Since his accident in the fifth stage last year, David Casteu has changed a lot. The injury to his thigh is just a distant bad memory, but this premature withdrawal especially gave food for thought to the native of Nice, manager of Team Sherco, who has arrived in a both conquering and reserved state of mind: “This season, I’ve got a lot out of rally-raids. I don’t approach the race in the same way and I’ve changed the way I ride. For this edition, I’ve never felt rushed and we’ve prepared everything in complete calm”. Convinced by the performances of his bike, Casteu also knows that his experience allows him to aim very high, including competing with the two favourites, Cyril Despres and Marc Coma: “I’m world champion at 450cc level! I’m aware that there are many of us how can stake a claim to victory, but we’re working with that in mind. Winning is a dream, but perhaps it’s within my reach. I know how good the others are and I know how good I am”.
Friday, December 31, 2010
It all started in 1979, in China. When the Paris-Dakar came into being, the motorbike brand Jincheng was founded in Nanjing, 2 hours away from Shanghai. After rapid development, the Chinese constructor is today present in Argentina and Chile and has naturally been entering bikes in the Dakar since its first appearance in 2007. The 32nd placed finish obtained by Su Wenmin in 2010 is the brand's best result. This year, for its forth participation, Jincheng will be entering 3 bikes. For Sui Quanwu, the team manager, "a result on the Dakar is a significant commercial boost in China just like in South America. What's more, we have recruited an Argentinean rider to get the public behind us," he underlines. It is a real fairly tale for Pablo Pascual, now hired by an official team. "After my withdrawal last year on the 5th stage, I'm very motivated to do well, even if the objective I've been set is simply to finish the rally".
Ten years after his first and only participation in the Dakar, Johnny Campbell is back. Not as a rider, but as an advisor for newcomer Quinn Cody. This return has brought back memories for the competitor who finished 8th on the 2001 edition between Paris and Dakar. "I really enjoyed myself. It was a dream come true. Of course, it has changed a lot, but I think it's wonderful to see so many participants present even though things aren't going too well in the world". Today, his goal is to help Cody to become a genuine Dakar rider, capable of battling for victory in the years to come. "Quinn is a very mature rider. It's about time he got stuck into the Dakar. We're here to help him gain experience. Finishing will already be a success for him. My strategy is to tell him that he won't win his first Dakar". But will Campbell clamber back onto a bike to try his luck? "I've had several opportunities to make a comeback, but today I just don't have the desire to battle for victory. I'm happy to be training Quinn and looking after my team. That's where my future lies…"
Thursday, December 30, 2010
...this time the 4 stroke Honda XR250 Tornado ridden by Pablo Rodriguez #186
Honda Motor of Argentina introduced the official team that will compete in the race off-road for greater skill and importance of the world, the Dakar Rally Argentina - Chile, which will be held from 1 to 16 January.
Buenos Aires, December 17, 2010 - Honda Motor de Argentina introduces the riders network comprising the Honda Racing Team to compete on a bike in the next Paris Dakar Argentina - Chile 2011.
The Gold Wing's official team will be headed by one of the best examples of national enduro, Javier Pizzolito (CRF 450X), two-time Cross Country Championship Rally Argentina, which used the number 57 for that power: "Being in the Dakar is a challenge, take long getting ready to face the 9,500 km and beyond my experience at the local level, I'm still a beginner in this test and I can not underestimate any stage. "
Also for the first time in the history of Honda in the race, the brand involved with a Honda XR 250 Tornado piloted by Pablo Rodriguez (# 186). This bike will be presented with minimal adjustments required by regulation in terms of navigation and fuel endurance.
"While the engine is smaller than most, the XR 250 Tornado is very reliable. We tested it on earth, gravel, sand, mountain, at altitude and sea level. It's spectacular, because it adapts to all grounds. " Paul Rodriguez said, adding that "It is a bike that gives me satisfaction mile after mile."
This project is a real challenge for a product of the mid-range line up of the company, and one of the most requested by users of the brand, which will be exposed to the most extreme demands of use.
This year the riders will be accompanied by a Kinesiologist specializing in Sports Medicine and will be assisted by technical specialists Mec Team
For more information about our project, and follow the stages of our riders every day, visit us at our exclusive Hot site, entering www.hondarallyargentina.com
So the mystery is finally revealed...
