Dakar Rally cancels 12th stage - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dakar Rally cancels 12th stage

13/01/2005 05:24:37 AM Comments (0)

Race organisers cancelled the 12th stage of the Dakar Rally's motorcycle event Wednesday at the request of riders mourning the loss of Italian motorcyclist Fabrizio Meoni, who died the day before in a crash.

Cars and trucks will still compete in the leg, which runs from Kiffa, Mauritania, to Mali's capital, Bamako, where the riders will be flown.

Austrian motorcycle maker KTM urged its riders to pull out of the race after the accident, but said it was up to individual drivers, teams and their sponsors to make that decision.

KTM lost another of its best drivers, Richard Sainct, in September after an accident during the Rally of the Pharaohs in Egypt.

In the wake of two such accidents in "only a few months, the manufacturer will be contemplating its future support for the rally sport," KTM said in a statement from its headquarters in Austria.

Meoni, 47, won the Dakar motorcycle title in 2001 and 2002. He had been in second place overall in this year's race behind France's Cyril Despres before crashing between the Mauritanian towns of Atta and Kiffa.

Meoni's death came a day after Spanish motorcyclist Jose Manuel Perez died in a hospital in Spain from injuries sustained in a crash last Thursday on the rally's seventh stage, also in Mauritania.

More than two dozen people have died in conjunction with the rally since it was first held in 1979. The event involves separate races for cars, trucks and motorcycles.

The Dakar Rally covers 8,956 kilometres from Barcelona, Spain, to Dakar, Senegal, including 5,431 kilometres of competitive special stages. The race ends on Jan. 16.

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