Dakar: Repsol KTM scrutineering report

THE REPSOL KTM TEAM FINISHES SCRUTINEERING AND GETS READY FOR THE START OF THE 2006 LISBON DAKAR Australian rider Andy Caldecott will replace the injured Jordi Duran as team-mate to Jordi Viladoms Lisbon is experiencing these days the big...

Australian rider Andy Caldecott will replace the injured Jordi Duran as team-mate to Jordi Viladoms

Lisbon is experiencing these days the big activity of the Dakar. The movement of teams, riders and drivers attracts the attention of a city that is living the last days of 2005 surprised by the atmosphere of the hardest raid of the world. The riders of the Repsol KTM Team have been the centre of attention for press and bystanders gathered at the Centro Cultural do Belem today during the scrutineering checks which the team passed without incidences. The most important news of the day was the confirmation by the team of the retirement of Jordi Duran due to an injury and his replacement by Australian rider Andy Caldecott who will thus be Jordi Viladoms' new team-mate.

On December 7, Jordi Duran crashed during the tests carried out in Tunisia with the rest of the Repsol riders and he was quickly taken to Barcelona, where he was operated by Doctor Mir on December 9 in order to repair the fracture suffered in the humerus and immediately start with rehabilitation, trying to recover Jordi for the start of the Dakar. However, not enough time has passed since then, and despite the significant improvement of the injury, the young Repsol rider is not in a condition good enough to face such a physically demanding race as the Dakar. According to the statement of Doctor Xavier Mir, "it's been very difficult to tell him, because he feels well and he started rehab already ten days ago, but finally, Jordi Duran hasn't managed to recover on time for the Dakar. His injury was an articular fracture of the upper part of the humerus. Although he underwent surgery within the first 24 hours of the injury, it needs a longer time for recovery. Moreover, this isn't a one or two days race, it's sixteen really hard days. With no doubt it would have been hasty and imprudent to let him participate in the Dakar."

Jordi Arcarons: "We had to do the scrutineering today and it's been quite a job. We had to set up and check that all materials and electronic devices, both speed limiters and navigation systems of the motorbikes were working correctly. Now the bikes are in parc ferme, so everything is underway now. The two first stages will be here in Portugal, although the second will also enter Spain, and the terrain is a bit damaged. It's been raining a lot in the past days and the roads are full of puddles, so we had to arrange the bikes for this kind of surface. Anyway, our minds are focussed on Africa and especially on the Morocco stages. We hope to do this part of the race the best we can and without problems, to start with the team's strategy in Morocco. We have a very strong and brave team, which we have completed with Andy Caldecott replacing the injured Jordi Duran. He is a very fast rider with a certain experience in the Dakar, and he is ready to give it all to support the team. We're all starting in really high spirits."

Marc Coma: "I'm really looking forward to the start. The scrutineering days are a bit stressy; you have to be looking for the devices, the papers, where you put the bags... but that's over now and we are all eager to start and get to Africa. That's where the real race will start."

Born in Keith, south-eastern Australia, Andy Caldecott is widely known in the world of rallies in his home-country. He won the Australian Motorcycle Safari four times in a row (2000-2003), he was declared the third best raid rider of the world in 2003 and finished the 2004 Cross Country World Championship in fourth place.

Thanks to the funds raised by friends, family and neighbours who created a foundation in early 2003, Caldecott was able to make one of his dreams come true in 2004, entering the Dakar Rally for the first time. Despite being a well-known rider in Oceania, Caldecott was one of the many participants with the aim of just finishing the hard African race. However, his performance was a big surprise for many, because in his very first participation he took the victory of the stage finishing in Tan Tan, but fractured his ankle the next day. Caldecott taught everybody a lesson of self-respect, because with incredible coolness and determination, he stood the pain to reach the finish, although he finally had to give up against evidence and retire from the rally, not without promising that he would be back the next year.

In 2005, Caldecott took two stage victories on his KTM 660 Rally, becoming the second Australian to make it, and he reached Dakar's Lake Rose in an impressive sixth position. And the position surely would have been better if he hadn't been penalised in the eighth stage with 17 minutes due to high speed in the liaison, a penalty that left him far behind the leading group before the second half of the race.

Having found no sponsorship for the 2006 edition of the Dakar and after giving up completely, Caldecott was contacted "in extremis " and he is now part of the Repsol KTM team structure to participate in the event, replacing the injured Jordi Duran. His skill and determination will with no doubt be his best weapons for this Dakar Rally. As a team-mate to Jordi Viladoms, Caldecott will with no doubt be a good master for the young Repsol rider and an important support for Marc Coma on his way to Lake Rose.


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Series Dakar
Drivers Marc Coma , Jordi Arcarons , Jordi Duran , Andy Caldecott , Jordi Viladoms