According to tradition, the title holder in the bike category wears the number 1. However, after an initial glance at the list of participants, eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that this year this honour has been granted to Marc Coma, who strangely was 15th in the last edition. After a rapid inquiry, it would appear that this starting hierarchy is the wish of Cyril Despres himself. Usually not particularly superstitious, the three times winner followed a fairly logical line of thinking before asking the organisers for this special dispensation: “In my garage, the bikes from my three victories are parked side by side and they all bear the number 2. I thought it would be nice if I could add a fourth, so I asked for this small favour. Since Marc is the current world champion in the discipline, it was fairly coherent that he inherited the number 1 and fortunately he agreed to it”. It is uncertain whether the Catalan is a believer in numerology, but during his two successes, in 2006 and 2009, he was also riding with the number 2. Indeed, to find a rider who triumphed with the number 1 plate, you have to look back through the archives to 2002 and the victory of Fabrizio Meoni.
The day before or even the day before the day before their turn to undergo scrutineering, some of the discipline’s elite came to inaugurate the 2011 Dakar Village yesterday evening. It gave the winner in 2009, Giniel De Villiers, the opportunity to share a few words with the many spectators in attendance. The next stop was the terrace of the Red Bull stand, alongside Etienne Lavigne, the rally director, but also Mark Miller, Guerlain Chicherit and Cyril Despres for a discussion between champions along with a few drinks. Three days from the grand start, there is still time for a good bit of relaxation.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
It will be quite a challenge for the small, high strung 2 stroke bike. In 2009, Ivo Kastan attempted to take a 125cc pit bike to the end but unfortunately, had to retire at the start of stage 4 due to engine issues.
Will the light weight motocross bike offset its lower horsepower and ultimately prove more manageable and less tiresome in the mountainous dunes of the Atacama? Only time will tell. I'm sure there are as many proponents as there are naysayers, but for sure, Luis has me hooked and I will be watching intently, F5'ing the posis list and checking the standings to look for that little number 150 at the end of each stage.
Luis is a Spanish Professor at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Here is a short interview lifted from a speaking engagement he gave at the University. Enjoy and root on this years smallest bike in the field!!!
Cross Country Rally – Luis Belaustegui
2 November 2010, 4:43 pm
Margot G: Professor Belaustegui, how long have you been teaching Spanish at UMKC?
Prof. Belaustegui: I have been teaching for about 9 years.
Leslie Y: Where are you from?
Prof. B.: Buenos Aires, Argentina.
M.G.: What are your hobbies?
Prof. B.: Racing bikes, motorcycles, sculpture, and I have 3 kids and a wife.
L.Y.: What are the 3 most important things in your life?
Prof. B.: Family, being a good person, and having a happy life.
M.G.: Do you have a favorite food?
Prof. B.: I don’t care about food at all.
L.Y.: If you could visit any place/country you haven’t been to yet where would you go?
Prof. B.: Tibet first, the Gobi desert, the Sahara, Europe, basically everywhere especially if it’s on a motorcycle.
M.G.: Do you have any favorite films?
Prof. B.: Como agua para chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) and The Matrix
L.Y.: What is your favorite part about teaching?
Prof. B.: It’s just fun, if it wasn’t fun I wouldn’t be doing it.
M.G.: How are you involved in the Dakar?
Prof. B.: I was a mechanic last year, but since I race bikes too, this year I will be competing.
L.Y.: How do you keep your mustache looking so good?
Prof. B.: I drive and twirl the ends of my mustache at the same time.
Prof. Belaustegui and Dr. Levy. -Photos taken by Amber M.
Summary of Presentation
Luis Belaustegui was born in Argentina, located in South America. Over the years, he has been heavily involved in racing bikes and motorcycles. During his presentation, he described his experiences as a motorcyclist in very competitive races around the world. This coming summer 2011, he plans to race in the DAKAR, which is a 10,000 km race across a few South American countries. The DAKAR is the longest race in the world where motorbikes, trucks, and other vehicles compete together cross-country.
There are 4 million spectators during the DAKAR. The race is a total of 15 days with 14 of those days racing and 1 day of rest. The entire race is across cross-country terrain. Luis has never participated in the DAKAR before and this is his longest race ever. He sometimes rides his bike standing up because it can be more comfortable than sitting for several hours. This technique will be especially helpful during a race of this size. He says, “If you have good technique, you get less tired.”
During the DAKAR race, there is some cheating and sabotage that occurs. Some riders even lock the gates that all vehicles must pass through. However, the consequences of being caught cheating include paying a fine and being disqualified from the rest of the race.
