Dakar has started...Yam 450 2 wheel in first!!


Feb 7, 2002
Hope this is the correct area...

THE tuffest race in the world has started..DAKAR!

WOW Yamaha's 2 wheels drive(1 of 50 made!)450 is leading the bikes in the DAKAR followed by KTM's.
As Larry Roeseller(sp??) mentioned "It's like a 6 days."
Paul Krause is also running the Dakar...nice tho see the Americans.

Thanks to SPEED! :thumb:

Gary B.

Apr 17, 2000
God I love Dakar!! It's gotta be the ultimate off road adventure. I'm gonna be glued to the TV for the next 17 or so days. :aj:

Tony Eeds

Godspeed Tony.
N. Texas SP
Jun 9, 2002
For those without cable (or even TV in my case) I will post the daily info from the Yahoo KTM site that Tom writes up.

Stage 1: REGION D'AUVERGNE > NARBONNE Special 1 km Liaison 395 km Total
396 km

Four hundred competing vehicles including 195 bikes, 142 cars, 63 trucks
were on the start line of the 2004 Telefonica Dakar rally. Add 195
assistance vehicles, close to 600 vehicles took off from the Auvergne area
to head to Narbonne. Add to that a total of 1800 people following the
event in the early stages.

The Dakar Rally is popular; somewhere between 5000 (according to web news
sources) and 35 000 spectators (according to the police) braved the
extremely snowy conditions to watch.

PG Lundmark*: "The prologue was wet, to say the least. We ran in reversed
order so I started sixth from last. Lukas was still pulling dust but when 25
bikes remained there was sleet. And slippery, like the chalk dirt at the
Gotland Grand National. I rode like a chicken." PG is riding a 660 Rally,
not the 950 that I erroneously suggested yesterday.

Cyril Despres: "This snow was great. I don't know how many snowmen were in
the crowd, but with the number of fans I really felt like a rock star. . .
It really is strange to see all this snow and all these people, whereas in a
week or two, we'll be really hot alone in the desert."

These early European stages give lesser known riders a chance for glory:
take a smaller bike and ride aggressively, finish in the top three, and get
interviewed on international sports news. This 1.5 km was won by Matteo
Graziani of Italy on a KTM 450 EXC. However, standings at this point mean
little, and the goal is to avoid crashing, and show off the bike and all its
sponsor stickers to the crowds and news media cameras.

Nani Roma: "It was absolute fun today. It was like a show-off for the
audience. But I didn't risk to much. The race is only starting."

Jordi Arcarons: "The prologue was surely a spectacle for the visitors. But
for us it was more important not to take any risks. We can live with the
results which make up tomorrows starting order."

The usual suspects accounted for the top positions Despres, Sainct, and
Pujol in 2, 3, and 4. David Fretigne on the two wheeled drive Yamaha
finished 5th. I'm excited to see how that new technology fairs this year.

Fabrizio Meoni: "This year the race is tougher on me than before. I've got a
daughter waiting at home. She is only 10 months old. Oh well, I don't have
any illusions. I get older and there are many top riders here this year
which are able to decide the race for themselves."

Alfie Cox: "It gets harder and harder in the motorcycle category. It's not
just the close competition between our team riders. There is also
competition between the private drivers and the team drivers. Each were
equipped by KTM with the same material. I hope, that I can keep up with the
best for the whole race. . . When I left home (in South Africa) it was
35C°, so it was tough for me. This weather is not for me, I'm a man for the
sun. "

In the cars, Kenjiro Shinozuka set the fastest time in his Nissan. Shinozuka
suffered terrible head injuries last year when he misjudged a dune, taking
it at high speed and smashing his head on the steering wheel. Saw that on
SpeedTV - it was gruesome. His life was in danger but the 55-year old
pulled through and was back to his brilliant best on today.

Lundmark*: The VW team has two racing Touareg where I hope that my personal
favorite Jutta Kleinschmidt will win. They can't complain of lack of
service, the German organization is faultless with a staff of 53 people.

Apparently some anti-global activists have barricaded the planned transport
stage so there was a detour of some 100 km, to Narbonne for tomorrow's

*I have another, new source of information about this year's Rally. PG
Lundmark is posting a daily diary, and Mikael Laine of the paris-dakar list
is translating it to english. Those who want to read it can certainly log
onto that list:

Tom Warr
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Tony Eeds

Godspeed Tony.
N. Texas SP
Jun 9, 2002
Here is Stage Two :thumb:

Stage 2 - 2 January 2004 - NARBONNE > CASTELLÓN
Liaison 6 km Special 25 km Liaison 532 km Total 563 km

Snow in Clermont-Ferrand, mud in Narbonne. Today's special was 25km staged
around Narbonne, through the hillcrests of the Pays d*Oc just over the abbey
of Fontfroide. The track was very technical. Nobody likes these short and
wet European winter tracks where nothing can be won, but so much can be

Muddy conditions favored lighter bikes, and especially the two wheeled drive
Yamaha WR 450 of Frenchman David Fretigne.

Fretigne: "I clock the best time without really taking any risks. I didn't
feel I was riding fast. Having a two-wheel drive bike helps a lot going out
of bends. Winning the special and leading the overall is of course good. I
don't think the going will be quite as twisty or muddy when we get to
Africa. Still I was very impressed with how well the two-wheel drive system
performed here. It allowed me to come out of the corners much quicker than I
would normally have been able to and gave me much more stability on the
straights. The hardest is yet to come however."

Second on the day and fifteen seconds slower was Cyril
Despres appeared to be loving these European stages in front
of thousands of fans. "Once again, I was impressed by the huge crowd. This
time, I felt like Gronholm or Makinen."

Meanwhile, heavier bikes were a liability. Fabrizio Meoni on the KTM 950
finishing 11th, over 2 minutes back: "I'm 50% responsible, the other half
for the bike." American Paul Krause is the only other rider on the KTM 950
(that I know of), and he is currently in 44th.

Interestingly, two wheel drive was also best in the car category.
Jose-Maria Servia is a former Formula 1 racer and Dakar veteran who raced a
very tricked out and cool two wheeled drive Schlesser-Ford buggy to first

Servia: "We really went well all along the course and overtook 4 or 5 cars
that were nice enough to let me go by. It's an advantage compared to those
who were stuck behind other competitors. It's a big surprise to have clocked
the best time because we don't really have the kind of car made for such a
course. But we managed not to make any mistakes."

Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubish Evo2): "It's the kind of special where you have
to enjoy yourself, have fun, be spectacular for the crowd. But still and
most of all be careful and not damage the car."

Here is an interesting story - Race Dakar without any motorcycle
experience? 41-year-old Thierry Hupin took off on the Telefonica
Dakar for the very first time on a KTM 650CC bike with a license he
only got two weeks ago and no experience on two wheels. "I lost too
much time. I thought it would be easier."

During the prologue in Auvergne when he really discovered
the machine that he is supposed to take all the way to Dakar. The 1.5km
bumpy track, under snow was to be his baptism of fire. "I even choked in
middle of the special. It was tougher than I thought. But the important
thing was not to fall after the first turn so I took it easily. I have to

Despite all this, 'super newcomer' was far from ridiculous. Of course, it
took Hupin 2min 40s to complete the prologue but with his 181st position, he
finishes ahead of 14 other riders, including two who had already finished
the rally in good position.

If this stage went without worries, the biker remains extremely cautious and
heads for the upcoming stages with as much modesty as possible. *I only rode
1.5kms. I still have 11 000 to go and I don't know if I'll make it. All I
know is that I'll give everything to go as far as possible."

What a nut! Hard to believe, but I'm not making this up. After two
stages, Thierry is in 192nd.

After the special, all the motorcycle competitors once again had the luxury
of loading their bikes into trucks for the long 563km liaison to Castellon
60km north of Valencia in the heart of the Costa Blanca area in Spain where
tomorrow they will race the last European special before heading off to the
deserts of Africa, where the event starts in earnest.

Standings mean little so early in the Rally, but nonetheless, Team Red Bull
is behind all 9 riders for KTM Teams France, Spain, and International:
20th Larry Roeseler +3*16
36th Scott Harden +4*24
44th Paul Krause (KTM 950) +5*06

Pictures of the race on line are hard to find. To get an idea of what the
conditions were like, you can find some at these links (looked cold to
under photos, and
cool pictures of the Yamaha two wheeled drive bike at:

And finally, I thought this from PG Lundmark's web page, was too good to

Second stage

Today I met the Frenchman who cost PålAnders five minutes during last year's
Dakar, next to last stage in the Sinai desert. The absolutely last sand dune
with a steep rear side, about ten metres high. Pål had just passed him and
he didn't seem to like being passed by a Norwegian. His answer was to pass
again on the crest of the dune, at about 50kph. Right speed is about 4kph.
He reached an altitude of some 12-13 metres above the point where he landed
among fist-sized rocks. Both heels were crushed, both ankles broken and a
vertebra crushed. He stopped PålAnders from activating his emergency
transmitter that would have guaranteed him a helicopter within 20 minutes.
He thought he would be OK to continue if he just rested a while. Pushing the
button will cost around 1000 Euros, which may also have played a part. Now
he told me he had spent five months in hospital before he was allowed to
support his own body weight. This year he is in charge of information for
the two-wheeled participants. He wants to be back in 2005. Like me, he is
smitten by the bug.

