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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I never realized how dangerous this race (and this type of racing) is. The day before this Jose-Manuel Perez died from injuries he sustained in a crash during stage 7. Another great, Richard Sainct, died from crash injuries during the Pharaoh Rally in Egypt just four months earlier. In the Dakar’s 27 year history 22 riders have died.



I'm not getting some perverse thrill out of these stats or trying to defame the sport. I respect rally racing and the Dakar in particular for being one of the most unique and challenging races of all types of motor sports. However, do you have to step back and ask what’s wrong where a competitor dies nearly every year of the event?
 

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Negative. Here's a clip from the Rider Report.com website:



Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2004 -- Fabrizio Meoni has died while competing in the Dakar Rally. According to the organizers, Meoni crashed about 6 miles into the 11th stage, a 431-mile stretch between Atar and Kiffa in Mauritania, just after Check Point 1. A medical team arrived by helicopter 15 minutes later, but Meoni died less than hour after the crash.



v2-90

 

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Meoni and Sainct were two of the very best. A gaping hole has been torn in the fabric of the off-road racing community. To all who new them, I offer my deepest sympathy. For those who now drop out of the race, I offer my understanding and for those who continue on, I offer my best wishes.
 

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I’ve never heard of Fabrizio Meoni, and I have just the most vague idea of where he died. And, Some people might think that it's a shame, dying in such a remote and desolate land while competing in such an obscure race. So, while my heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved him, part of me is amazed at his luck. Because, he passed from this world while doing what he loved.
 

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I was stunned and saddened to read this today. I have been a fan of Fabrizio for many years and will miss him. I wish the best for his family.



KTM is reconsidering their position in regards to rally racing. I feel it would be a huge disrespect to Sainct and Meoni if they abanded their effort after they gave their lives to the sport. It's a hard race, everyone who enters it knows this. Some things are worth doing simply because they're so hard.
 

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There are usually two or three deaths each year at the Isle of Man, from what I understand, but nobody is asking what's wrong with that event......I suppose it's obvious, they're all certifiable......One of the videos about Leoni shows another rider commenting that he was riding behind Leoni, and they weren't really travelling that fast, the crash is somewhat inexplicable....accidents happen.
 

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I agree with you. It seems very odd to me that KTM is so quick to pull the plug on Dakar participation. I doubt that anybody goes into the Dakar rally with too many illusions, and I think it minimizes the accomplishments of these and other great racers who have gone before to simply retreat in the face of these events.
 

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Are you kidding? The Dakar rally is not by any stretch of the imagination "an obscure race". It's a huge event that people around the world follow. Just because Americans don't know anything about it doesn't mean that it's obscure.
 

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I read about this yesterday. Very, very sad. And while I don't necessarily agree with KTM's suggestion that all of their riders and crew withdraw from the Dakar (I don't think Meoni would have wanted that), I do give them credit for thinking of something other than publicity and money.



R.I.P. Fabrizio
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was surprised at reading about KTM's thoughts of quiting Dakar too. I think they are in a devestated state of mind and could change their outlook when they've had more time to come to grips with this. I'm sure the team members are very close and losing two of your greatest riders and friends in a period of a few months has a dramatic affect on you.



Like you say, it's a hard race. There are no lack of willing participants. I imagine the KTM riders would find another ride if KTM pulls out of rally racing. One of my favorite scenes in the movie Le Mans is when Steve McQueen's ex wife (I think) who is the current wife of a racer who was just killed in a crash is distraught and asking him why they race. All he could say was racers live for the next race, everything in between is just killing time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm not really advocating it either. But I have to admit it does stir my curiosity about why. In the end I'd think I'd discover what I already know, it's rough terrain, fast speeds, fatigue, and a grueling environment. It takes a real adventurer and competitor to subject themself to that. If this was an event held in the U.S. I imagine there would be a big uproar and the safety nazi's and regulators would try to step in. Someone would be looking for someone to sue. Some people are built for living their life taking big risks, we all have our personal threshold. Dakar is a venue that's not for the faint of heart.



Certifiable is probably the case. I read an article in CW on Irish road racing and it is insane. 150 mph down narrow bumpy country roads two feet away from a barrier or a fence. Spectartors lined up just a few feet off the road. No room for error there.
 

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I think KTM is the last manufacturer to give significant factory support to the Dakar rally. If they do pull out it will not bode well for the future of the event. I'm not quite so sure their team members would be able to find another ride. The privateer route is a bit pricey.
 

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Motorcycle racing is by nature a dangerous sport. We had an AHRMA dirt tracker die in a race recently. Last year we had a roadracer die. Two years ago a local young MXer died in a practice sessiom in West Va. We all know the risk and choose to participate or not based on our risk assessment anf faith in our ability to manage that risk(or not). As long as the organizers of the event are doing the best they can to mitigate the risk,the race should go on. DAKAR is the single biggest offroad event in the world .it is the motorized offroaders equivalent of the Tour de France. This tragedy should not cause folk to consider dropping it.
 

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God speed to him, and my sympathies to his family and friends.

If KTM pulls out of rally races, I'll guaranty its an MBA/Insurance/public image decision. Which would tick me off some, because KTM has been one of those companies I've admired, because they did not go with the MBA/insurance/public image, mode of operation.
 

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Yeah, I'm pissed off too. Last year the coverage on Speed was very good, for every stage. This year OLN (Outdoor Living Network) was supposed to cover it instead, and they had some pre-Dakar programming about KTM selecting a team of American riders in a reality-TV-style show. Then it turned out that they'll have just a couple hours of coverage AFTER the race is over! Idiots.
 
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