Participants in the DAKAR race currently use GPS technology. However, they used to take large maps with them. There are now 20 helicopters that monitor the race and make sure the riders are accounted for as they travel across rugged terrain. Last year, one spectator was killed during the DAKAR race. Luis said it is difficult to judge how fast to complete the curves. Many times, this is how spectators are killed when they stand near the curve of the racetrack and the riders don’t take the curve as slowly as they should.
During his presentation, Luis explained that riders have an unspoken code of conduct where they assist each other if a vehicle breaks down or crashes. If a riders crashes, the rider behind should stop and ask if the crashed rider is okay. It is the riders’ choice if they stop and help other riders who have crashed. However, the other riders know if one person didn’t stop to help and they won’t stop to help that person if they crash or need assistance.
Luis raises funds to be able to participate in races and to buy racing parts for his vehicles. He builds some parts and sells them to generate funds. As well, he has some factory sponsors that give him parts. Luis said he “likes to do things differently,” which means that he will attempt the DAKAR race riding a small motorbike that has no displacement, not a high-powered bike like many of the other riders will use. It will be a great accomplishment if he completes the DAKAR on this type of bike! He hopes that his participation in this race will generate more focus on the sport of racing and also provide him more sponsors for future races.
Bike navigation system
Luis began his lecture on cross-country riding by saying “If you like engines you’ll like this (his discussion), and if you hate engines you’ll hate this,” and as a person who doesn’t hold a particular fondness for engines, I loved Luis’s speech about the Dakar race and his participation in the event. Luis captivated the classroom if not only with his mustache, then with his humble ambition to break the world record by competing in the longest cross-country race with the smallest motorbike – and finishing.
Typically in colloquium, questions are reserved for the end of the speaker’s lecture, but Luis’s speech was directly led by the questions from students and faculty. Luis answered each question, but still left the class asking him to come back for a second round at next week’s colloquium. Luis brought in an engine and displayed parts of his bike that he welded himself. He also took the class through the rules and discussed how racers cheat during the 6,000-mile race. Luis’s interactive presentation was interesting, entertaining, and left the class wanting more. After seeing how passionate Luis is about racing and the Dakar race in particular, I am confident he will finish the race, even if he is the last one to cross the finish line on the tiniest motorbike.
Student and Faculty Response
The students and faculty seemed very interested in Mr. Belaustegui’s topic on Motocross racing. Since all of the other world countries except the United States participate in this sport, the faculty and students were even more curious about the details of the DAKAR race. Many questions were asked pertaining to the challenges and dangers associated with this race. Some of the questions asked included topics such as why at least one person per year dies during the race, how does a competitor navigate the route and drive at the same time, and what happens if a driver gets off course. One of the interesting aspects of this race is that the route is a secret, even to the drivers. The drivers use different types of technology and GPS systems to help them stay on course and prevent them from getting lost en route to the finish line.
Dr. Herron asked very realistic questions such as how a competitor pays for the expenses of the race, how does one go about getting a reliable motorcycle, and what happens if a driver needs help during the race. Belaustegui explained that the drivers usually help each other if someone has trouble. However, if a driver does not stop to help someone in need, all the other drivers will find out about that driver and not stop to help him/her if he/she needs assistance later in the race. Overall, the audience was very intrigued by the challenges of this risky race. One student even asked if the discussion could be continued next week during Colloquium.
Thank you Mr. Beloustigui for taking the time to tell us about your hobby and the DAKAR race.
Argentina, December 28, 2010
Argentine Dakar champion Marcos Patronelli finally confirmed he will defend his crown in the 2011 edition of Rally Dakar in the ATV category. The pilot of Las Flores had suffered an accident on November 29 that left him broken both ankles and collarbones.
Marcos announced today at a press conference: “I am able to finish the race.”
Patronelli had received yesterday a medical permission from the Italian Hospital staff that allows him to begin competition on January 1 in the Obelisk.
Marcos was the overall winner of the ATV category last year, ahead of his brother Alejandro. It is the third race of the world’s largest rally to be held in Argentina and Chile.
Roadblocks in place throughout city for Dakar Rally
Michelin- alongside its official partners KTM, BMW, Aprilia and Yamaha will compete with Michelin Desert Race tires developed specifically for the new 450cc bikes. Michelin is also providing a second range of tires for the world's most demanding cross-country rally. In addition to the Michelin Desert Race, riders of factory bikes will be able to use another development tire - the Michelin Marathon - for the race's longest stages. Developed several years ago, the tire remains a benchmark in terms of robustness and longevity.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I know the Africa Race is in response to the ASO leaving the roots of its founding’s after the 2008 cancellation fiasco. Perhaps the intention by René Metge was to replace the romance many said has become lost in the sheer size of the Dakar Rally and even further so by the move to South America, but it cannot be denied that the ASO brings the profile, which brings the manufacturers and gentlemen racers with deep pockets, which, in turn, attracts the bulk of the competition.