Today's special wasn't the same as it has been, no rocky trails in the
mountains, just clay and dirt. Another slippery day, in other words. I spent
most of the time on my back wheel, just to show my appreciation for the
brave spectators waiting in the nasty weather all morning. My bike seems to
be jetted with jets the size of a pipeline or of the type found in
methanol-speedway racers. I have to check this before the proper racing
starts in Africa or I'll risk running out of petrol, something I had enough
of in 2001, when it happened three times. That costs time. Finding a Bedouin
to sell you petrol out there is as likely as my mother having a schnapps for
Christmas. Lukas Lundin bought the most expensive petrol in Africa in 2000.
After taking a wrong turn he had to find petrol. In the third village where
he stopped, a medicine man sold him 20 litres of low-grade petrol for 100 US
dollars. That's capitalism for you, supply and demand.

French journalists are chasing me. This morning some journalists came over,
shot lots of photos and told me their readers liked my spectacular riding
style. I don't understand and I feel insulted. I am always riding as nicely
as the adrenaline allows. They also asked about the airbrush on the
right-hand front tank. I told them it was my sauna at home in Fjällbonäs,
pointing out the bath tub, the cut opening in the ice on the lake and tried
to describe what an evening in a sauna is like, with home-burned schnapps
and the whole lot. The legend "If you ain't Norrbottner, you ain't ****!"
caught his attention, with a map of Scandinavia with the Polar Circle marked
in. Apparently there is an abyss between a lake in Norrbotten and a French
motor journalist in Narbonne, although we both belong to the European
community. Maybe our community should think about sending missionaries, like
the Swedish church does.


Special thanks to Mikael Lain, PG's webmaster. The translation is done
by a fellow named Jan Leek.

Please visit it, and check out cool pictures of PG's bike,at:

Tom Warr
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Tony Eeds

Godspeed Tony.
N. Texas SP
Jun 9, 2002
Here is Stage Three

Dang that sounds like fun.

Stage 3 - 3 January 2004 - CASTELLÓN > TANGER
Liaison 4 km Special 9 km Liaison 852 km Total 865 km

Under a bright sun and clear blue sky, the Platja del Pinar beach staged
another exciting special for the numerous Spanish fans of the Telefonica
Dakar 2004. Like yesterday, Frenchman David Fretigne took his two-wheel
drive Yamaha to victory, again, ahead of compatriot Despres.

David Fretigne, on the Yamaha WR450, again took advantage of his very "well
balanced" two wheel drive machine to set the fastest time. "It's great to
have confirmation that the two wheel drive bike is so stable on sand. It's
funny to tell myself that for my first Dakar, I'm leading the overall
standing before going to Africa. I never could have imagined that. But I
have to stay calm, I still consider that I'm here to learn."

Too bad Yamaha didn't enter 2 or 3 of these machines. It takes a team of
several to win the Dakar, with team members providing technical assistance.
This one bike is too at risk of breaking down, and droppping into umpteenth
place in one stage, against a hourd of KTMs, one of which will do enough to
win. Exciting to see Fretigne does in the big dunes. A smaller bike makes
a lot of sense, if it can hold together.

With his 2nd stage win, Fretigne, the three time World enduro champion,
fellow Frenhman Cyril Despres (KTM n°2) by 16 sec. Despres has finished 2nd
in each of the first 3 stages.

Privateer Eric Verhoef was fourth, with Isidre Esteve Pujol fifth, Pal
Anders Ullevalseter sixth, Alfie Cox seventh, Richard Sainct eighth, Nani
Roma ninth and Italian Fabrizio Meoni again struggling in 15th, but only 46
down on Frétigné for the stage.

Meanwhile, Britain's Patsy Quick, riding for the Desert Rose Team, brought
her KTM 660 Rallye home 3min 38sec down on the leader and is currently 127th
overall, 14min 22sec behind the leaders.

Alfie Cox "A big crowd in Clermont. A big crowd in Narbonne. I was once
again surprised by the number of people today. It's good for the rally. You
see here how important the stages are for the good health of the race. For
us there not as interesting on a sporting point of view. Now Europe is
behind us and I can't wait to ride in the desert. . . I don't consider them
to be real stages yet. I don't like them at all. I'm more than glad that we
finally leave for Africa."

Team Farmerlips Ullevalseter is 11th, and Lundmark is 21.

Lundmark: "Today's special was on a sandy beach in Castellon, Spain, fun to
ride, and the sand was as deep as in the real desert. The difference was the
impressive number of spectators, something we're not used to in Africa. The
bike runs well and it's difficult to find anything to complain about. I fell
un-Swedish, if you understand what I mean!"

Moto-rookie Thierry Hupin is 179th overall.

This is from the KTM web page - I think they must've heard our comments
about coverage of the privateers:

Let's look at the numerous private riders, which are performing at the race
with KTM's assistance. Usually, they are left in the shadows of the
professionals. That doesn't do justice as we think. Their enthusiasm, their
endurance and their will to fight at the Dakar should be estimated just as
high as the work of the professionals. Therefore, we will check on them time
and again this year.

Silent heroes
Marco Borsi and Checco Tonette have one big dream. They want to ride the
Dakar at least once. This year they live their dream. Relatives and friends
given them financial help. The two
Italians chose a KTM 660 Rally for their bikes. Tonetti, in real life an
airplane pilot, tells us why: "KTM's support is perfect for amateur riders
like us. I could always call Tatjana Hayward (customer support at KTM - the
editor) whenever I had any questions or problems."

Checco Tonetti has not been around bikes for years. "When my son bought his
KTM a year ago I became engrossed with it again. I wanted to ride a
motorcycle myself again. Well and then the dream of participating at the
Dakar got started. And now I am here."

Both bikes of the adventurers are supported by the mechanics of KTM's
support team. "We have planned to reach Dakar city," explains Marco Borsi,
electronic specialist in real life, their ambitious goal. "For that we have
worked very hard. All people we know keep their fingers crossed for our goal
and we don't want to disappoint them."

In the cars, Giniel De Villiers (Nissan n°208) won today's special on the
rally: "I'm really happy. It's great to win a special on the Dakar,
especially the first one for me. This victory is kind of a compensation
after yesterday's incident.", where he crashed and damaged the car.
Gregoire De Mevius, second in the BMW today, leads overall.

And finally, I can't help but cut and past PG Lundmark's diary entry
verbatim. It add so much perspective:

Dayreport: I am sitting in the mobile home, listening to Omar and the
Howlers CD, Live at the Paradiso. What a guitarist and blues singer he is!
Talk about fuel for the soul. No blues, no good results, that's my opinion.
Lukas is calling about the stock market, Rett Butler (Anders Walberg) is
driving and T/S Granberg handles the map. We will miss Butler's dinners when
we get to Africa. Entrée in the form of fish with white wine and a main
course with meat and red wine. I have taken up the same procedure, having
Cola Light for the entrée and ordinary Coke with the main course, with the
red label. Seems I'm about to become a city slicker after all.

Talking of Lukas' Team Cityslickers, we need rules for how a city slicker
should be, seven of them. Like the ones we have for a FarmerLips member, but
adapted for the city. Here is a short profile: He showers, changes his
shirt, underwear and shaves daily. His shirt has a button-down collar.
Spends all his time in cities and hates camping. The closest he gets to
nature is an 18-hole golf course. Wine is a necessity and drinking from the
bottle is out. Get it? Send in suggestions for the rules for this
personality to our guest book.

Yesterday, Lukas told me his Lundin share was up to 34 Kronor. I had decided
to sell my shares when they exceeded 30 and buy a new car. So, here goes: I
want to sell my almost new, 1988, Jeep Laredo pickup. Well, new. It has some
rust and has been crashed so the frame isn't quite straight. New rear tyres
last only 10,000kms. But it has extra equipment in the form of a radio,
which is broken now, but can probably be fixed. The question is how to go
about selling my shares without making the stock market collapse. We are
talking of several hundred here. I think I must sell them over a period to
avoid fluctuations on the market. Seems awkward to sell, when you're a
majority stock holder and I do like my bent Jeep. Maybe it's better to
contact a stock broker or forget the whole thing and concentrate on the
Dakar. I don't want to be remembered as a stock market speculator.

Tomorrow's stage takes the competitors from Tangier to Er Rachidia for the
first African kilometers of the rally : 75km special on rocky tracks.
Fast conditions lead across the Mamoora-forest close to Rabat, then tackle
444km of liaison to the town of Er Rachidia.

