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Old 03-14-2014, 05:13 AM   #211
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“All change at the top... briefly.”

Throughout the week the Tuareg Rallye has been dominated by the Dutch duo of father and son Mark and Rob Smits, who, typically riding together as a team, have taken the top two steps of the Podium each day.

Unfortunately, current leader the overall standings, #21 Mark Smits blew his engine on the penultimate stage (Day 6), the result being 4 hours of time penalties for failing to finish the stage.

The result being that Mark is now 3rd in the overall standings, while his son Rob (#20) is still clinging onto the top spot. However, there was a further complication to their dominant campaign yesterday when young Maikel Verade (#51) who has been right up there with the Smits all week, took the stage win from Rob by just 2 seconds on the penultimate day.

The stage win is all the more impressive since this is also Maikel’s first rally participation.

Maikel and Rob will lead the pack away this morning on the final short (60km) dune stage, although with a comfortable lead over second, it looks like Rob Smits will romp home with the win this year, while Mark will have to settle for 3rd - as he is now an hour behind Maikel in the overall standings.

Despite the short loop stage appearing to be little more than a formality, the Orga traditionally include a number of secret (unmarked in the road-book) checkpoints, to ensure riders don’t cut the course in an effort to improve their time/position - so right up to the wire, (2h per missed checkpoint) penalties can have a huge effect on the final results.

To further add to the drama on the last day, while the overall result is perhaps assured, the daily stage win award is still likely to be fiercely contested, with a number of riders keen to show they have what it takes in the dunes.

Three contenders who are likely to make their mark today are British rider # 59 Richard Main, who put in a storming performance on the long dune day stage 4, while compatriot #58 Chris Green has been a contender all week on his naily old XR600 (he can make that thing fly!), and who finished an excellent 3rd on the stage yesterday. We also can’t discount Australian rider #22 Ben Young, who is very much at home in the sand, and currently 7th in the overall standings.

Finally, we also have a wild card. While Swedish rider #46 Stefan Andersson had to withdraw yesterday with broken ribs after an accident, his mechanic this year (and general Tuareg Rallye wonder-boy) Carl Hagenblad has convinced the Orga to let him ride Stefan’s bike during the final stage, and is likely to shake things up considerably, whether or not the Smits decide to take things easy!

#20 Rob Smits has been flying all week:


#58 Chris Green is also a contender for today's stage win:


As is Aussie #22 Ben Young:



#51 Maikel Verkade stage winner from yesterday, and 2nd overall:


Jx

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Old 03-14-2014, 05:16 AM   #212
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Tuareg Rally Report - Day 6 (Thursday 13th March 2014) - #47 Tony Landh

Profi Moto class: 260 kms - 30% hard piste, 50% sand piste, 20% dunes.

“Safe and sure”


With a wet and windy start to the day, Tony felt he would be able to use his experience racing back home in Sweden to his advantage here in the Tunisian desert.

“The day and conditions seem to have payed out well for me” Says Tony “I have managed to stay ahead of the riders [close] behind me, and increase the gap by a comfortable margin” - indeed he is now 20 minutes in front of the 7th placed rider in the overall standings.

Regarding the weather conditions, Tony was suitably upbeat too “The wet sand was perfect” he says “There was a crust on top, so if you picked your own lines, you could ride it easily” he explains. “It was absolutely fantastic sometimes” he smiles “You could ride the dunes in smooth rhythm, like a roller coaster... although I admit there was a couple of times that I crashed when I got a little too optimistic perhaps!”

“I found it was the wind [more than the rain] that was difficult today” he continues “There was a long open section where you couldn’t stand up, as the wind just blew you across the track - that was tough... “Also if you tried to jump [in the dunes], the wind would just take the bike sideways” he adds.

“Unfortunately my friend Stefan (who at the start of the penultimate day was only 1 minute behind him) had a bad crash today, and has had to withdraw from the race” he continues “But ultimately my strategy seems to have worked well this year - I will be very happy indeed if I can retain 6th in the overall standings at the end of tomorrow” he smiles “That would be perfect for me!”

ends.

Stage result: day 6/7: 6th (6h33m)

Overall position: day 6/7: 6th

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Old 03-14-2014, 05:17 AM   #213
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Tuareg Rally Report - Day 6 (Thursday 13th March 2014) - #317 Paul Castle

Profi Moto class: 260 kms - 30% hard piste, 50% sand piste, 20% dunes.

“Anyone can ride fast - the trick is to ride fast, and not crash!”


Despite the wet start and wind throughout the day, with the end of the rally tantalizingly close now, Paul & teammate Gabriel put in another solid performance, maintaining their positions in the overall standings.

Although they finished the penultimate stage together, the timecard procedure means Paul and Gabriel have effectively swapped places in the overall standings.