Certainly the Africa Race is not helping itself by staging itself during the same time that the Dakar circus hits Argentina and Chile. With that, the motorbike presence is also curiously low. Seems like 5 entrants this year. Where the Dakar is a cruel mistress lacking any compassion for the dedication and preparation put forth by the competitors, indeed any stumble can render a rider out in an instant, the Africa Race is a bit more relaxed in rulings about continuing from stage to stage. There looks to be a genuine interest by the organizers to get the competitors all the way to Dakar. It is surprising that more are not attracted to that. Especially those that want rally experience in the hopes of tackling the ASO's granddaddy.
From Château de Lastours to Dakar
After administrative and technical checks which will take place at Château de Lastours on next December 27th, the competitors of the third AFRICA ECO RACE® will head for South. From the first stages, in Morocco, pace will be given on surprising and varied terrains. The rest day, January 2nd, will allow the participants to enjoy the magnificent bivouac of Chebeika, at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Then the event will increase little by little in power by approaching Mauritania.
During the rally, the navigation will be a determining parameter to appear in the top of general classification. But as René Metge, Sporting Director, says" By remaining concentrated on the road-book and the capes everything will be OK ! " On the 12 stages of the 2011 edition, competitors will be able to discover all the facets of the African ground: off-piste, fast tracks, vegetation, grassy valleys, and crossing the Sahara sands. The balance between the length and the difficulty of the stages has been respected while the liaisons have been reduced. Many starts and finishes of special stages will take place at the bivouac.
After more than 5.000 km, the rally will traditionally reach the banks of the Lake Rose, on January 9th.
LEG 1 : Wednesday 29th December 2010
NADOR / BORJ BEL FREISSAT
Liaison : 181,70 km - SS1 : 150,28 km – Liaison : 0,00 km
LEG 2 : Thursday 30th December 2010
BORJ BEL FREISSAT / EL MDOUARA
Liaison : 0,00 km – SS 2 : 318,21 km – Liaison : 142,51 km
LEG 3: Friday 31st December 2010
EL MDOUARA / WAD TISSINT
Liaison : 4,21 km – SS 3 : 416,14 km – Liaison : 50,53 km
LEG 4: Saturday 1st January 2011
WAD TISSINT /CHEBEIKA
Liaison : 0,00 km – SS 4 : 341,33 km – Liaison : 290,89 km
LEG 5: Sunday 2nd January 2011
CHEBEIKA / GREID LAREICH
Liaison : 306,91 km
LEG 6: Monday 3rd January 2011
GREID LAREICH / BOULANOUAR
Liaison : 0,00 km – SS 5 : 183,33 km – Liaison : 714,74 km
LEG 7 : Tuesday 4th January 2011
BOULANOUAR / GUEL AGANTOUR
Liaison : 0,00 km – SS 6 : 371,72 km – Liaison : 20,45 km
LEG 8: Wednesday 5th January 2011
GUELB AGANTOUR / GUELB AGANTOUR
Liaison : 0,00 km – SS 7 : 408,06 km – Liaison : 0,00 km
LEG 9: Thursday 6th January 2011
GUELB AGANTOUR / TENADI
Liaison : 0,00 km – SS 8: 380,66 km – Liaison : 0,00 km
LEG 10 : Friday 7th January 2011
TENADI / TENADI
Liaison : 0,00 km – SS 9 : 232,41 km – Liaison : 0,00 km
LEG 11: Saturday 8th January 2011
TENADI / KEBEMER
Liaison : 0,00 km – SS 10 : 203,36 km – Liaison : 394,26 km
LEG 12 : Sunday 9th January 2011
KEBEMER / DAKAR
Liaison : 131,11km – SS 11 : 23,68 km – Liaison : 41,00 km
It's official, Fretigne out, Zé Helio in.
(Translation by Google)
David Frétigné be due to the injury of the Rally Dakar 2011 omit the Oil Libya and will be replaced at BMW Motorrad Zé Helio.
Zé Helio takes over for David Fretigne at speedbrain
Motorsport Magazin.com - The French professional rally driver David Fretigne, the Dakar 2011 with an injury not the team by BMW Motorrad speedbrain to the start go for. His starting place of the experienced Brazilians Zé Helio. Following promising tests and the successful development of the brain speed BMW 450 RR motorcycle racing with David Frétigné lay great hopes on a strong idea of the French at the Dakar 2011th He was, however, the practice race, the Rally Oil Libya, plunged hard and had injured his back.
