– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

2006 Dakar Rally Again Combines Triumph and Tragedy

Spanish KTM Racer Marc Coma Won
the 2006 Dakar Rally

The 2006 running of the famed Dakar rally came to a close yesterday, and like the 2005 edition, it was marked with both triumph and tragedy. While last year saw two riders killed during the rally, this year yet another competitor was lost: Australian racer Andy Caldecott, who was killed in a crash midway through the race.

The rally was marred by more tragedy just before the finish, however, as two young African spectators were killed over the course of the final weekend, both children being hit by rally vehicles. In respect for the deaths of the two spectators, rally officials declined to score the final stage of the rally on Sunday, and thus results were calculated based on the standings at the end of Stage 14 (Saturday).

Australian KTM Racer Andy
Caldecott Was Killed In Dakar

In the end it was Spanish rally veteran Marc Coma (KTM) who came out on top, beating out top contenders like last year’s champ Cyril Despres (KTM), who was injured in a crash early on but soldiered through to finish second. Giovanni Sala (KTM) took the final spot on the podium, narrowly beating American KTM racer Chris Blais.

Another American racer, Jonah Street, was impressive as well, finishing 17th in his first ever Dakar rally. Street was aboard the smaller 525cc KTM race bike, while the other KTM riders were mounted on the bigger 660cc machines.

It is unfortunate that the Dakar rally was struck with multiple tragedies again this year, as the organizers had instituted numerous new policies intended to enhance safety, including a mandatory 100mph speed limit enforced through on-bike GPS tracking systems, which also help officials quickly locate downed riders. In light of the three fatalities which occurred in 2006, it is likely that the organizers will institute additional safety measures for next year’s rally.

For more information check out the official Dakar rally web site.

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