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Dakar 2007: Honda Press Release 09Jan

  Posted at 10:55:53 AM
  File under  Dakar Race Honda
  Author: Honda Press Release
  Location: Normandy, France

Dakar Rally 2007 Stage 4: January 9th, Er Rachidia - Ouarzazate
Liaison : 96 km - Special : 405 km - Liaison : 178 km
Total : 679 km.

There was a new drama in the motorcycle category, when the South African rider Elmer Symons crashed at the 142km point of the special stage and died.

Race organisers reached the scene of the accident eight minites later and merely confirmed that the rider had passed away at the scene of the accident. The 29-year-old company director came to the Dakar Rally as part of an assistance team on two previous occasions, but was taking part in the event for the first time as a competitor himself.

Team Honda Europe sends its sincerest condolences to all members of Elmer’s family and friends.

Today, the bike riders did not ride as far as Ouarzazate and stopped in their own bivouac around 100km away as part of a Marathon stage, without service support. We were unable to give their impressions of the special stage, but actual stage information is listed below :

Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez
again enjoyed an excellent special and was classified 11th on today’s stage and third in the 450cc category. He is also fourth overall in the 450cc classification in the overall standings.

Paulo Concalvez
Paulo Concalvez

Henk Knuiman
finished the stage in fifth place in the 450cc category, while Paulo Concalvez, for his part, was prevented from riding at more than 110 km/h by electrical problems.

Thierry Bethys
had no real problems and crossed the stage finish line eighth in the 450cc category, but Mick Exstance received a 10 minute penalty for the third time in the rally for excess speed on the special stage. He has now lost a total of 30 minutes in penalties.

Gregoire Blondel

The route of the Dakar headed south and the second Moroccan special stage was long, varied and included the first dunes, but was equally rocky.

The Belgian Éric Palante, was unfortunately not able to experience the spectacle and crashed heavily. He was taken to the Er Rachidia bivouac by helicopter and was later transferred by ‘plane to Ouarzazate to undergo a medical examination in a hospital.

After several x-rays and a thorough examination, it was discovered that Eric suffered damage to a bone in his back, but there was no sign of any serious spine or nerve damage and the Belgian will return to Belgium as soon as possible.

Teus Visser

Concerning the other members of the team, at the time of closing for press, they all arrived at the finish of the special stage, but we do not have all the results for the 450cc category.


1. Frétigné (FR) Yamaha 4h59’32
2. Marchini (FR) Yamaha 5h01’44
3. LOPEZ (CHILE) HONDA 5h02’02
5. KNUIMAN (HOL) HONDA 5h21’53
8. BETHYS (FRA) HONDA 5h35’10
17. EXTANCE (UK) HONDA 6h00’53


1. Frétigné (Yamaha) 11h02’46
2. Marchini (FR) Yamaha 11h08’08
3. Rogrigues (Por) Yamaha 11h09’22
4. LOPEZ (CHILE) HONDA 11h11’22
6. KNUIMAN (HOL) HONDA 11h38’23
7. BETHYS (FRA) HONDA 11h44’29
16. EXTANCE (UK) HONDA 12h50’15

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