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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

MZANSI BIKE TEAM TO RACE DAKAR 2013

The all-South African Broadlink KTM Rally Team of Darryl Curtis and Riaan van Niekerk will contest the 2013 Dakar Rally in South America in January.  They have been included in an official KTM support team of four riders to the factory team of former Dakar Rally winners Cyril Despres of France and Marc Coma of Spain and their ‘water carriers’, Spanish riders Reuben Faria and Juan Pedrero.


The South Africans will ride KTM 450 Rally motorcycles supplied by KTM in Austria.  The other members of their team are Johnny Aubert, the French multiple world enduro champion, and a rider still to be announced.

Curtis finished a remarkable 22nd in the 2012 Dakar Rally on a privately-entered KTM after starting 144th in his first attempt at the world’s longest and toughest motorcycle race.  Van Niekerk will be competing in his first Dakar.

“Competing in my first Dakar was an awesome experience,” said the 41-year-old Curtis from Johannesburg.  “Thanks to the generous support of Broadlink and KTM I was able to arrange a package deal through Alfie Cox for a rented bike and service backup.

“This time we have a bigger and better organised team thanks to the continued support of Broadlink and KTM, with additional support from Emperors Palace, Grindrod Logistics, MTN and Leader Tread.

“To be able to compete in the Dakar Rally has been a life-long dream of mine,” said Van Niekerk.  “Having competed professionally for the last 20 years in South Africa and internationally, it is now time to live out my dream.”

Both South African riders have impeccable credentials to take on the 15-day 9 000-kilometre marathon race through Peru, Argentina and Chile.  The start is in Lima, Peru on January 5 and the finis is in Santiago, Chile on January 20. 

They are multiple South African off road and enduro champions and are leading competitors in world championship extreme races like Red Bull Romaniacs, Erzberg Rodeo, Hell’s Gate, The Tough One and the Roof of Africa.

Curtis and the 36-year-old Van Niekerk recently competed in the Marrakech Rally in Morocco on rented KTM 450 machines as their first training run for the 2013 Dakar Rally.  Curtis won the event, while Van Niekerk had trouble with his bike from the start, but still managed to finish in sixth place.  Their preparation will also include the SA championship Winterberg Enduro in the Eastern Cape on Friday and Saturday, sand dune training in Namibia in September, international Dakar Lite rally events in October and November and the Roof of Africa extreme rally in November.
 
STORY COURTESY OF PETER BURROUGHES COMMUNICATIONS

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