We might we at the tail-end of a major financial crisis, with very little money to spend on any luxury, but it looks like some 200 people don't see racing in the Dakar rally as a "luxury". It's become a necessity for many to compete, despite enormous sums of money that are needed to be spent by even the lowest of the competitors.
There are so many wanting to ride a motorcycle in the Dakar, that the entry list is closed for motorcycles 2 months ahead of schedule, and the waiting list is now so full that they could organize a 2nd race with it.
In the 33rd edition of the now famous, or notorious, race, the playing field has been leveled for everyone, since the maximum engine size is now limited to 450cc. So the likes of Cyril Despres (who has recently become a proud father - congratulations Cyril) and Marc Coma can no longer race on their 640+ cc KTM engines, and will need to run on the new KTM 450s.
But it also means that in next year's race (starting on the 1st of January 2011, and ending on the 16th), the likes of BMW, with hot shot riders like Frenchman David Fretigne and Dutchman Frans Verhoeven, and Aprilia with Chilean Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez Contrado will have a good chance of winning the coveted trophy away from KTM. Even Sherco and Honda now stand a good chance of making points and ending up on the podium.
But for the 100's of private entries who wanted to race in South America (probably the last time on that continent), you're out of luck, and you'll have to start working on your entry forms for the 2012 edition.