Meanwhile, David was again on track to return motorcycle. The long healing process and the lack of training time allow it but, unfortunately, not 100 percent fit to compete in the Dakar. Therefore, there was the joint decision of the team to send Zé Helio him into the race.
David Frétigné: "The Dakar 2011 starts in a few days, and I hope that my team BMW motorcycle by speedbrain very successful in this new adventure cut I hope the fantastic work is rewarded by the developer and engineers with the expected good results.. My heart of course, hurts with the tremendous training effort that I have done since my accident. I thank you for this the team Presport in Perpignan, and especially Chris Millet and Dr. Christian Fournols and my family and my friends (especially Rodolphe Schwartz) are. Unfortunately, my injury not so much healed, I would be able to top form to take such a long rally. I'm going to the race, which will certainly be an unforgettable adventure to pursue with passion. Especially Frans, with whom I have worked a lot on the bike and tested I personally wish all the best and great success, and I'm sure he will do his best. I will keep training to get back in top shape as quickly as possible. "
Helio Jose Gonçalves Rodrigues Filho from Brazil, is known as "Ze Helio, now occupy the fourth place team. The five-time winner of the Rally dos Sertões in Brazil, after the Dakar is the second longest rally, you know the BMW G 450 RR already, having on it in July denied the Brazil-rally, but unfortunately due to technical defect in the lead all the chances to win had buried.
Zé Helio: "I am looking forward to this great opportunity, in the Team BMW Motorrad to dispute by speedbrain the Dakar I will make every effort to provide the team with a good result and would like for my retirement at the Rally dos Sertoes the opportunity. use to demonstrate the potential of the bike and my abilities. David, I would like a more speedy recovery and see you soon in an upcoming race. "
On 1 January are thus available for the team by BMW Motorrad speedbrain following pilots at the start of the Dakar 2011:
Frans Verhoeven, Netherlands
Paulo Goncalves, Portugal
Pedro Bianchi Prata, Portugal
Zé Helio, Brazil
(Translation by Google)
December 28, 2010
SANTIAGO - The participation of women in the Dakar Rally, a competition largely dominated by men, has more merit when it is in the difficult category of motorcycles, "said the Swede Annie Seel, female winner in the field.
In the past Dakar Seel, who holds the record for reaching the end of each race in which she participated, finished in first place in women's category, while in the overall standings finished in 45th place, despite dropping her motorbike in a hole and narrowly escaping it herself as she launched across.
The Swedish raidista said that the stakes are higher for their gender when competing on bikes than in cars, a category in which the German Jutta Kleinschmidt remains today as the only woman to have won the Dakar after her victory in 2001 aboard a Mitsubishi vehicle.
"Racing in cars and a motorcycle is totally different, you cannot compare the two categories. I think women can win in cars, but winning a motorcycle is much more difficult," Seel told Reuters by telephone.
"The motorcycle requires more physically demanding. Everyone can drive a car, even if you're small or not very strong, but on the bike you need muscle and strength," the raidista, who in 2004 achieved a gold medal in women 's 450 cc world championship rally.
Seel was launched in Dakar in 2002. Since then adds 17 shares in competition for the world championship road, with no record of ever leaving a career in which he participated.
"I hope more women can participate in the rally, but need to be strong. I hope you have a South American woman in this race," said 42-year competitor.
In Dakar, 2010, Seel had overcome a hard fall that seriously injured one of her hands and was about to leave her out of competition.
'In the Dakar can never be sure that you will win or finish the race, because it is the kind of competition where anything can happen, "said Seel, who in 2004 emerged as the first" Iron Woman "of history, competition extreme physical demands.
In the past Dakar, while, 187 machines reached the goal of 362 vehicles that started the race.
Team to beat
For the new edition of the event, which runs from 01 January to 16 January for the third consecutive year in Argentina and Chile, Dakar organization reported enrollment of 443 vehicles, of which 13 will be piloted by women in different categories.
Seel said that among the latter are raised as major competitors in the bike category Dutch Mirjam Pol
"Mirjam Pol is a very good driver, very strong, and excellent condition as navigator," said the Rally Princess.
The Swede also said the conditions of Spanish Laia Sanz, who has 10 titles as world champion in trial and will debut in the race accompanied by veteran Jordi Arcarons as his water carrier.
