DAKAR UPDATE - STAGE 122005-01-12 05:12
January 12, 2005
Stage 12, originally scheduled as a 585km Special, has been canceled due to the death of renowned KTM rider, Fabrizio Meoni.
The motorcycle riders of the 2005 Dakar Rally have expressed their wishes to withdraw from stage 12, and the Dakar organization has complied with their request. All motorcycle racers will be flown from Kiffa to Bamako.
Scot Harden, Manager of the U.S. Red Bull KTM Dakar Team called to check in today and said, "I'm in Bamako. They just flew all the motorcycle racers in, canceling Stage 12 out of respect for Fabrizio [Meoni]. It's been tough around here...Fabrizio was a very special guy and well-respected. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his wife and two children."
He also added, "The team is still holding up really well. Chris [Blais] and Kellon [Walch] have exceeded everyone's expectations. They have been riding with intelligence, determination and pure skill in these conditions, and they have impressed a lot of established people over here.
Unfortunately, Kellon had electrical problems with the bike and it caused him to lose a lot of time. He fixed it on his own and now sits in the twenty-first overall position. Chris is doing an outstanding job as he is in ninth.
We're out of the sand now...going into the jungle and villages. We have to be careful because there is danger in every corner. We have three more days of hard competition, but we'll just take it one day at a time."
Stage 13 will be from Bamako to Kayes, and will host a 370km Special.
Source: KTM North America, Inc.
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