Tom Warr
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Tony Eeds

Godspeed Tony.
N. Texas SP
Jun 9, 2002
First taste of Africa for Team Dome BMW

Team Dome BMW's Simon Pavey and Nick Plumb had their first full day on
African soil in this year's 2004 Telefonica Dakar Rally when they contested
the 750 km fourth day stage from Tangier to Er Rachidia and finished the
timed section in 53rd and 64th places respectively.

Today's riding consisted of travelling through a series of changing
landscapes. This morning's stage started off in the cosmopolitan city of
Tangier on the doorstep of the African continent, before heading off through
northern Morocco. The day began with a 233 km liaison, followed by a timed
75 km special stage through sand and gravel tracks through pine forests, and
ending with a mammoth 444 km liaison due to finish in Er Rachidia later this

One hundred and ninety one bikes started the stage between Tangier and Er
Rachidia, so Team Dome BMW's Simon Pavey was pleased with his and Nick's
performance in the special stage: "The game plan is certainly working at the
moment," said the 36-year-old Australian. "The special stage was beautiful -
fast and flowing with some twisty sand and gravel sections and a couple of
deep water crossings that caught a few competitors out.

"This morning's 233 km liaison was cold - there were frosty and foggy
conditions to contend with - and during this afternoon's 444 km liaison we
reached the Atlas Mountains and climbed right up to the snow line, where we
remained for over an hour. Fortunately we're using BMW heated clothing and
the F650 rally bikes are fitted with heated grips, so we never felt the
cold - unlike some of the other riders who you could see shivering and being
forced to travel slowly in the conditions.

"So, all in all, we're in good shape, although the bikes were starting to
run a bit rich in the freezing conditions. Apart from that they've been
superb and our only complaint is that Nick has picked up a nasty cold so I'm
staying clear of him for the next couple of days because that's the last
thing you need on the Dakar rally. We'll both be glad to reach Er Rachidia
this evening and get our heads down for a while."
visit or

More pages;
Patsy comes back for more
Dakar heroes back for more. (Team Dome BMW Si Pavey and Nicky Plumb)
First photos of the KTM teams testing in Tunisia!
Official Dakar Website
TV Eurosport (Europe)
Enduro and Off Road News

Tony Eeds

Godspeed Tony.
N. Texas SP
Jun 9, 2002
Here is Stage Four :cool:

I want to go!!

Stage 4 - 4 January 2004 - TANGER > ER RACHIDIA
Liaison 233 km Special 75 km Liaison 444 km Total 752 km

Africa at last. Today's stage was relatively short, but interesting, and
beautiful. Across the Atlas mountains, the route included some snow and
beautiful green forests. The road rutted, with plenty of mud and a few
deep, up to the tank water crossings. Apparently, there was about 5 miles
of pavement (!),k allowing the 950 KTM of Meioni to go 125 mph, about 20 mph
faster than the 660cc KTM singles of everyone else. Maybe that's why Meioni
won, today.

Bigger is better. Riding a heavier, though more powerful, bi-cylinder KTM
950cc, Meoni had dropped almost three minutes in the sinuous European
stages. But once out in the open desert, the twice Dakar winner was today
simply unbeatable. The fast, flowing tracks proved ideal for his big KTM and
he crossed the line 43 seconds quicker than South African Alfie Cox.

Meanwhile, Richard Sainct crashed: "6 km after the start I crashed to the
ground on the slippy surface. It was my mistake. I underestimated the
composition of the ground. . . I still don't understand how it happened. I
was riding at 100km/h on a flat road. I'm OK (stitches on the arm) but I
broke the clutch handle. That's why I took it easily after that". Sainct
came in 29th and was about 7 minutes behind the leader. The exhaust and the
side covers were especially damaged on his KTM 660 Rally. Furthermore, his
number 1 sticker was scratched, hopefully only on the outside.

Jean Brucy also crashed shortly after the start. "I rode right behind
Fabrizio and wanted to stay close to him. I thought I could fly across three
successive little peaks all at once. I did not make it." The first doctor's
diagnosis states that Jean Brucy might have bruised his hip. He was
subscribed some pain relievers.

Frenchman David Fretigne got lost on his
2WD Yamaha, and finished in 39th position, almost ten minutes down on Meoni.
Fretigne is now 23rd overall.

Britain's Patsy Quick safely negotiated today's first real test, bringing
her KTM 660 home in 155th position, 26min 59sec down on stage winner Meoni.
As a result, Patsy now finds herself 148th overall 38min, 45sec adrift of
Esteve Pujol.

Thiery Hupin, supposedly first on a motorcycle only two weeks ago, still has
the rubber side down, and is in 191st.

Fabrizio Meoni was first on the day, now 2nd overall:
"My goal wasn't to win. It's important to win specials in the other half of
the rally, not now. The course was strange, the first half was very
difficult because of mud. The other half was technical on sand."

Alfie Cox finished 2nd:
"The special was great. The wet sand, mud and forest reminded me of the one
from 1992.The worse part was the two long liaison sections (233 and 444 km).
Just a joke. The riding started today. the holiday's are over !"

Esteve Pujol was 3rd on the stage, leads overall:
"It's the first time in seven Dakar rallies that I lead the overall. I had
already won specials but this is even better. I can't quite believe it yet.
It's a good feeling because I really prepared a lot this year, and only for
the Dakar. It was a fast special but also very technical and that's better
for me. That's probably why I'm first overall. I hope I'll do as well inn
navigation stages because for the moment it isn't that important to lead."

Team Red Bull KTM USA for the stage:

10th Larry Roeseler (Team Red Bull KTM USA) + 2´35
15th Scott Harden (Team Red Bull KTM USA) + 2´53
22nd Paul Krause (Team Red Bull KTM USA) + 4´49

and overall, down in the standings, but trailing by only minutes:

11. ROESELER USA KTM Rally 660 03' 54" -
21. HARDEN USA KTM Rally 660 06' 15" -
29. KRAUSE USA KTM Rally 950 09' 05" -

Team Farmerlips Ullevalseter is 10th and PG Lundmark is 15th. Lundmark:

"I started this morning by going flat out, but after two hours I rode
through the woods and thought about the trees having the right dimensions
for cutting. That got me mad, because if you have time to see that, you're
slow. Sure enough, a bit later Meoni caught up with me and I waved my arm to
let him pass. Then I threw away my tourist visa and dusted off my racing
licence. Riding behind Meoni and see him handle his KTM twin is something
else. I wish I had had a camera on my helmet. He rides brutally, decisive
and very powerful, the only way to ride these twins. The film would have
been the perfecto introduction on how to slide. After 20kms Brucy caught up
and placed himself between us. I was flat out, working my racing licence,
until Brucy crashed rather badly. I slowed down to see how he was but,
miraculously, he didn't seem hurt. He was probably doing around 90-100kph at
the time, but got up immediately and started tearing at his demolished
roadbook. I decided not to stop, but was cured from continuing at max, at
least for today. My top speed for the day was 186kph, downhill, sun in my
back and a vanishing Meoni in front helping me."

In the cars, 4-time Dakar winner Ari Vatanen will celebrate tonight after
securing his 50th career stage win after clocking the fastest time on
Sunday's 75km test between Tanger and Er Rachidia: "Stats are not the most
important thing in life. But I have the ambition of going up to 100.
Seriously, it was very fast and we had to take advantage of that. I won't
attack every day but tomorrow after 5kms I might change my mind."

The Dakar legend, winner in 1987, '89, '90 and '91, Vatanen beat Stephane
Peterhansel (Mitsubishi) by ten seconds, with Miki Biasion was third.
Britain's Colin McRae enjoyed is first true experience of the desert with
the fourth best time, just 41 seconds down on Vatanen, rising him to sixth
overall on his Dakar debut.

Peterhansel's steady start in previous stages now gives him the overall
lead, 1min 07secs ahead of team-mate Biasion, and 1min 28sec ahead of BMW's
Gregoire De Mevius. Vatanen is fourth (+1.28), defending champion Hiroshi
Masuoka is 5th (+1.37) and World Rally champ McRae 6th (+1.51).

Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi):
"I was surprised by the course. I was expecting a technical special but it
was very fast despite going through forests. It was impossible to make big
gaps. We'll have to wait for longer stages. By then, the gaps will be
counted in minutes. We've been very consistent from the start which explains
our position in the overall. For the moment we're not asking the car too
much, we're still checking things. Tomorrow, serious stuff is starting with
the dangers of African stages. We'll have a better idea of the gaps. We now
know that it's going to be very difficult because all the teams are very
close to each other."

There are some great human interest stories on the Dakar web page, under
Dakar Magazine, including one about 9 business executives who decide to race
Dakar as a team. Interesting what the Dakar will bring out in people.

PG's final comments:

My experience tells me that 33 percent of all riders will give up for lack
of stamina or crashes, 33 will have technical problems and 33 will reach the
finish. But in the beginning everybody says they will ride till they're
there, which is what it says on the swinging arm of my bike. Lac Rosé is, to
a Dakar rider, as full of myth and legend as the Holy Grail where the Ten
Commandments were kept.