"She has been world champion in trial many times during these recent years has practiced for the Dakar with Jordi Arcarons, who was the coach for Marc Coma and has been six times in the Dakar podium (with four runners-up)," she added.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Monday, 27 December 2010 11:37
The 2011 Dakar rally is drawing closer, and the Yamaha team is hopeful
that they can climb back to the top of the podium. This year's Dakar
will take place in South America for the third consecutive year, and
will start in Buenos Aires on New Year's Day. There will be more than
180 bikes participating in the two week event, which is thought by
many to be the toughest enduro race in the world.
The Yamaha team will be bringing Helder Rodrigues, Spaniard Jordi
Viladoms, France's Olivier Pain and David Barrot to the Dakar rally.
Rodrigues will be a contender for the top spot at the Dakar this year.
Rodrigues recently finished second at the Rally of Morocco, and was
fourth overall at the Dakar last year.
Jordi Viladoms will also be a contender this year. Viladoms had a
great Dakar in 2010. He won a stage and earned an overall position of
"We have a great bike for the Dakar," Viladoms said. "We made a two
day test in Morocco recently for the engine and suspension and every
time we rode the bike felt better; the team are really motivated!"
Yamaha will have one more racer who finished in the top 10 during the
2010 Dakar. Olivier Pain earned a ninth place finish last year, and
will help Yamaha to stay toward the front of the pack during the 2011
"We have worked with and developed the WR450F in rallies since 2004,"
explained Alexandre Kowalski, Marketing Director of Yamaha Motor
France. "We have a lot of faith in the light chassis and the
reliability of the four-stroke 450cc WR motor which deals aptly with
the long and difficult races."
Yamaha has a long and successful history in the Dakar. Yamaha has nine
overall victories stretching back to 1979, but hasn't had a rider win
the Dakar since Dakar legend Stephan Peterhansel won his 6th Dakar on
a motorcycle in 1998.
Yamaha has a good shot this year, but they will have to beat out Cyril
Despres and Marc Coma. Coma and Despres have brought KTM the Dakar
rally win for the last five years, extending KTM's win streak to 9.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
December 17, 2010 – 6:47 pm
Injury inspires brave Dakar debut
The Dakar race is the Everest in my Life”. So says Durban boy Iain Stevenson who will be tackling the 32nd edition of the Dakar Rally, which kicks off on New Year’s Day and ends on January 16. It will be the first time the 41 year old father of three will take on the world’s longest and toughest offroad race, and his ride is a 2009 KTM 690.
“From as long as the event has been televised locally I have followed the event and dreamt of one day completing it,” said UK born Stevenson.
His motivation stems from his dad passing away, and a serious back injury in 2008 which left him immobilised for three months – an experience he describes as life-changing.
“I needed a goal that was going to take total commitment and something that was going to test my courage”.
After recovering from the back surgery, Stevenson purchased the KTM and started scouring every navigable track in the Natal Midlands. After a trip down to the Natal coast earlier this year he stopped by Dakar veteran and multiple champion, Alfie Cox’s shop in Pinetown and that’s where the Dakar dream started taking shape.
“The ever-optimistic Alfie said to me that if I put my mind to it and approached it seriously then it’s not impossible. Alfie had a spot available and I had to give him my final decision by June; this was the date when entries were opened.
“I put my head down, got back on my bush bike, whipped myself in the gym and entered in July”
Cox helped Stevenson source the right bike for the rally, a 2009 KTM 690 from Martin Freinademetz – who himself competed in the 2009 Dakar and finished in the top 40. The 690cc bike arrived in August in its original KTM orange, which was then changed to white to better suit sponsor Comsol’s corporate colours.
The bike was then totally rebuilt and Stevenson has tested it on two events: a 400km event in Pongola and a week in Namibia which included a day in the dunes with Cox. The time with Cox included riding hundreds of kilometers of sandy river beds and tracks, and tackling the dunes between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
“The bike is exhilarating to ride and in the words of Alfie Cox is a weapon,” says Stevenson.
Iain is a supporter of the Cipla Miles for Smiles foundation which was formed to assist Operation Smile in creating awareness for the plight of children born with cleft lips and palates and raise funds to perform corrective surgery on them.
The epic long-distance rally, run for the third time in South America, takes competitors to the extreme northern regions of Argentina and Chile, to the Bolivian and Peruvian borders, before heading back to Buenos Aires in Argentina.
The design of the route, consisting of 9000km of roads, tracks and dunes (nearly 5000km of which are competition), was compiled with the more difficult stages in the second half for maximum suspense. The highest elevation is the San Francisco pass between Chile and Argentina at 4726 metres above sea level.