“As the rally has gone on, you can begin to understand how the more you do this [rallying], the better you get.” Paul begins “At first we were being passed by everyone, but while we’re not perhaps going appreciably faster now due to tiredness, we are certainly riding far more confidently through each stage.” I think if we were to continue to ride more and more events, we would certainly improve our results - already I feel able to tackle the terrain much more aggressively than I thought [ever] possible at the beginning of the week.”

“For example there was a moment today when a couple of riders had got between Gabe and I” he continues “But I was confident enough to really put the hammer down and get past them - although I admit I did then almost lose it [in a big way] when I hit a ground-wave section - my arms and legs flying everywhere! - but the difference was, I was able to stay on the bike and just carry on...”

Togged up in wet weather gear for the beginning of the stage, Paul elected to wear his ‘Wales specification’ Gortex jacket that provided excellent protection early on, but soon proved far too warm as the day progressed “All of a sudden we were out of the wind, in the dunes, and almost immediately I started to suffer from heat exhaustion” he explains “My jacket was too big and bulky to stow in my rucksack comfortably, so I ended up having to zip-tie it to the back of the bike” he grins. Fortunately the loop format of the stage meant he was ultimately able to leave it with his service team at the refuel checkpoint.

“Today’s stage felt like they [the Orga] had put in a lot of tricky navigation and technical terrain to really test you... There were lots of dunes, the bikes were boiling over again - and even towards the end of the day, there was no let up - even though you were starting to feel exhausted, they continued to push you... I was begging for a nice smooth track!” he laughs.

Despite their obvious tiredness, Paul was still enthusiastic, and perhaps even a little despondent that the rally was almost at an end - “I did wonder [on the way back to the bivouac] if I could actually manage to ride ten days for example” he smiles “Then again, I’m actually having trouble picking up my pint this evening because my hands hurt so much... so maybe not!”

ends.

Stage result: day 6/7: 25th (8h01m)

Overall position: day 6/7: 23rd

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Links: www.dirtpunk.co.uk www.zenoverland.com
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Old 03-14-2014, 05:19 AM   #214
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Tuareg Rally Report - Day 6 (Thursday 13th March 2014) - #318 Gabriel Bolton

Profi Moto class: 260 kms - 30% hard piste, 50% sand piste, 20% dunes.

“If you were stuck out there alone, there is a chance noone would ever find you!”


Despite the wet start and wind throughout the day, with the end of the rally tantalizingly close now, Paul & teammate Gabriel put in another solid performance, maintaining their positions in the overall standings.

Although they finished the penultimate stage together, the timecard procedure means Paul and Gabriel have effectively swapped places in the overall standings.

“I think we rode pretty much the whole stage well today” he begins “Our navigation was pretty much spot on, and there were no real dramas - we just kept a steady pace and ploughed on - as we intended [all along] really.”

“I still think if we’re going to finish reasonably well, then it will be by default rather than actually being good!” he offers “We intended to play it slow and steady, and let everyone else make the mistakes, rather than try and push [by riding faster] to improve our result.”

It was clear that Gabriel was now feeling the physical effects of racing in tough conditions for six continuous days now “I think the Rally deserves it’s reputation as being a real challenge” he begins “Initially I felt the terrain wasn’t as technical as I’d perhaps expected, but then you couldn’t possibly ride extreme enduro style terrain for this many days, or you’d be shot to pieces in no time” he suggests.

“None of the individual sectors were as extreme as I imagined - the rocky passes for example, and even the sand dunes I found kind of manageable and not too draining - but rather it was the cumulative effort of putting all those together day after day after day.”

“All things considered I think we’ve done reasonably well - it’s very different to the sort of riding we usually do.” The fact we’ve been able to stay in the Profi class and feel comfortable there I feel is a huge achievement” he adds. “Ultimately I’ll be really pleased if we can finish the last day without any time penalties - since other than the Star Wars day (which in 2013 was only 3 laps, which they achieved) if we’d ridden last year, we would have finished the whole event penalty free.”

Gabe summarises the penultimate stage “Today it didn’t really feel like a race at all - it was just the two of us, out there in the wilderness - noone else in sight, not even any evidence of other people... just us, slogging our way across the desert. “I see now why the Orga insist on you carrying [safety] flares - if you were stuck out there alone, there is a good chance noone would ever find you.”

ends.

Stage result: day 6/7: 27th (8h02m)

Overall position: day 6/7: 24th

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Links www.zenoverland.com : www.dirtpunk.co.uk
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:48 AM   #215
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:35 AM   #216
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Oh... my... LORD!!!

If he's in such bad shape that he is accepting medical treatment from Doctor Mitch... then the poor bugger must be in a bad way!!!
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:56 AM   #217
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Looks like whatever thye've got him on is working
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:35 AM   #218
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Final results have been posted... Moto Profi overall:

1st: #20 Rob Smits

2nd:#51 Maikel Verkade

3rd: #21 Mark Smits


6th: #47 Tony Landh

7th: #22 Ben Young

13th: #43 Chris Barwick

15th: #59 Richard Main

16th: #58 Chris Green

20th: #37 Chris Cork

22nd: #317 Paul Castle

23rd: #318 Gabriel Bolton


Day results Stage 7:

1st: Mark Smits

2nd: Maikel Verkade (+6 seconds!)