Tomorrow morning the riders leave the bivouac on the plateau at the edge of
the Wadi Ziz, then south from Er Rachidia to Ouarzazate. The day will get
underway with a 56km liaison before the start of the substantial 337km
stage. After all that
fun, a 182km liaison will take them to Ouarzazate. The route has many quick
turns and it leads at times across sandy at other times across rock invested
ground. Finally it reaches the Erg Chebbib that is difficult to cross.

This year, a new A.S.O. regulation: the top three drivers can choose their
starting place the next day, rather than first place starts first the next

The idea behind the change is to introduce more excitement: Who is best at
navigating? Who likes to have his track set, catch up, and pass rather
late? Who likes to ride in the tailgate of a competitor to keep his lead?

Not everyone agrees to this regulation: The KTM team-riders agreed to not
to follow the regulation at all.

Hans Trunkenpolz, technical manager at KTM: "We have got many extremely
great riders in our teams and don't think it is fair that the ones in 4th
and 5th place cannot choose their starting position and in the end even have
to set the track for the others."

The team managers had the riders decide if they wanted to follow the
regulation or not - in secret. Fabrizio Meoni: "We all agreed that we did
not want to go according to this regulation. We, the team-riders, will start
in the same order that we have reached the finish line."

If you ask me, they should follow the rules, and not team orders or schemes.

Tom Warr

Tony Eeds

Godspeed Tony.
N. Texas SP
Jun 9, 2002
Stage Five

Stage 5 - 5 January 2004 - ER RACHIDIA > OUARZAZATE
Liaison 56 km Special 337 km Liaison 182 km Total 575 km

The start of the special was very fast and the tracks sinuous and rocky.
Then, the Erg Chebbib, first contact with sand. The second part of the
speciale included sandy but fast tracks. Rally rookies discovered all the
surprises that such a rally can bring.

Ouarzazate : the door to the Great South, land where the sand seems to
invade everything. Along the oueds of Drâa, Dadès and Ziz, will be
kilometres of orchards, palm plantations and rose gardens. It is the start
to the road to the oasis along the Draa valley all the way to Mhamid where
suddenly the longest river of Morocco disappears mysteriously between sand
and rock.

Apparently, Meioni thought the stage was easy: "Today was a special for
children! The Spaniards are on their training ground here. If I can keep
this rhythm in Morocco, I'll be very happy."

KTM Repsol Spain team mates, Esteve Pujol and Juan Roma finished 1 and 2.
Pujol's win gives him a 22 second lead in the overall standings over
Fabrizio Meoni, the Italian finishing third in today's stage.

Today's winner enjoyed his triumph. "Overall the course was fantastic. It
had lots of sand, but also lots of rocks. And it was difficult to pass. For
the longest time I was stuck behind Alfie. Only when he navigated wrongly
was I able to go for it and race further on my own. What I like even
better - tomorrow I get to start from the pole position. Then I won't need
to pass anyone. I'm equally proud to be leading the overalls."

Meanwhile, Richard Sainct finished 8th, complaining of his sore arm from
yesterday's crash: "I knew this morning that I would start, but I didn't
know how I would feel. Finally, when the muscle has warmed up, it's OK. In
my mind, I'm in the same rhythm as the others".

Cyril Despres:
"It was a tricky course, like usual in Morocco. I thought it would be worse
with the rain of the previous days. I lost a lot of time overtaking,
especially Roeseler. I had the sun in my face added to all the dust. Then I
had a free track ahead. I took it easily without making mistakes. If we
start attacking like crazy now, only 12 of us will finish the rally."

39-year-old Austrailian privateer, Andy Caldecott finished 5th today:
"I enjoyed most of it. I got lost and probably lost around 3 or 4 minutes.
But I was hoping to finish in the good positions. It was a good solid ride.
No worries ! Nothing really concerns me but the goal is to finish. We want
to finish because we spent a lot of money to come. We don't want to throw it
away. I'm not really used to these specials compared to the other guys. They
know it by heart because it is the same as in the Morocco rally and in the
previous years of the Dakar. The longest special I had ever done was over
300km in Dubai. This is different."

"With my small transportation business as only source for financial support
this could not have happened. Luckily KTM Australia helped me make my dream
come true." For further assistance Andy Caldecott has asked the KTM Support
Team to perform. They help with some advice, some repair -if asked even
around the clock. "Especially for the logistical support I need to thank KTM
very, very much," says the Australian. "I don't need to look after anything
at all. I can just ride. And hopefully I get to do so until Dakar."

Team Red Bull KTM USA:
Scot Harden was best of the Americans today in 16th, now 15th overall with
Roeseler dropping to 23rd after finishing 25th today. Paul Krause, on the
only other KTM 950, was 28th today and sits 28th overall. Larry Roeseler:
"I'm satisfied. On these tracks I feel like being at home in the States."

Pal Anders Ullevalsetter from Norway managed to climb up from place 16 to
place 10 (+7'54). And the Dakar-viking Per Gunnar Lundmark from Sweden
defended the 12th position (+11'25).

Lundmark: "The first 100 kilometres went well today, but then something in
the navigation went wrong, because at one of the sand dunes I saw that the
first waypoint wasn't where it was supposed to have been. Lost 5-8 minutes.
Back on route I joined PålAnders and a gang of others and the last 100
kilometres Pål and Coma simply left me. I just have to grit my teeth,
because now the race has started. There is always a chance to retaliate
tomorrow, is my philosophy. . . I hope to improve each day from now. Pål is
courted by Norwegian television each day now."

David Fretigne on a two wheel drive WR400 is15th, first non-KTM, behind
Pujol by 24 min.

Charlie Rauseo, from USA, is 56th. British Patsy Quick is 136th. Swede,
Bertil Marcusson, who rode his Honda CRF 450 from Sweden to the start of the
Rally, is in 161st, after a rough day today. Canadian Maryline Lambelin is
in 170th, but I can't find her team mate Marie-Christine Paré in the
standings. They are competing on Bombardier Quads. British team riders,
Simon Pavey and Nick Plumb on BMW F650 GS Dakar motorcycles, are 104th and

Thiery Hupin, who supposedly started riding motorcycles just two weeks
before the Rally started, is not found in the standings.

In the cars, Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi n°203) won today's stage,
beating Masuoka (Mitsubishi n°201) by 4min55. South African Giniel De
Villiers (Nissan n°208) was third. "There was so much dust ! We even had to
stop because we couldn't see anything. I can't believe how fast Peter went.
He must have known the area !!!" Luc Alphand (BMW n°208) was 4th, and his
team mate Gregoire De Mevius (n°212) 5th. WRC champ, Colin McRae (Nissan
n°202) finished 6th. His partner Ari Vatanen (N°205) had to stop to repair
tyres and cope with an inflation problem. At the end of the day, the Finn
lost over 39min on Peterhansel, possible eliminating his chances for an
overall win in the Rally.

Jean-louis Schlesser and Josep maria Servia in the Schlesser-Ford buggies,
are 6th and 10th. Jutta Kleinschmidt, in the VW Toureg, is 12th, just 23
min behind Peterhansel. Mark Miller, from Carefree, Arizona, driving for
the Pro-System/GM Racing team in a GM-powered Chevrolet Protruck, is 21st,
44 min behind the leader.

Hiroshi Masuoka:
"It was an easy special. We went through all the situations the Dakar can
offer : sand, wind, rocks. I went carefully and only drove at 50% of my
possibility. The result is due to the excellent car. I'll try to have the
same kind of special tomorrow."

Tomorrows 6th stage is a tough piece of work for the drivers. It leads
towards the Atlantic coast to Tan Tan. Starting at 4:25 am with a liaison
of 176 km, then the special of 351kms, with much dust, and then a final
liaison of 276kms, 800 km (480 miles) altogether. The stage includes
high-speed and mountains in the first part which change into a rock invested
track in the second part. First priority is to concentrate highly in order
to avoid any dangerous crashes.

Tom Warr

Tony Eeds

Godspeed Tony.
N. Texas SP
Jun 9, 2002
Stage Six

Stage 6 - 6 January 2004 - OUARZAZATE > TAN-TAN
Liaison 176 km Special 351 km Liaison 276 km Total 803 km

Ouarzazate - Tan Tan

This stage between Ouarzazate and Tan Tan was fast, bumpy, rocky, a real
technical challenge. Important to take it easy, slow down, and avoid too
much damage.

Very few travellers go there because Tan Tan is lost in the middle of a huge
desert of rocks and stones, just by the Atlantic ocean. This meeting between
sea and desert gives the impression of being at the end of the World. Out of
time, between past and present!

Nani Roma won the stage, finishing ahead of fellow Repsol KTM Spain team
mate Isidre Esteve Pujol by 2min25. This is their second consecutive 1-2

Roma: "My bike was well adapted for such a special. I had a good rhythm in
front. It was a tricky stage with the dust and the sun. A stage where I had
to be careful not to damage the bike because the mechanics wouldn't have had
the time to repair due to the early start time. The hardest part was
actually the liaison this morning. I was more cautious than during the
special. Tomorrow the race really starts. Isidre Esteve is not a surprise
because he is very experienced and fast."

