Dakar Rally called off

2008-01-05 00:00

SEVEN-time Dakar Rally contestant, KZN-based Alfie Cox, said the cancellation of the Dakar Rally is likely to jeopardise the future of the race.

Cox, who runs the Pietermaritzburg- and Pinetown-based Alfie Cox Racing, which deals in KTM motorcycles, said: “The race is now in jeopardy. I hear they might move it elsewhere.”

Cox said that threats of terrorism and cancellations have always been part of the Dakar Rally. “I hope the organisers will be able to sort the problem that has always been there in these militant countries,” he said.

The organisers of the 2008 Dakar Rally announced yesterday that the endurance race has been cancelled due to security concerns in Mauritania, following the murder of French tourist couple on December 24.

Cox last rode his KTM motorcycle in 2004, after which he signed a two-year contract with BMW SA. In 2005, he rode the BMW X3 during the race, but the contract abruptly ended. “It’s really not easy to return to the race after one has quit, but I’m hoping to ride again as soon possible with a group of some friends,” he said.

“One just cannot describe the atmosphere being there at the race. It’s tough and one of the biggest human adventures. I have always gotten good results there,” he said.

Cox, who turns 45 tomorrow, won 2004 Class D South African Off Road Championship: Motorvehicles, winning four of seven races. In 2000, he came second overall in the Optic Rally and third overall in Master Rally: Paris to Istanbul, and in 2001 he came fifth overall, with two stage wins in the Paris-Dakar Rally.

This year’s rally would have started today and run until January 20. The route would have been more than 9 000 km long.

Before the announcement, Cox had predicted that this year’s race would be won by either Marc Coma of Spain or Cyril Despres of France.

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