Apart from Stevenson, South Africa will have several other competitors in the 2011 Dakar, headed by 2009 winner Giniel de Villiers who is again behind the wheel of a factory Volkswagen Touareg turbodiesel shared with German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz.
Others flying the SA flag are Ralph Pitchford who is navigating for America’s Mark Miller in another factory Touareg, and offroad legend Cox who is driving an Overdrive Racing Team Nissan Navara. South African Production Car champion Anthony Taylor will make his Dakar debut in a MAN support truck, navigated by SA offroad stalwart Juan Mohr. Enduro rider Albert Hintenaus, riding a KTM in the motorcycle category, will compete in his third Dakar.
Lining up at the start will be 430 vehicles (183 bikes, 33 quads, 146 cars and 68 trucks) piloted by racers from 51 different countries.
To follow Stevenson on the Dakar, or for more information visit www.iain-stevenson.com
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Street Photography: Documenting the Human Condition - Part One of Three from Chris Weeks on Vimeo.
Street Photography: Documenting the Human Condition - Part Three of Three from Chris Weeks on Vimeo.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Foxbase Beta - Limited Edition 2 disc set
Disco dynamo Richard X has taken Foxbase Alpha and re-arranged it into a brand new beast called FOXBASE BETA. Using the original masters, adding cellos, electrix, choirs, and the spirit of Brian Cant he has created something really special - spruced-up yet reverential, it is essentially a 2009 up-date of Foxbase Alpha, given a shot of vodka and a loving caress. We're chuffed. It feels unnervingly like jumping into a Tardis.
This fan club version of FOXBASE BETA is a limited, numbered 2CD set of 3,000 copies, which will also include FOXBASE EXTRA, three unreleased recordings from the original album sessions: a just discovered coda to Girl VII (we'd forgotten it existed), a summery instrumental called Richard III, and the first, very different, take of Kiss And Make Up, which was the very first Saint Etienne recording. We cut it one afternoon in January 1990, and then Only Love Can Break Your Heart in the evening! It was all so simple then. These tracks won't be available anywhere else.
There will also be a 'directors' commentary' on the bonus disc. Informative, yes. Pithy, quite possibly.
Available to ORDER now. Maximum order 3 copies per customer. FAN CLUB members only! Not a member? - Join Our Club
Enjoy to audible delight that is possibly the best song ever made.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
During a Quiksilver demo in Anaheim CA on July 24th, Tony took a hard slam on a mute 540 sending him to the local hospital. Tony's words via Twitter were Pelvic vertical shear injury & a hematoma in a pear tree is the semi-official diagnosis. All I know is: I can't lift my legs & it sucks.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.
The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.
The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.
While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.
“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”
The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.
“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines.
American and Afghan officials agreed to discuss the mineral discoveries at a difficult moment in the war in Afghanistan. The American-led offensive in Marja in southern Afghanistan has achieved only limited gains. Meanwhile, charges of corruption and favoritism continue to plague the Karzai government, and Mr. Karzai seems increasingly embittered toward the White House.
So the Obama administration is hungry for some positive news to come out of Afghanistan. Yet the American officials also recognize that the mineral discoveries will almost certainly have a double-edged impact.
Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.
The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth, particularly if a handful of well-connected oligarchs, some with personal ties to the president, gain control of the resources. Just last year, Afghanistan’s minister of mines was accused by American officials of accepting a $30 million bribe to award China the rights to develop its copper mine. The minister has since been replaced.
Endless fights could erupt between the central government in Kabul and provincial and tribal leaders in mineral-rich districts. Afghanistan has a national mining law, written with the help of advisers from the World Bank, but it has never faced a serious challenge.
“No one has tested that law; no one knows how it will stand up in a fight between the central government and the provinces,” observed Paul A. Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense for business and leader of the Pentagon team that discovered the deposits.
At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region. After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more, American officials said.
Another complication is that because Afghanistan has never had much heavy industry before, it has little or no history of environmental protection either. “The big question is, can this be developed in a responsible way, in a way that is environmentally and socially responsible?” Mr. Brinkley said. “No one knows how this will work.”
With virtually no mining industry or infrastructure in place today, it will take decades for Afghanistan to exploit its mineral wealth fully. “This is a country that has no mining culture,” said Jack Medlin, a geologist in the United States Geological Survey’s international affairs program. “They’ve had some small artisanal mines, but now there could be some very, very large mines that will require more than just a gold pan.”