Pujol was not happy: "At first everything was working very well. I took
special care of my tires because the track was littered with rocks. After
100 kilometers my trip master stopped working and 80 kilometers further my
substitution trip master was gone as well. From than on I could only use my
GPS to navigate. I waited for Nani after CP 2 (kilometer 206). At CP2, I let
Roma go past and asked him if I could stay behind. It's too bad because I
had the possibility to extend the gap in the overall. The important thing is
that I'm still in front and with Nani behind, it's perfect for the team.
Yes, I was really ticked off. I did not make any mistake and still I couldn'
t win."

Australian privateer Andy Caldecott finished an excellent 3rd for the stage,
is in 5th overall:
"I guess it is a satisfaction to be in the top 5. But I'm disappointed
because during 80kms I was in the dust of Cyril Despres. I then had a fuel
problem. I knew I hadn't run out of fuel. It was just that the fuel wasn't
going through. It happened at 10kms of the finish line and I lost around
30sec. I was very comfortable during the first 200kms. Tomorrow's stage is
daunting because of the unknown! I've never done such a long stage."

Italian Fabrizio Meoni, who finished 9th today, was cool about today's
results: "The Spaniards practiced in Morocco. They know the surroundings
like the back of their heads. . . It isn't doing any good to look at the
overalls just yet. I ride my own race and I'm glad if I bring myself and the
two-cylinder bike safely across the finish line. At the first stages my
motorbike could not perform all that well. Tomorrow I should be able to ride
at full speed."

Sainct is still hurting from a crash two days ago: "I"m not feeling great.
My arm was hurting at the start this morning when the muscle was cold and
giving me hell at the end over the stones. I can still cope with the pain.
The problem is that I can't remain well focused".

Giovanni Sala crashed at around km 117. The KTM rider launched a distress
signal and appears to suffer from broken ribs. The normally personable
Italian did not like to talk a whole lot when returning from the doctors;
every word was hurting him badly: "It happened in fast turns on little
dunes. I jumped across a bump when I suddenly saw the big rock on the
ground. I missed it with my front wheel, but must directly have hit it with
the rear one. Then I crashed and unfortunately now everything is over. It's
really too bad because I was having a good race."

Alfie Cox is 41 yo today: "The track moved up and down and it felt like a
trampoline. Also there were unbelievably many jumps today. . . I feel sad
for Gio. I hope he will soon be okay again. It is even harder for me now.
For Meoni and I Gio was to be of great help if anything did happened to us
on the way. We will also miss the team results now."

The team manager of the American Red Bull Team seemed relaxed at the last
finish in Morocco. "We are rookies!" commented Scott Harden. Harden is in
13th place overall, Paul Krause is in 25th and Larry Roeseler in 26th

Pal Anders Ullevalseter arrived at the finish line in 10th (+6'26) and
Per-Gunnar Lundmark is in 11th (+12'14).

#115 Charlie Rauseo, of SLEEPY JING'S MADMAN RACING moves up several places,
into 51st overall, on the KTM Rally 660. 36 yo Rauseo lives in San
Francisco. He and his girlfriend, Jing, just opened a cafe in North Beach.

Thiery Hupin (France, KTM 660), withdrew after reaching the first checkpoint
on stage 5, yesterday. According to Dakar Magazine (on the Dakar web page),
this guy had never ridden a motorcycle before learning just a few weeks
before the Rally. If he hadn't withdrawn, I would have gone crazy.

In the cars, Peterhansel (Mitsubishi n°203) lost his lead due to a 5 minute
penalty for having pushed his car yesterday, then problems fixing a flat

His team mate, Masuoka stunned the opposition today, by winning the stage
and taking the overall lead: "Eighty percent of the special was rocky. If
you went 10cm out of the good track, it cost a puncture. It's an important

Ari Vatanen (Nissan n°205) and Jutta Kleinschmidt (Volkswagen n°204)
suffered similar fates at km 117 when crossing a river, when they both broke
down because of water in the engine. The Finn was able to get back on track
after. a 2h50 hour repair. The German however had to be towed to the finish
by an assistance truck and was still expected at the bivouac.

WRC champ, Colin McRae has admitted for the first time that the Dakar rally
is more difficult than he anticipated, conceding that today's stage was
longer than he thought and that the pace is quicker than expected: "I think
that the pace is faster than what I was expecting. Today the pace was very,
very fast and felt like a full out Safari pace on the WRC which I was quite
surprised about. The terrain changes all the time and it is probably a bit
more difficult than I anticipated. Maybe the right pace is to go slower but
for the moment everybody is going quicker than me so what do you do."

"You try to prepare mentally for the distance," he said, "but tomorrow's
stage is over 700 kilometres and today's stage was only 350 and it felt a
lot longer than I thought it would, so tomorrow is going to be a long day."


Tomorrow's stage will be the longest of this year's Rally; a total of 1055
kms, including 701 of special. After riding and racing 800 km today, they
leave at midnight and ride 345kms from Tan Tan to the Mauritania border. Not
much time for bike maintenance, much less rest for the riders. Then,
tomorrows special stage includes the crossing of the Oumaghawaba Erg, only
way to Atar.

Miscellaneous final comments from G Lundmark:

For the competitors it is time to get their road books ready for the 7th
stage. The sooner they get done the faster they get to snuggle into their
sleeping bags. Tomorrow a 1055 km stage, the longest one in this year's
Dakar, awaits the drivers. Surely the riders will then be spread apart. A
little past midnight the drivers will be on their way to Atar. "Liaisons
like this one are always problematic," exclaims Nani Roma. "You are tired
and you need to ride in darkness." After sunrise the riders start on the
special in the north of Mauritania. It is 701 kilometers long. Years ago the
route from Tan Tan to Atar had to be crossed within two days. Tomorrow the
drivers will have to manage this torture in only one day. And it will surely
sort the wheat from the chaff. A crucial day is coming up.

Last night I was analysing yesterday's special stage, eating Maxim "recovery
bars". For complete recovery, listening to blues music is of valid
importance. With some sort of self-criticism I chose "It's my own fault",
with Johnny Winter. Somebody came and checked the GPS for the first 15
riders, to see if we had hit all check points. Earlier it was not necessary
to pass them close, within 3 kilometres used to be enough. I don't know what
the rules say now, but I do know I missed two yesterday. Hopefully they didn
't change the rules without informing all riders, but in this competition
one has to be prepared for anything.

I'm running out of time, because I want to close my eyes awhile before we
start on the next transport at 00:55, 345kms to the border of Mauretania.
After that there is a 701km long special stage, which will give the last
third of the field rubber wrists. Tomorrow will see some action, trust me.

Tomorrow I won't be able to write anything myself. Eva will get a telephone
report over satellite from me. I'm beginning to miss her. When I hear
Cadillac in the Swamps: "My babe she so nice and round, I crazy about my

Tom Warr
Team Bikermaniac
Great Falls, Montana USA

Tony Eeds

Godspeed Tony.
N. Texas SP
Jun 9, 2002
Stage Seven

Stage 7 - 7 January 2004 - TAN-TAN > ATAR
Liaison 345 km Special 701 km Liaison 9 km Total 1055 km

Imagine: after a rough day racing yesterday, there must have been some bike
maintenance. Do it, then leave at 1 am, ride 5 hours through the cold, grab
a quick breakfast, then set off over 500 miles of very rough desert, and
hope you finish while it's still light. Well, that was stage 7 of the

>From the KTM web page:
We want to offer our respect for anyone who has reached the finish at Atar
or is still to reach it throughout the night. On a day like this everyone is
a hero. The stage was extremely tough on the riders and tortured them beyond

If the schedule wasn't bad enough, Erg Oumaghawaba was placed at the end of
it all. The rim of the dunes are not really all that large, only about 10
to 30 meters, but they are facing in a direction that hides whatever looms
behind them to the riders. 150 km of these dunes. Probably impossible to
cross at night, too.

Alfie Cox: "I suspect that half of the drivers will drop out today. This
stage was extremely tough."

Fabrizio Meoni probably lost his chances for the title after a flat tire
cost him 2 hours. Isidre Esteve severely damaged his bike after a crash.
Richard Sainct finished the stage with some painful backache. Jean Brucy
also crashed.

Richard Sainct won the special. Second was Jean Brucy, third was Despres,
then Cox, Roma, Lundmark, Ullevalseter, and Australian privateer Caldecott
in 8th. In the new overall, Despres takes the lead ahead of Roma by 3min03
and Sainct by 3min21.

Richard Sainct (FRA - KTM, 1st) - 001
"I didn't expect it to go that well today. But in the sand, my arm is less
painful than on rocky paths. I was already tired this morning at the start.
Now I'm exhausted. My back is aching. I don't expect to see a lot of
competitors at the finish of the stage. Especially the privateers! I had
problems and I have quite some experience, those who don't have experience
will be in trouble."

