Stage 9: Nouakchott to Kiffa January 9, 2006 Connection 30 km - Special 599 km - Connection 245 km Total 874 km Bike: Cyril Despres (FRA - KTM - 1st) "I'm very sad. I didn't know Andy that well but I had respect for him. We were competing on...
Stage 9: Nouakchott to Kiffa
January 9, 2006
Connection 30 km - Special 599 km - Connection 245 km
Total 874 km
Cyril Despres (FRA - KTM - 1st)
"I'm very sad. I didn't know Andy that well but I had respect for him. We were competing on the same bike and although we weren't in the same team, we were both part of the KTM family. We have worked on security. We now carry neck protections that we still have to improve to avoid this kind of accident. But riding a bike is like being in a boxing ring. Sometimes you fall and you immediately get back up. Sometimes the opponent is stronger. This time the opponent won. Unfortunately we don't have control on everything. We were told about Andy's death at the finish of the special. I think we will now gather together and respect the decision that will be taken."
Marc Coma (ESP -- KTM -- 2nd)
"This is very hard news for all of us. We are going to try to cope with it but it will be difficult. I do remember Andy's smile and a lot of other things. Nevertheless Andy did what he loved and he shared his passion with us even if he joined the team very soon. I didn't contact his family, our team manager did it. That's all. It hard not only for our team but also for all competitors of Le Dakar."
Stephane Peterhansel (FRA - MIT - 1st)
"This stage was announced as he toughest of the rally. I don't know how the stages in Guinea will be, but for sure, this was the toughest since the start. The dunes were not that big but the sand was very soft and that wasn't easy and we had to use our shovels several times. It was a real Dakar stage with some difficult navigation because of the new rules, some camel grass, some dunes... Really difficult!
I believe that this is the finish of the stage where we learnt the death of Meoni last year. It's a terrible stage. We all try to improve security but the Dakar remains a dangerous race, especially for the bikers. It's difficult to explain. I saw Andy on the ground where there was no danger. When I saw him on the ground, I immediately thought it was bad, and it stayed in my mind for the whole special. All the Dakar family is shocked by this very very sad news."
Luc Alphand (FRA - MIT - 2nd)
"We drive fast, we take risks, we try to take them on, but sometimes it's hard. However, that's just the job. We take part in a competition to try and enjoy ourselves and give pleasure. And no one thinks about danger. It's true that it is far more dangerous for the riders. It is not good news for the Dakar, but first of all we have to think about his family and his friends who are now in pain. Andy fell in an easy section. Maybe he was bothered by the dust. Unfortunetly, he is not the first to die like this, and he won't be the last. At least, he died riding his bike, what he loved above all."
Bruno Saby (FRA -- VW -- 6th)
"It's terrible, but this kind of drama is sadly a part of the game. Every year, the debate is the same about the risks... Last year, I've been shocked by the death of Fabrizio because I knew him very well. More than us in cars, the riders have a double task: they ride and they navigate at the same time. Rally raid is a very selfish sport, what is not a gift for our families. I really admire our families for accepting our way of life."