Helping hands and quick thieves Yesterday morning 92 riders had started on their way from Tidjikja towards Nema. Today until noon 65 have reached the finish so far. Most of the others were forced to spent the night at CP 3 (kilometer 488). They...
Helping hands and quick thieves
Yesterday morning 92 riders had started on their way from Tidjikja towards Nema. Today until noon 65 have reached the finish so far. Most of the others were forced to spent the night at CP 3 (kilometer 488). They were completely exhausted.
The plane, which carries the private riders and their motor bikes from Nema to Bamako is supposed to leave around 6 p.m. today. By then, conclusions can be drawn about how many riders survived the 9th stage. With that in mind, Winfried Kerschhaggl’s (KTM head of marketing) conclusion seems correct. Yesterday, he suggested that today and tomorrow’s stages were cancelled do to sporting reasons.
Silent heroes For about 14 hours the Latvian, Janis Vinters, struggled through the desert. “It was hell. Now I’m only glad to have made it,” was what the totally exhausted rider said late last night. But after a few minutes of rest, a refreshing drink and a few bites of food he is already thinking about his motorbike again. “The holding device for my road book broke after a crash,” explains Vinters, “I ran around through the camp and didn’t know what to do. Than Tatjana Haywards looked me up. This was my rescue from despair.” Tatjana Hayward is the “good spirit” who takes care of the riders who have booked the KTM-assistance-package for the Dakar rally. If a rider runs into problems she gets in touch with Johannes Fahrner, head of the spare part supply, and Christoph Honsowitz, the mechanic. “I offer some advice for the repair and a helping hand if someone is in need,” comments Christoph. Together with him the complete assistance crew helps to support the KTM-riders that their dream can come true and they can take part in the Dakar rally possibly even reaching the finish at the Senegalese capitol in the end. That is what Janis Vinters dreams of as well. The crew of the KTM assistance trucks was of help to him last night.
“With all of our spare parts we could put together a whole new motorbike,” explains Johannes Fahrner. He is responsible for all parts, from the smallest screw up to a whole engine. Everything is in the right order and handy at any time. It’s for this organization that quick repairs can be guarantied. In the end this also saves the time of the private riders. Besides the daily repair work they got one thing on their rally agenda: to ride and ride and ride. Wolfgang Kellner knows how to do so as well. Only he drives the MAN-truck of the KTM assistance team. And he brings them from one stage to the next. For many years Kellner was able to gather his experience in the desert. It is for him to drive the truck to the next bivouac in time.
As for the KTM manufacturer riders, they arrived at Mali’s capitol late morning. Today they were able to take their time to eat, drink, shower, and talk or simply to relax. And they were to remember yesterday’s frustration again. After taking a first breath at the bivouac at Nema one of the riders found out that an important piece of his luggage was missing, his bag. In these small white bags the riders keep their sleeping bags, mats, tooth brushes, personal items and some medication. Before the start, the riders have to hand over their bags and the plane transports the luggage towards the next bivouac. Yesterday morning some thieves must have waited until attention was diverted and obviously stole the luggage of all KTM team-riders as well as some of the others. Last night the riders slept on the mats of their mechanics which stayed in the assistance trucks. At the moment the mechanics drive around in Bamako. Until tomorrow the motorbikes are kept at Parc Fermé. This means that they cannot be worked on at the moment.
Jean Brucy has arrived at Bamako as well. Do to a sandstorm they have had problems with electricity at yesterday’s bivouac. There was no possibility to x-ray Brucy at the doctor’s tent. This morning they were able to do so at the hospital in Bamako. During the next few hours the doctors will decide if the Frenchman has to go straight home to Paris or if he can fly to Dakar to experience the end of the Rally with his team-mates.