Cyril Despres (FRA - KTM, 3rd) - 002
"We started in first positions. It was very difficult, very physical. From
the start, I was lost on a wrong track but I didn't panic. We managed to get
back on track but lost some energy. It was tough for us and we have good
bikes, know how to ride them well, had sufficient rest and have good
assistance whereas the privateers . . . This special will remain in the
history books. I can't remember riding such a tough one. . . Now, I'm just
glad to be here at the bivouac. To get some rest is the only thing important

At around km 580 Fabrizio Meoni (KTM 950, n°3) has suffered serious rear
tyre problems. He was given a spare tyre tube by David Casteu (Cagiva n°41).
He lost 2 hours on the leaders, and probably any chance of winning this
year's Rally.

"I had a bib mousse problem and once again I won't achieve a good result
this year. I was really motivated. Once again, it's a mechanical problem,
like last year. I don't have long before the end of my career and it could
be a sign saying "stop" ! After last year's Dakar, I found it hard to have
the will to start again. I told myself that if I won this year, I would
quit. If I didn't I would carry on for another year. Now I don't know. I
won't take a decision now. Tomorrow, I'll be back on my bike to try and have
fun, go at a good rhythm and especially finish in Dakar."

After leading the rally, Isidre Esteve Pujol (KTM n°19) had his bike quit at
km 650 with mechanical problems. The Spaniard had crashed earlier in the
day, and lost his navigation system. Apparently however, his Rally 660 had
suffered worse damage then it was assumed at first. The mechanics are
working feverishly to get the bike working again, though, like Meoni, his
chances for winning this year's rally have vanished.

Nani Roma had unique, Dakar-style adventures: " . . . the police stopped
me. They wanted my passport and 50 Euros. I started getting angry and took
off. They didn't catch me but I was rather worried because they had guns."

Alfie Cox (RSA - KTM, 4th) - 010
"Half of the field will never make it today ! It's impossible. Those who
will finish late won't see anything in the dark. This is the kind of day
that shows how hard the Dakar is."

>From KTM web page: Ralf Pariasek, physiotherapist, faces a lot of work.
Every one of the riders turned to him looking for help after reaching the

Well, poor them. Imagine being a privateer and not having a
"physiotherapist" to massage your aching muscles. This, and the horde of
professional mechanics and spare parts ensures the KTM factory riders will
win the rally each year.

Team Red Bull KTM USA: Scott Harden finished 18th, Larry Roeseler 19th, and
Paul Krause, on the other KTM 950 finished 26th, ahead of Meoni who was in
34th after his tire woes.

Yamaha Motor France's David Frétigné and his two-wheel-drive Yamaha WR450F
2-Trac, who stayed out of serious trouble to finish the stage in 16th place,
still the leading non-KTM in the race, 14th overall.

Frétigné: "Finally I've arrived! Today's special was really hard work. I
'managed' the kilometres and my motorcycle with great care - without
worrying about my results - and never went above 120 kph on the straights. .
. The soft dunes were pretty easy with the two-wheel drive system but I
nevertheless managed to get stuck once. When I did I simply got off the
bike, leant it over slightly, accelerated a little and out she came, with
absolutely no effort made on my part. It is clear that on this type of
special the 2-trac is a real bonus!"

Other privateer results:

Australian Andy Caldecott (KTM n°72) crossed the finish line in 9th - with a
broken ankle, according to some web sites. If true, he will have to
withdraw, which is way too bad, considering how well he has been doing,
currently 7th overall.

Charlie Raseau, privateer from San Francisco lost a few places after today's
stage, finishing 86th place overall. It took him 12 hours to finish the
stage, about 4 hours longer than the front runners. No masseauses waiting
for him at the bivouac. He's now 131st overall.

Bertil Marcusson, who rode his XR650 from Sweden to the starting line in
France, is still upright, listed as 89th in the overall standings. No sign
of Patsy Quick in the standings, nor of British team riders, Simon Pavey and
Nick Plumb on the BMW F650 GS Dakar motorcycles, as of this writing. The
two Canadian women, Maryline Lambelin and Marie-Christine Paré, competing on
Bombardier Quads are listed as withdrawn after stages 6 and 5, respectively.

No other info, but Raymond Loizeaux of France is riding a BMW R100 GS,
currently in 92nd overall.

Current overall standings:

1 002 DESPRES KTM 00' 00"
2 004 ROMA KTM 03' 03"
3 001 SAINCT KTM 03' 21"
4 010 COX KTM 1 " 05' 01"
5 009 BRUCY KTM 11' 26"
6 015 ULLEVALSETER KTM " 20' 14"
7 072 CALDECOTT KTM 1 " 23' 22"
8 008 DE GAVARDO KTM " 24' 47"
9 006 LUNDMARK KTM 29' 56"
10 045 GRAZIANI KTM 1h 06' 58"
11 023 CZACHOR KTM 1h 10' 35"
12 005 DE AZEVEDO KTM 1h 13' 21"
13 022 FLICK KTM 1h 15' 05"
14 025 HARDEN KTM 1h 22' 58"
15 012 FRETIGNE YAMAHA 1h 24' 54"
16 011 COMA KTM 1h 38' 46"
17 171 COAKER KTM 1h 40' 13"
18 003 MEONI KTM 1 1h 46' 18"
19 183 VINTERS KTM 1h 50' 43"
20 030 STANOVNIK KTM 2h 05' 59"
21 027 ALGAY KTM 2h 10' 04"
22 016 ROESELER KTM 2h 14' 38"
23 020 MARCHINI KTM 2h 18' 08"
24 017 KRAUSE KTM 2h 24' 51"
25 029 VERHOEF KTM " 2h 34' 57" 05' 00"
26 049 CHEVALLIER KTM 2h 37' 33"
27 031 RAYNAL KTM 2h 37' 39"
28 032 PEREZ KTM 2h 56' 50"
29 024 CHARBONNEL KTM " 2h 57' 29"
30 179 BORSI KTM 2h 58' 58"
31 021 PELLICER ALFER 3h 05' 10"
32 155 VERCOELEN KTM 3h 06' 13"
33 041 CASTEU CAGIVA 3h 06' 38"

Note the last rider, David Casteu, french, riding a Cagiva Elefant. Big
bike. He is the one that loaned Meoni a new rear inner tube.

In the cars, the Mitsubishi's of Masuoka and Peterhansel dueled with each
other, but were otherwise not challenged in today's stage. The Frenchman
eventually went on a wrong track while the Japanese flew to success.

Peterhansel: "We were focused and got lost. It's a pity. We had a good
start but
a bad finish".

Third place of the special went to Jean-Louis Schlesser (Schlesser Ford
n°200) on his two wheel drive buggy: "We managed to climb up the standings
but the two Mitsubishi cars are untouchable. It'll depend on their

De Mevius in the BMW was 4th, and Nissan newcomer Colin McRae was 5th.

Colin McRae (UK * Nissan, 5th) - 202
"Everything was going well at the beginning. We were in a group of four cars
: with Masuoka, Peterhansel and Schlesser, close to each other in the dunes.
Unfortunately in the last dune, we got stuck and lost around 20 minutes. The
speed of Peter in the dunes is unbelievable. I was surprised. For the moment
everything is possible. I'm still learning."

Gregoire De Mevius (FRA - BMW, 4th) - 212
"The Mitsubishi cars are just too fast. It isn't over for us but with the
experience that the two leading drivers have and the gap hey managed, we'll
have to wait for a big problem on their behalf. It's like last year. We
thought we could compete with them but we were naïve."

American, Mark Miller is in 31st overall, after finishing 51st on stage 7.
He is driving the Chevy ProTruck that has won the Baja 500 several times.

The fun continues tomorrow: The stage from Atar towards Tidjikja leads the
rally crews through sections where they have never been before. Competitors
familiar with navigating will have it easier to find the hidden passes and
favorable entrances into the field of dunes. The 8th special is 355 km long.

Tidjikja was founded in the XVIIth century by the Idoualis, that came from
the Ardrar. They made the city an important cross-road for trading and a
religious settlement. Today the town is divided in two on each side of the
Tidjikja oued.

Tom Warr

Tony Eeds

Godspeed Tony.
N. Texas SP
Jun 9, 2002
Before I get to today's stage, check this out, it's very cool:

David Casteu, 29 year old privateer, 30th overall, stopped to help Fabrizio
Meoni yesterday, on stage 7. Meoni had been waiting 1h15 for someone to
give him a tyre tube at km 580.

Casteau: "As a biker, I can't imagine not stopping. I hate the idea that
many didn't. I saw him far ahead and at first I thought he had fell, then I
saw pieces of bib mousse and immediately understood. Meoni told me to carry
on and not lose time. But I couldn't do that. He was devastated. In 5
minutes and with the help of Cyril Raynal who also stopped, the problem was
solved. Too bad I didn't get there earlier".

