Mark Kayira is at Dakar now, and sporting his 1998 Oz ISDE shirt
Sitting here at my computer I am starting to think of the 2012 Dakar as being in the home stretch. But as a racer I remember each year at the ISDE and how these days are the most nerve racking. You feel so close to the end, you have worked so hard and all you want is for nothing to go wrong before the finish line.
Today 108 motorcycles took the start. The route is a 534 km special stage with a transfer section in the middle of it. Total transfer mileage for today is 171 km. It is also a marathon stage today, that means that the riders will not have the assistance of their mechanics and crews until the finish. Typically they have a mid point check where the service crews are ready for them. A mechanical problem today will really hurt a rider.
Check 4- The first 30 riders have reached check 4, the end of the first section and they will now start the transfer that is in the middle of todays stage. Here is how they came in; Farres, Aubert, Despres, Zanol, Coma, Ullevalseter, Viladoms, Barreda, Svitko, Verhoeven. It looks like a number of the riders made navigation errors already this morning, so some of the later riders, like Aubert have caught up with them. Faria and Pain have both had to stop and work on bike issues, but are back going.
Stage Finish – Top 14 riders are just in. Despres takes back a couple more minutes today. I have been watching Johnny Aubert closely for the whole event. I wondered a little early on, as he was consistently back in the standings, but he has finished higher every day, with 4th today being his best results so far. Maybe he is going to be a future force in the Dakar. Check back tonight and we will get all overall standing caught up.