Dakar: KTM day 12 notes

The rest of the day -- that really isn't one The sun is burning and the thermometer climbed to 39° Celsius in the shadow. One can hardly feel the breeze. There is no cloud in the sky. Doesn't that sound like a perfect vacation day? No. One is...

The rest of the day -- that really isn't one

The sun is burning and the thermometer climbed to 39° Celsius in the shadow. One can hardly feel the breeze. There is no cloud in the sky. Doesn't that sound like a perfect vacation day? No. One is missing the sound of waves and there is no relaxing in the shadow underneath a palm tree.

For the rally crews the rest day is almost like an ordinary day with lots of work to do. Manel Salinas for example has to work. The KTM crew just calls him Manolo. From the time on Nani Roma started riding the Dakar; Manolo does mechanical work for KTM. "Today no part of the bike will stay untouched," states the small Spaniard. "I have stripped the motorbike down to the frame. Now I'm looking for cracks and other damage. That is what I'm going to look for on every other part. After everything is cleaned I putt he motorbike back together. Actually, this is pretty simple, just like playing with Lego. Only the engine will be changed as a whole. The old one has perfectly worked, but fort he second part of the rally a new one will have to be used." What Manolo doesn't tell: He is hoping that "his" motorbike will finally arrive at Dakar after all this years. Maybe there is a possibility for Nani to even win. This year chances for that are better than ever.

The mechanics will be working on the motorbikes all day long. What about the riders? They've got time to relax. And they get to do the little ordinary things of everyday life. Nani Roma describes, "I'm washing my clothes, which is something I never have time to do otherwise. Further we'll go to a restaurant enjoy our time eating and talking. Additionally I'll still have to write my road book for tomorrow." Marc Coma gives the following details, "I'm doing laundry today, too. And I'm going to have a nice massage." Richard Sainct explains, "I'll take it absolutely easy today. That is exactly what I need. Later on I'm going to see the doctors. The injury on my arm heals very slowly, but my subscription of antibiotics is almost all gone." Ralf Pariasek, medical assistant explains why, "The danger of an infection has passed. Luckily, nothing has happened and Richard won't have to worry about any troubles resulting from the injury. He will still have to take some pain killers. That is why the rest day is especially important for Richard. Finally he gets to relax his arm. For us it is unbelievable how he can go on with an injury like that. He really is an tough boy. To tell you the truth, neither one of the others is mentally as strong as Richard." The physiotherapist knows his patients since they regularly turn up on his bench. Just like today. To work on them means to knead, to stretch, to tend to the blisters a tense spots for hours on end. He explains what is further important, "I need to keep an eye on everyone to make sure they sleep, eat and drink enough so their energy will revive."

Plenty of energy is exactly what they will need. Large sections of tomorrow's 12th stage pass through tropical forests. The officials of the rally have pronounced it to be a fast track. The finish is located at Bamako, the Malian capitol. Of the total 666 km only 213 km are taken into the valuation.

Interview with Hans Trunkenpolz, team coordinator KTM

Today is the rest day, how pleased are you with the development of the rally so far?

Concerning the technical part we can be content with ourselves. Only once did we have trouble with an engine, but that was due to a crash. The problems on the tires were owed to the material so it had nothing to do with us. Besides that our material has endured the high stress of the rally very well.

As a coordinator you have to work with the team managers of the individual teams. How does this cooperation work?

Very well. The team managers have to take care of tons of paper work along the way, but they are also the connection between the riders, the mechanics and I. That works out wonderfully. In the meantime each team has learned to work relatively independent. Additionally, for all of them to share we provide one mechanic from White Power, who is responsible for the fenders, one mechanic for the single-cylinder and another one for the two-cylinder KTM motorbikes.

Are the teams to work even more independent in the future?

That would be nice. KTM supplies each rider with the exact same material and we have specialists traveling along. We take care of the spare part supply and coordinate the separate operations. You could say we provide the basic logistics for each team to work effectively and independently.

The rally is not over yet. Is there anything you want to tell the individual teams for the second part of the race?

The motorbikes ran perfectly so far. However that doesn't mean we should let the concentration slip. The following stages have their difficulties as well. The mechanics and all the others in the background should still get to work as concentrated as the riders do. We are fighting for the victory! And that's what I'm hoping for concerning the rest of the rally. So far I can be very satisfied with the duty and performance of all. And the way I became to know our teams I'm sure it will stay like this until the end of the Dakar rally.


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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Richard Sainct , Nani Roma , Marc Coma , Hans Trunkenpolz , Manel Salinas