the border crossing with Mali. This time at the other side, so no danger for robbing...
The remaining 169 competitors arrived without problems in Bobo-Dioulasso; Burkina-Faso. A day off, not appreciated by most of the riders and than again the border crossing with Mali. This time at the other side, so no danger for robbing gangs.
169 Competitors. Normally 143 if the rally wouldn't have been neutralized. Also in the bivouac yesterday the rumours went round that the neutralization was most convenient to the Organization after the slaughter during the stage to Néma. The number of competitors that is allowed to start with the last 6 days has increased a bit, despite the hefty time penalties and under the condition that they arrive on time in the capital city of Burkina-Faso.
During the two-day trip to Burkina-Faso there wasn't any thread of gangs with evil intentions. Especially the trip from Bamako to Bobo-Dioulasso was beautiful, tells a beaming Tom Colsoul at the bivouac: "It was a quiet day, not too many kilometers. But we really enjoyed ourselves. We've seen the most beautiful villages, with playing kids everywhere. Fantastic, now I know why I love Africa that much."
Just like Gerard de Rooy, Tom Colsoul also regrets the two extra days off: "We are in condition, we're fit, the truck hardly has any problem that can't be solved, so it's a pity that we lost our rhythm. On the other hand I understand that the Organization is afraid to blame their selves. It's ridiculous to arrive in Dakar with only 60 competitors."
Colsoul is right; they could have taken their chances with regard to their rivals: "The difference between Kabirov, Loprais and us is not even 10 minutes, so enough tension. Ok, our mission is to reach Dakar. But if you find out that you can do better, you fight for it."
Tomorrow the planned rest day and of course the whole day working on the trucks. Besides, the pilots of the service trucks do need a day of rest. Not only because they have to work hard during the nights, but they also have to do quite a lot of kilometers. Also the coming week; e.g. the stage from Bamako to Ayoûn El Atroûs, a stage of 730 kilometers for the assistance trucks including 450 kilometers across the competitors' track. This is followed by a stage of 830 kilometers to Nouakchott on the coast of Mauritania. So no rest for them, they just step on it to reach the bivouac on time, eat a bit and start working.
Jan de Rooy and his crew arrived in Dakar yesterday evening without any problem. "About 1,000 kilometers, which we did easy. The first kilometers still were a bit exciting, wondering whether the truck would be ok. Well, the truck was ok so it was a peace of cake," tells navigator Dany Colebunders at breakfast in Dakar.
It's the intention that the team stays there, but perhaps at the end of the rally they'll go towards the caravan to take a closer look at the performances of starting number 417.
To be continued . . . . .