Monday, January 17, 2011

Dakar 2012?

With the overwhelming success that has blossomed from the Dakar rally since its transition from the desolation of apathetic Northern Africa to the welcoming arms of passionate South America, it is quite apparent that more neighboring countries will be eager to sample a taste of that success and more importantly, its promotional and commercial side effects. While next year’s participation of Argentina and Chile are most likely certain, no less than three additional countries are rumored to either have already promised funds or are in serious talks with the Amaury Sport Organization, the Dakar Rally organizing body, to play host to at least one or more stages each.

Indeed, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil are all rumored to be clamoring to host stages of the 2012 Dakar rally in the hopes or raising their international profile and tourist interests which can be very lucrative. It is said that for a $5 Million dollar investment to party host the rally this year, Argentina may reap upwards of $170 Million in returns as tourists flock to see the spectacle that is hundreds of motorbikes, cars, and trucks barreling through as picturesque a terrain as can be found on Earth. While the commercial success and attraction cannot be denied, the question remains, and true to ASO history, will probably not be answered until very late in 2011, which countries will the Dakar Rally visit next year? The safe bet is that it will be more than the current two.

As the ASO tries, not forget its history, but to shake off the romantic but unrealistic notion that the only true home for the rally remains in Africa, it can be certain that the 2012 Dakar will impress even the most hopeless of romantics. Only 50 more weeks…


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