The mineral deposits are scattered throughout the country, including in the southern and eastern regions along the border with Pakistan that have had some of the most intense combat in the American-led war against the Taliban insurgency.
The Pentagon task force has already started trying to help the Afghans set up a system to deal with mineral development. International accounting firms that have expertise in mining contracts have been hired to consult with the Afghan Ministry of Mines, and technical data is being prepared to turn over to multinational mining companies and other potential foreign investors. The Pentagon is helping Afghan officials arrange to start seeking bids on mineral rights by next fall, officials said.
“The Ministry of Mines is not ready to handle this,” Mr. Brinkley said. “We are trying to help them get ready.”
Like much of the recent history of the country, the story of the discovery of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth is one of missed opportunities and the distractions of war.
In 2004, American geologists, sent to Afghanistan as part of a broader reconstruction effort, stumbled across an intriguing series of old charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul that hinted at major mineral deposits in the country. They soon learned that the data had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, but cast aside when the Soviets withdrew in 1989.
During the chaos of the 1990s, when Afghanistan was mired in civil war and later ruled by the Taliban, a small group of Afghan geologists protected the charts by taking them home, and returned them to the Geological Survey’s library only after the American invasion and the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.
“There were maps, but the development did not take place, because you had 30 to 35 years of war,” said Ahmad Hujabre, an Afghan engineer who worked for the Ministry of Mines in the 1970s.
Armed with the old Russian charts, the United States Geological Survey began a series of aerial surveys of Afghanistan’s mineral resources in 2006, using advanced gravity and magnetic measuring equipment attached to an old Navy Orion P-3 aircraft that flew over about 70 percent of the country.
The data from those flights was so promising that in 2007, the geologists returned for an even more sophisticated study, using an old British bomber equipped with instruments that offered a three-dimensional profile of mineral deposits below the earth’s surface. It was the most comprehensive geologic survey of Afghanistan ever conducted.
The handful of American geologists who pored over the new data said the results were astonishing.
But the results gathered dust for two more years, ignored by officials in both the American and Afghan governments. In 2009, a Pentagon task force that had created business development programs in Iraq was transferred to Afghanistan, and came upon the geological data. Until then, no one besides the geologists had bothered to look at the information — and no one had sought to translate the technical data to measure the potential economic value of the mineral deposits.
Soon, the Pentagon business development task force brought in teams of American mining experts to validate the survey’s findings, and then briefed Defense SecretaryRobert M. Gates and Mr. Karzai.
So far, the biggest mineral deposits discovered are of iron and copper, and the quantities are large enough to make Afghanistan a major world producer of both, United States officials said. Other finds include large deposits of niobium, a soft metal used in producing superconducting steel, rare earth elements and large gold deposits in Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan.
Just this month, American geologists working with the Pentagon team have been conducting ground surveys on dry salt lakes in western Afghanistan where they believe there are large deposits of lithium. Pentagon officials said that their initial analysis at one location in Ghazni Province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large of those of Bolivia, which now has the world’s largest known lithium reserves.
For the geologists who are now scouring some of the most remote stretches of Afghanistan to complete the technical studies necessary before the international bidding process is begun, there is a growing sense that they are in the midst of one of the great discoveries of their careers.
“On the ground, it’s very, very, promising,” Mr. Medlin said. “Actually, it’s pretty amazing.”
Monday, July 26, 2010
Jul 21, 2010
2010 Motorcycle Racing News,
David Fretigne has ended his long time association with Yamaha to sign with BMW Motorrad. David has decided that it will require a full factory effort to go head to head with the dominate KTM bikes for a Dakar win. He will be developing the new BMW 450GS Rally for the German manufacturer.
David’s impressive resume of accomplishments include five French Enduro Championships and three International Six Days Enduro Class wins. This is on top of his career of Rally wins and strong Dakar finishes. He is perhaps best remembered for competing on the Olins developed two wheel drive machine based upon the Yamaha WR4540.
The announcement of a BMW “GS” version of the 450x, comes just ahead of the official introduction of the new Husqvarna 450 “hybrid” enduro bike that will feature the BMW developed motor mated to a Husky chassis. This is expected to also signal the end of the BMW 450 off road models. The question that remains, is if this new GS version will be a derivative of the Husky model or another ground up attempt by BMW to create an off road bike.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Written on July 22nd, 2010
AP – General Motors Co. will buy AmeriCredit Corp. for $3.5 billion, a deal that allows the automaker to expand loans to customers with poor credit and offer more leases, key areas where GM must grow to accelerate its car sales.