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Dakar 2005 - 31 December

  Posted at 06:20:28 PM
  File under  Racing Dakar Race
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Barcelona, Spain

OK, prolog is done, and I've uploaded some 40 photos.

Yesterday evening while going for dinner, a lot of the contestants were still arriving for the scruteneering.
Dakar Assistance Car
Here is one of the assistance cars riding past.
And here's the Toyota of Asaga & Numata, one of the Japanese entries, riding alongside the Ramblas.....
Tiffany & Maggie
On the morning of the 31st, Bob J., Jacques and myself went and picked up Tiffany (one of the very few females who has taken her motorcycle around the world on her own) and her friend Maggie, and headed for the beaches.
The Girls
Here they are again, on Tiffany's brand new 650GS motorcycle.
The Beach
When we arrived, there were already a lot of people, probably some 100,000. Standing room only, and the view was not the best.
The bulldozers were still preparing the circuit....
Helicopters flying overhead, even a ULM appeared with video cameras on board.
And the race has started. The first contestant has already won his category. It's the one and only sidecar. Since there's only one, I guess they win !

Running number 250, it's a Swiss team (Lanaro/Howald) on an Aprilia 250. They ended the day in a very good 88th position.
First motorcycles
And then the first motorcycles arrived with a roar. The motorcycles had to run a straight line, with a few chicanes, a couple of big bumps and one "deadly" small one (a trap).
Alex Hearn
Here is British rider Alex Hearn on his KTM (with dorsal 218) riding very well through the trap. He ended in the 177th position.
Over the hill
This is a KTM going over the large bump. Very few actually jumped over them, not even the pros.....
First down
And the first motorcycle went down with a tremendous applause. Pickup the bikes, and off they go again.
Pascal Corinti
Here you see Pascal Corinti (number 195), a French KTM rider go the wrong way...
2 Down
Two motorcycles in difficulty. A lot of bikes went down in this spot, even the seasoned riders had some problems.
This one did it the right way, he jumped it with his front wheel high.
Charlie Rauseo
Here are two photos of American KTMer, Charlie Rauseo (number 116). Not only did he fall nicely.....
Charlie Rauseo
But he also took a bow after the loud applause.... he finished 174th...
Kevin Heath
Here is Kevin Heath (I reported about him yesterday, when he seemed to be having a problem with the scrutinizing).
Kevin Heath
But he seemed not only OK, but doing nicely (209th).
Simon Pavey
This is one of my former off road instructors, Australian Simon Pavey on his BMW 650 (dorsal 102). He ended the day in 136th position.
By now, most of the private entries have gone past, and the speeds went up a notch or two.

Italian KTMer Defelice here.
Gilles Algay
The very professional looking Euromaster team went past. This is number 32, French Gilles Algay (he finished 58th).
Janis Vinters
This race monster is Janis Vinters from Lithuania (dorsal 30), currently running in 6th position on his KTM motorcycle.
Eric Verhoef
Number 38 (Defelice ) being passed by Dutchman Eric Verhoef (one of the favorites) running under number 29, and ending up in 3rd place !
Dominique Bastouilh
Dominique Bastouilh on his KTM.
Kellon Walch
American KTMer Kellon Walch was riding amazing. Here is passing the sand trap.
Kellon Walch
He ended in 5th place.
Just thought this was a really nice photo. One of the few motorcycles that jumped the big bump.
David Fretigne
And here's the winner of today, David Fretigne and his amazing two wheel drive Yamaha.

For me, I'd think we saw the winner of the Dakar. Now that his motorcycle is in production, nothing can stop this champion.
Alain Radigois
This poor bloke is number 79 (Frenchman Alain Radigois) and his broen down KTM. He was falling over, over and over again, and finally, half way through the prolog, his clutch burned out and he was stuck. The first casualty.

We all felt very sorry for him..... tough !
And this is the final photo of today, Frenchman Cyril Despres (dorsal number 2), another favorite to win, (he finished 2nd).

Right, that's it for Barcelona and the Dakar. Tonight we're going to the BMW Dakar party with Simon Pavey and Nick Plumb. Then up real early and head for Granada (1000 Kms). So far, I've got internet in my hotel, I just hope it'll hold up and can keep giving you photos while we follow them. Till then, happy new year....

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