Duclos by night
At 9.45 pm, at the finishing line of the special stage in San Agustin, Alain Duclos finally arrived at the end of a special that we would like to forget in a hurry. The official Aprilia rider crossed the line more than five hours behind the leaders. "It was a real nightmare. The stage was magnificent; the only problem was that I did it in slow motion by night. If I hadn't had any mechanical problems, it would have been a real joy to ride. There was a little human error made by my mechanic and serious consequences for a part that only costs 2 euros. He forgot to fix it when changing the wheel. After 50 km, the rear hub blew. In the time it took to cook up some sort of fix with the locals, I lost 5 hours. As a result, my hopes for the race are dead. I'll try and continue, try to enjoy myself and try to get back to the front in a few days time".
69, a saucy number for the Dakar
Chance has a funny way of working. When Hugo Payen, a regular biker on the Dakar, arrived at pre-technical scrutineering in Le Havre, he was given the number 69 for this 2011 edition, which turned out to be somewhat of a bonanza: "In general, on the Dakar I usually end up with number 44 or 45. So I decided to make the most of it and look for a sponsor who would be interested by this number. I contacted the pornographic film producer Marc Dorcel and we managed to find an agreement for this year, in the hope that I make a big splash on the news. In itself, it's funny, for them and for me". Payen, who is married with three children, is thus proudly wearing stickers on his helmet and hand shields that bear the logo of Productions Marc Dorcel, a prestigious firm in the domain of French pornography. Rumour has it that if he manages to reach the finish in Buenos Aires, the biker from Brittany will be handing out condoms as gifts. However, it remains to be seen whether Marc Dorcel and his favourite actresses will be visiting Hugo and the other competitors on one of the Dakar bivouacs.