For many on the Dakar, Meoni is more than just a top rider. "I would have
done it for any other biker but Fabrizio is really a master, my hero. He
started as a privateer, like me. He has a bike shop, like me. But most of
all, he is very human. He's the only one that comes to see the privateers
after a stage and talks to us. We never see the others".

This state of mind is one of the reasons that push Casteu to ride the Dakar.
"When I go to the Morocco or Tunisia rallies, it's to win it (winner in
Tunisia in 2003). Here it's for the adventure". This year he even bought a
special bike for the Dakar. "First of all it's a Cagiva because I didn't
want to have a KTM like the others. But most of all, it's the bike that
belonged to Edi Orioli when he won the 95 rally. I payed 30 000 francs for
it and then added 20 000 to restore things. It's a 900cc that is perfect for
the race because it's solid. When you have no assistance it helps".

Stage Eight

Stage 8 - 8 January 2004 - ATAR > TIDJIKJA
Liaison 34 km Special 355 km Liaison 4 km Total 393 km

"This kind of stage must exist. The Dakar has to be difficult to remain a
legendary race."

Dakar race organizers like surprises. This was the first time the Rally was
run from Atar and Tidjikja. The sections of soft sand at the Ergs and the
rough sections of camel grass were quite difficult. But today, the most
difficult part of the stage was navigation.

New-age treachery mixes up the field of competitors

GPS means navigating with the help of dozens of satellites in space. GPS
points help the drivers to orientate and find their way through the desert.
Some experts claim that GPS is a good means for the race. However, it does
not substitute for looking into the road book or even at the landscape.

The first GPS point was about 120 kilometers into the stage. The riders
crossed a Wadi after 40 km. Those who kept heading directly towards the GPS
point missed the way out of the dryed-up river bed, ended up lost in a dead
end canyon. Those who followed the road books, and watched where they were
going, were able to find the exit from the Wadi. Interestingly devious of
the race organizers.

Cyril Despres got lost, and dropped from 1st to 24th overall:
"It was the worst day of my life. I had problems with my glasses so I
decided to stop but fell at a very slow pace. Nothing serious except that
with my knee I pulled the GPS connexion. I couldn't reconnect it, so I got
lost. Each time I saw a KTM rider I would follow him, but each time we got
lost again. That lasted 50kms. Because of that, I ran out of fuel, 1.2km
from refuelling. Luckily, someone helped me reconnect the GPS and gave me
fuel. There are days were everything goes wrong. It's also my fault. I never
should have followed the others."

Alfie Cox:
"****ing day. I followed Fabrizio and that turned out to be a huge
mistake." Meoni was lost, too.

Fabrizio Meoni:
"My trip broke two or three times. I don't understand why. I would repair it
and a few kilometres later, it would break again. Because of that, I got
lost in the wadi."

Nani Roma finishes 1st and now leads overall:
"From the start it was impossible to follow the tracks so you had to be very
good in navigation. I believe that a lot must have got lost before CP1. It
was good that I checked into my road book. I looked around and calmly tried
to navigate."

Jean Brucy:
"It was really difficult to find the way out of the wadi this morning. I was
lucky to be behind Sainct long enough because with the wind the tracks tend
to disappear. It's in that kind of situation where I see how important my
experience of the Dakar is. I know the area well now. It's good to be 3rd
overall, but I can very well be 10th tomorrow."

Richard Sainct:
"Navigation was extremely difficult. I turned around twice on a track
because I wasn't sure that I had found the right route." A sandstorm made
orientation even more difficult. "I constantly had dust in my eyes."

Dakar-beginner Scott Harden rode a remarkable race today. Trusting his good
old compass helped him to rank among the top riders. "I arrived in 6th
position and was simply surprised about such a good placement. When I wasn't
sure about the way I took out my compass and road book. I trusted them more
than my GPS. That's what helped me to get through fine."

Overall Standings:

Team Gauloises KTM France
001 Richard Sainct 2nd +8 min
002 Cyril Despres 7th +1hr 15 min
009 Jean Brucy 3rd +14 min

Gauloises KTM International
003 Fabrizio Meoni 13th +2hr 9min
007 Giovani Sala withdrew after stage 6
010 Alfie Cox 4th +51 min

Repson KTM Spain
004 Juan Roma 1st
011 Marc Coma 14th +2 hr 13 min
019 Esteve Pujol 63rd +10hr 31 min, including 1 hour penalty

Red Bull KTM USA
016 Larry Roeseler 24th +3hr 40 min
017 Paul Krause 20th +3hr 13 min
025 Scott Harden 9th +1hr 51 min


012 David Fretigne on the 2wd Yamaha, 15th +2hr 15 min

041 David Casteu, riding Cagiva 900 Elefant 34th +6hr 34 min

Team Farmerlips
006 Per Gunner Lundmark 6th +1hr, 15 min
015 Pal andedrs Ullevalseter 5th +1hr, 1 min

Sleepy Jings Madman Racing, San Francisco
115 Charlie Rauseo: Hasn't finished stage 8, as yet

Team Desert Rose, Great Britain
100 Patsy Quick: Hasn't finished stage 8, as yet
101 Clive Town: Hasn't finished stage 8, as yet

Dome BMW, Great Britain
074 Nick Plumb - Didn't start stage 8
075 Simon Pavey 85th 26hr 1 min, including 1 hour penalty

072 Andy Caldecott, Australian Privateer
Didn't start stage 8 - broken ankle in stage 7. Too bad, he was 6th at the

In the Cars:

Apparently, leader Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi n°201) also had difficult
navigation problems, and lost well over 1h30 on the special finishing in
12th spot. That allowed Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi n°203) to win. "We
had a relaxed rhythm, we knew that the others were behind so we controlled
the race".

Jutta Kleinschmidt (VW n°204) finished second, 29 minutes back. She who
started the stage with a brand new engine block (which may result in her
disqualification). Third position went to Gregoire De Mevius (BMW n°212)
ahead of Jean-Louis Schlesser (Schlesser Ford n°200)

Schlesser: "Anyhow, on this rally, only three drivers know how to navigate:
Jutta, Masuoka and Peter. All the others got lost, including myself and it
costs us 30min".

In the overall, Peterhansel is comfortably in the lead with over an hour on
De Mevius an 1h22 on Masuoka who eventually finished the stage in 7th spot
at 1h34min14.

Masuoka: "It's over. I can't fight for victory. It's now impossible to
catch Peterhansel. I'll fight for second place."

Gregoire De Mevius (FRA - BMW, 3rd) - 212
"It wasn't a special for me. I don't like driving in soft sand and wadis. I
like going fast. We did less kilometres today but almost have the same time
as yesterday. It was a nightmare to find the good track. . . This kind of
stage must exist. The Dakar has to be difficult to remain a legendary race."

After each of the last two stages there have been new leaders. Tomorrow this
could happen for a third time. Stage 9, the second part of a marathon-stage,
is the second longest special in this years Dakar rally, 739 km. The A.S.O.
also claims it to be the toughest stage. They also claim it is "full of
traps", and "there will be less GPS points than in the past."

The legendary route drives past Tichit, the famous elephant rock. It also
crosses the Enji-pass which had stopped almost all competitors due to a
sandstorm in 1985. We will wait in suspense what this special offers the
riders and their fans at home tomorrow. After hours of driving and riding,
fast tracks to head up to the Dhar, the competitors will finally get to
Nema, a traditional town, capital of Hodh ech-Chergui, in the middle of the
desert, surrounded by red soil and tiger bushes.

Tom Warr


Feb 9, 2000
cox has a great stage, is up to third.

Tony Eeds

Godspeed Tony.
N. Texas SP
Jun 9, 2002
ggoja: You are sooo welcome! Someday I must get cable. There is finally as of last week an operating TV in the house (haven't had one for the last 7~8 years) :laugh:

In any case, I give you ...

Stage Nine

Stage 9 - 9 January 2004 - TIDJIKJA > NEMA
Liaison 3 km Special 736 km Total 739 km

Yesterday's route was completely new to the competitors. Today, they rode a
legendary Dakar stage. However, knowledge of the route to Nema was of little
help, and there was no time or interest in the breathtaking scenery, like
the Elephant rock or the Enji passage. In past years, this 736 km was
divided into two stages, for 2004, it's all in one day. Add to that the
wind which must be getting on the nerves of many Dakar competitors, perhaps
forcing several to retire after bad falls


Red Bull KTM USA Team rider Scot Harden crashed and broke his anke, at CP1.
He was forced to withdraw from the race. Remember that Scott Harden was to
be team manager, but filled in at the last minute when Casey McCoy crashed
and broke his leg prior to the start of the Rally.

Erik Verhoef (KTM n°29) was also forced to quit after falling at km 125.

After crashing at around km 600, Galluoise KTM France Team rider Jean Brucy
(KTM n°9) was forced to withdraw from the race with a broken shoulder. "The
crash wasn't that bad at all. I simply fell in a stupid way." Brucy broke
his right collarbone. Marc Coma said about Jean Brucy: "I stopped to help
him get up. Jean complained about pains in his collarbone. It is probably
broken. At first he rode on. Only shortly afterwards I saw his emergency
signal go off."

