Dakar: KTM stage 3 report

A fast and sandy ‘good bye’ from Europe Most of the time the rally competitors feel extremely excited when a stage takes them along a beach. Most of the time this beach lays at the Atlantic coast in front of Dakar city which only means one...

A fast and sandy ‘good bye’ from Europe

Most of the time the rally competitors feel extremely excited when a stage takes them along a beach. Most of the time this beach lays at the Atlantic coast in front of Dakar city which only means one thing to the drivers: We have made it! We have reached Dakar.

Today, the riders paced across a beach as well. And today the competitors also thought: We have made it! Meaning with that: We are happy to be finished with the European stages of this 26th edition of the Dakar. “These routes are only staged for the spectators.” states Alfie Cox. “I don’t consider them to be real stages yet. I don’t like them at all. I’m more than glad that we finally leave for Africa.” The South African speaks out loud what most of the others think, too. Alfie arrived 7th today.

The Frenchman David Fretigne (Yamaha) sped fastest across the parcour at the beach of Castellón. Cyril Despres seems to have ‘bought’ the second spot for himself. Today he was lacking barely one second to claim the victory. Giovanni Sala seems to be on the move as well. He arrived in 3rd place only 5 seconds behind the leader. “I’m highly motivated and definitely want to win at least a few of the stages. I get along very well with my Rally 660 bike. From tomorrow on I will really get moving on.”

The riders of the Team Red Bull KTM USA are also looking forward to Africa. Team coordinator Gio Barker said at the end of the special: “We are all excited about Africa now. My team will definitely perform great at the stages in Morocco. These stages are similar to our Bachas. There they can finally show what they are worth.”

Let’s look at the numerous private riders, which are performing at the race with KTM’s assistance. Usually, they are left in the shadows of the professionals. That doesn’t do justice as we think. Their enthusiasm, their endurance and their will to fight at the Dakar should be estimated just as high as the work of the professionals. Therefore, we will check on them time and again this year.

Silent heroes

Marco Borsi and Checco Tonette have one big dream. They want to ride the Dakar at least once. This year they live their dream and start with numbers 178 and 179. Relatives and friends given them financial help. The two Italians chose a KTM 660 Rally for their bikes. Tonetti, in real life an airplane pilot, tells us why: “KTM’s support is perfect for amateur riders like us. I could always call Tatjana Hayward (customer support at KTM – the editor) whenever I had any questions or problems.” Checco Tonetti has not been around bikes for years. “When my son bought his KTM a year ago I became engrossed with it again. I wanted to ride a motorcycle myself again. Well and then the dream of participating at the Dakar got started. And now I am here.”

Both bikes of the adventurers are supported by the mechanics of KTM’s support team. “We have planed to reach Dakar city,” explains Marco Borsi, an electronic specialist in real life, their ambitious goal. “For that we have worked very hard. All people we know keep their fingers crossed for our goal and we don’t want to disappoint them.”

At tomorrow’s special the drivers can finally enjoy African flair. It is a stage to get used to the new surroundings with a 75 kilometers special. It is definitely a fast track which leads across the Mamoora-forest close to Rabat. The finish lays at Er Rachidia.

Be part of something big

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Cyril Despres , Alfie Cox , Giovanni Sala , Marco Borsi , David Fretigne