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KTM Fields Strong US Team For 2006 Dakar Rally

Many of you may remember KTM’s Dakar Challenge, where young American riders competed to earn the chance to race the Dakar Rally on a KTM factory-supported team. The riders who were chosen in that search are now preparing to compete in the 2006 Dakar rally.

The American team this year will consist of Chris Blais, whose recent solo effort in the Baja 1000 ended in a fourth place finish in the pro class aboard his big KTM 620, and Andy Grider, who is replacing the injured Kellon Walsh.

According to KTM, the American team’s goal is to put at least one rider on the podium in this incredibly challenging rally. The American riders will face tough competition from the more experienced European racers, but both Blais and Grider now have several years of rally experience under their belts.

Anything can happen in a multi-week race like Dakar, which this year will cross six countries and cover more than 5,600 miles. After taking a while to learn the ropes of “rally raid” type racing, this might be the year for these young American riders to surprise the Europeans.

The 2006 Dakar rally will begin in Portugal on December 31 and finish in Dakar on January 15. Check back with us to see how the race plays out.

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