There are only 210 remaining competitors, just over half of those who
started the Rally, in Clermont.


Cyril Despres and Alfie Cox took advantage of the longest special (736 km)
in this year's Dakar and gained time on the leaders. After finishing the
first part of the marathon-stage (that is, a stage without the support
trucks at the bivouac), both had arrived in a bad mood in Tidjikja
yesterday. Today they were going for it. Cyril Despres knew that he had to
make up leeway on this long and difficult stage if he wanted to keep a
minimal chance for the leadership in the overall standings. And today he has
managed to do so.

Despres claims the victory on this burdensome course. "It was hell ! Ten
hours on the bike, those behind will take twice as long! . . We then
entered a village and I decided to go on my own track. It was the good one,
the others were wrong. It's a satisfaction for me, I thought I didn't know
how to navigate. I'm reassured. There were beautiful landscapes. Between the
start this morning and the finish, it looked like we'd changed countries."

Alfie Cox finished 2nd and was able to close the gap on Roma who had lost
more than 26 minutes in the overalls. "I started 20 minutes after everyone.
However, when I made it to refuelling, they were all there. I caught them at
the Elephant rock and we then rode together. Cyril then took off. I enjoyed
the first part of the special."

Richard Sainct was 3rd: "I'm happy to have made it because I believe a lot
of competitors won't be here tonight. It really is a good Dakar, one of the

Joan Roma finished 4th, but remains 1st overall:
"Ten hours on the bike is not easy! The most important is to arrive. I still
took pleasure despite the length."

Meanwhile, Fabrizio Meoni had more technical problems, and ended up close to
one hour behind the leader: "At 200kms from here, the support for my
navigation instruments dismounted. I had to repair it on my own. The
vibrations were simply too much. I could not look into my road book any

The two private KTM riders from up north were performing really well today.
Pal-Anders Ullevalseter is in 5th and P.G. Lundmark arrived in an equally
great 6th place.

Overall Standings:

Team Gauloises KTM France
001 Richard Sainct 2nd +3 min
002 Cyril Despres 4th +45 min
009 Jean Brucy withdrew, broken collarbone in stage 9

Gauloises KTM International
003 Fabrizio Meoni 11th +2hr 43min
007 Giovani Sala withdrew after stage 6, broken ribs
010 Alfie Cox 3rd +28 min

Repson KTM Spain
004 Juan Roma 1st
011 Marc Coma 7th +2 hr 18 min
019 Esteve Pujol 33rd +10hr 26 min, including 1 hr penalty

Red Bull KTM USA
016 Larry Roeseler 16th +4hr 14 min
017 Paul Krause 22nd +5hr 35 min
025 Scott Harden withdrew, broken ankle in stage 9

>From Mike Sonzini of the DuST list: Harden's replacement as KTM Red Bull
team manager, Joe Barker is one of the great ambassadors for dual sport
riding in Utah. Looks like his job just got harder with Scott's injury.


Team Farmerlips
006 Per Gunner Lundmark 6th +1hr, 1 min
015 Pal andedrs Ullevalseter 5th +58 min

Yamaha France
012 David Fretigne on the 2wd Yamaha, 12th +2hr 57 min

Off Road Adventure
041 David Casteu, riding Cagiva 900 Elefant 28th +8hr 43 min

Privateer, works for Dutsche Bank
171 Andy Coaker, Australian, 24th, +6hr, 51 min

Sleepy Jings Madman Racing, San Francisco
Charlie Rauseo, Attorney at Law
"Everyday legal issues for those operating in the creative fields"
115 Charlie Rauseo: Listed as withdrawn after stage 8 - Bummer!

Team Desert Rose, Great Britain
100 Patsy Quick: Withdrawn after stage 8
101 Clive Town: Withdrawn after stage 8

Dome BMW, Great Britain
074 Nick Plumb - Didn't start stage 8
075 Simon Pavey 86th after stage 8

Rally Raid UK
170 Bertil Marcusson XR650, he rode to the start of the rally, in Clermont
from Sweden
80th after stage 8

038 Raymond Loizeaux, France, on a BMW R100 GS: withdrawn after stage 7

Some more comments from David Fretigne about his 2WD Yamaha WR450: "The
bike is performing really well and we are getting lots of feedback. This is
the first time we have used the bike in this spec and even with the extra
weight it is extremely well balanced. In the short European stages the
two-wheel-drive system gave excellent grip out of the slow corners and in
the soft sand it is brilliant. Our bike has a shorter wheelbase than that of
our rivals so, in theory, it should not be as stable. That's not proved to
be the case though as the bike has been rock solid over the dunes. I have
only been stuck once but even then I just leaned the bike over, touched the
throttle and the front wheel pulled her out."

"Yesterday we did learn something new about the 2-Trac system though. When
the front wheel spins in the sand it gives us a false reading on the
tripmeter and, by the time I got to the refuelling checkpoint at 258km, my
trip was over reading by 40 kilometres. We didn't spot this problem on the
Shamrock Rally because there was much less sand and a lot more GPS points."

Christian Caillon, Frétigné's mechanic, added: "The bike can stand these
Dakar stages without any problems. As with the engine, we have been checking
and changing the oil in the 2-Trac system every day and it too has given us
no problems. We took the precaution of changing the engine before David left
for yesterday's fast marathon stage and while he is away we'll take the
motor apart and see if there is any wear."

In the car race, Hiroshi Masuoka (Mitsubishi n°201) took advantage of his
12th place in the starting order to storm to victory. On the 736kms of the
special, the Japanese overtook 11 cars (gaining 2 minutes per car, or 22
minutes). Only Stephane Peterhansel (Mitsubishi n°203) was able stay ahead
of Masuoka until the finish, conceding 18min32 on his team mate and rival.
"My time is not as good as Masuoka's but it was important to make it here in
one piece. We didn't drive together. I only saw him behind me at the end".

The third car of the special, Jutta Kleinschmidt's Volkswagen (n°204) made
it to the bivouac over 45min later. Fourth was Jean-Louis Schlesser
(Schlesser Ford n°200) at 1h11min18, ahead of Alphand (BMW n°207) at 1h28.

Meanwhile, the Nissan cars struggled with mechanical problems. From km 368,
Colin McRae (Nissan n°202) and Ari Vatanen (Nissan n°205) had to cope with,
respectively gearbox and clutch malfunctions. They were still expected late
in the evening.

In the overall, Masuoka moves up to second place but remains 1h04 behind
"Peter". Third is Schlesser at 2h22min28.

>From Yamaha web page!:

In the car event, which runs on the same route as the bikes, Dakar legend
Stéphane Peterhansel leads by over an hour in his Mitsubishi. The Frenchman
won the rally won a record breaking six events during the 1990s on the
Yamaha Motor France-prepared Super Tenéré machines before switching to four

No racing for 3 days: The next 2 stages have been cancelled by the
officials due to "political difficulties". French and Mali's authorities
have asked the A.S.O. to avoid racing in the north of Mali. There have not
been given any more detailed explanations to the teams during briefing. Due
to security threats on the rally, the organisation has indeed decided to
cancel the upcoming two stages.

About 800 kilometers are taken out of the valuation. Tomorrow's stage
Nema-Mopti was to have extremely difficult navigation. And, the "toughest
stage", Mopti-Bobo Diouiasso on Sunday will also not happen.

Tomorrow the motor bikes are being loaded on trucks and the riders will fly
to Bamako, Mali's capitol. On Sunday they will go on to Bobo Dioulasso.
Monday is the scheduled rest day. On Tuesday they will start as planned on
the 12th stage from Dioulasso to Bamako.

Winfried Kerschhaggl, KTM's head of marketing: "After three difficult
successive stages the harshness of the rally has become obvious today. We
are talking about strains that brought the riders to their limits. Most of
the private riders overextended themselves. The official's decision to
neutralize the next two days is only right. It will keep up the standards of
the race."

Sainct: "This is a bad decision for me. The stages will be missing for my
results. I cannot make up time because during these two days and I would
have had chances to do so."

Despres: "Concerning the stage cancellation, I think it's a shame that
sport is taken in hostage. The Dakar is our most important event. We've been
thinking about it for months and now it's like if the rally was cut into
two. The rally is also an endurance race and I'm disappointed because I'm in
top shape and I won't be able to defend my chances properly in the next two

Meoni: "Concerning the cancellation of the two specials? I have my problems
and the organisers have theirs. I take the decisions as they come. With all
the problems I have had, I don't look at the overall but of course I would
have preferred being on my bike, especially because tomorrow's stage looked
great and Sunday's one with no GPS could have been interesting."

"This decision has been taken in accordance with the Mali and French

Finally, here is an interesting from CNN about the Rally, focusing on the
"local color" along the route. Thanks to STeve Duncun the link:

Tom Warr