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Dakar 2012: The Figures

  Posted at 02:00:00 PM
  File under  Dakar Race
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France

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The world famous, or notorious, race, the Dakar Open link in a new window, is a few weeks from starting. It's probably the most famous rally race, for cars, motorcycles and trucks. Video and photos of the incredibly tough race are seen throughout the world. The race is still being held in South America, despite calls of many to return to its roots in Africa. But the South American race holds many supporters, particularly the locals in Argentina who are all race mad.

This years, again, sees a sold out edition, despite the high entrance fee. We're talking serious money, even for the most low-cost amateur racer. Many have taken mortgages on their homes to fulfill a dream of a life time.

Some 185 motorcycles will start in Buenos Aires on January the 1st, 2012. We'll see how many make it to the finish, but usually it's 50%. The most remarkable of the motorcycles is that a few years ago, the race was held mostly with KTM motorcycles, some 70%. The 2012 edition sees "only" 40% KTM motorcycles. Another motorcycle manufacturer who sees very few entries this time is BMW, with only 3 bikes.

There are 4 x Aprilia (including local favorite, the Chilean "Chaleco" Lopez), 6 x Beta, 3 x BMW, 2 x GasGas, 25 x Honda, 10 x Husqvarna, 5 x Husaberg, 2 x Jincheng, 5 x Kawasaki, 72 x KTM, 2 x Rieju, 4 x Sherco, 1 x TM, 40 x Yamaha.

30% of the racers are newcomers! This year should see the struggle between last year's winner, Marc Coma Open link in a new window, and his eternal rival, Cyril Despres Open link in a new window, both looking for their 4th victory.

The oldest racer is American Michael Stanfield, aged 66 years.

There will be 3 helicopters taking part for the organizers, and 10 medical vehicles. Safety is paramount, so they have a field hospital with 10 doctors on staff, plus the most advanced medical equipment any hospital could ever want.

The Dakar web site alone in 2011 recording 73 million page views, not to mention the thousands of web sites that cover the event as well. 190 countries transmit part of the race on their TV stations, either special programs that follow the Dakar, or in summary form.

So starting the 1st of January 2012, we'll be publishing photos and summaries daily. It looks like 2012 is going to be a great Dakar year, with the race going right into Peru.

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