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Dakar Race Threatened by Terrorists

8
January
2004
  Posted at 09:25:55 AM
  File under  News Racing Dakar Race
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Paris, France

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The famous Paris-Dakar race came under terrorist threat on Wednesday, when the race entered the Sahara area.

The Sahara area has been an area favored by extremists for decades, many belong to the Al-Qaida organization.

Already this year's race has avoided Algeria, a hot-bed for terrorists, and the race has also avoided northern Mali and northern Mauritania, where government security forces are in a fight with Al-Qaida cells.

And then next to the terrorists are the bandits, who try to make a quick buck from the riders by holding them up at gunpoint (as happened in 1999).

The race continues despite the threats, and more militaries have been posted along the route to ensure the safety of the participants.

Some of the Participants


In the mean time, Chris Emerson, private entry from the UK is out due to an accident. He was run over by a buggy. If you read his on-line diary, you'll see some incredible stories on how well he was treated by the locals. Heartwarming !

Also out are the two ladies from Canada, Maryline Lambelin and Marie-Christine Pare ( www.paris-dakar.ca), who were trying to finish the race on Bombardier Quads.

My two BMW Off road instructors, Simon Pavey and Nick Plumb ( Worldofbmw.com) are still in the race, despite a desperate two days.

During the special on day 6, both broke their suspension and had to ride with a metal bar instead of the suspension. This took a few hours longer than expected, and when they arrived very late at the finish line, they had little time to eat, drink & fix their bikes in order to go out on the marathon special which started at 00:30. I'd say this is the toughest version of the Dakar they have been in....





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