3rd: Mark Smits*

6th: Richard Main

8th: Tony Landh

12th: Ben Young

20th: Paul Castle

20th: Gabriel Bolton

*Technically Carl Hagenblad actually came 3rd today, but his time wasn't counted as he isn't entered in the competition ;o)

Well done everyone!

Jx
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Old 03-14-2014, 05:12 PM   #219
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Gongratulations to all the boys and girls, it has been a very nice race to follow. Big round of applause to Jenny




































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Old 03-14-2014, 05:16 PM   #220
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Alessio's
This was Alessio's fifth time in Tuareg... His photos are always an inspiration








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Old 03-14-2014, 05:16 PM   #221
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Yellow Van

How did the yellow VW van do??
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Old 03-14-2014, 05:21 PM   #222
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Orga's site













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Old 03-14-2014, 05:22 PM   #223
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Tuareg Rally Report - Day 7/finish (Friday 14th March 2014) - Team Dirtpunk/ZenOverland - #317 Paul Castle & #318 Gabriel Bolton

Profi Moto class: 60 kms - 70% sand piste, 30% dunes.

“I just can’t wait for the next one!” - Paul

“Its a fantastic feeling!” - Gabe


Despite the final stage being merely 60kms long in total, the last day of the Tuareg Rallye saw Team Dirtpunk/ZenOverland riders Paul and Gabriel snatch another place each in the overall standings. Riding together as a team the whole week, ultimately Paul finished just a few seconds ahead of Gabriel to claim 22nd and 23rd respectively in their first desert rally!

“We nailed it!” exclaims Paul “Or rather I nailed myself!” he reveals, describing how much they were enjoying the final stage before he fell badly and damaged his ribs. “We were going flat out on the first lap, thinking this is great - only two more hours to go! - when suddenly I hit some soft sand the bike stopped dead... I went flying into the handlebars, then hit my head on the floor - saw stars - I really feel I’ve broken something” he winces.

Adrenaline meant he jumped straight back on the bike and continued, but he admits they had no choice but to ride the second lap much slower as the pain set in. “I was so worried when it happened” says Gabe “I could see how much he was hurting, and kept asking him all through the second lap ‘are you sure you’re ok?’” Paul nods “I think I’m really going to have to get it checked out* [with the medics] back at the hotel” he groans.

Despite Paul’s injuries, the pair were elated by their collaborative success. “It’s a fantastic feeling” says Gabe with a huge smile “The best thing is we’ve finished the event, we’re still in one piece - and so are the bikes... That’s all we ever aimed for to be honest, and the fact we’ve managed to stay in the Profi class, and actually do reasonably well too is a huge bonus!”

“It’s funny to think at the beginning of the event, we were so worried about entering the Profi class” says Paul “We felt we’d most likely have to change to the Amateur class after the first day or two just to survive...” and Gabriel agrees: “I think we’d have been disappointed if we’d felt we hadn’t really pushed ourselves - we’d never have known what we were actually capable of... and we would also have missed out on so much of the really interesting [and technical] terrain that was really enjoyable.”

After the final parade convoy from the finish line back the bivouac hotel, they celebrated their success with their families who were waiting to great them, and after downing a well deserved beer, were already making plans for the future.

“Red Bull Romaniacs next then!” offers Paul with a cheeky grin, and Gabe shakes his head in despair. “We’re actually planning to ride the Rally Albania in the summer” Paul reveals “That should be very different [to this one], and the event is also incredibly good value for money” he continues “But I’d still really like a crack at the ‘Romaniacs one day” he adds with a wink.

ends.

*Paul has now been checked by the medics, and they have suggested it is either two cracked ribs, or kidney stones!

#317 - Paul:

Stage result: day 7/7: joint 20th (2h44m)

Overall position: day 7/7: 22nd

Photo:



Links: www.dirtpunk.co.uk

#318 - Gabe:

Stage result: day 7/7: joint 20th (2h44m)

Overall position: day 7/7: 23rd

Photo:



Links: www.zenoverland.com
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Old 03-14-2014, 05:25 PM   #224
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Tuareg Rally Report - Day 7/finish (Friday 14th March 2014) - #347 Tony Landh

Profi Moto class: 60 kms - 70% sand piste, 30% dunes.

“I’m delighted!”


Finishing the Tuareg Rallye this year in 6th overall - 3 places higher than the 2013 edition, Tony Landh is also the highest placed Swedish rider in the event this year.

Once again, the stage started in early morning rain, easing throughout the morning into bright sunshine by the end of the short, but quite technical 60 km stage.

“I struggled a little during the first lap” he says “I just couldn’t get it together... and every two hundred metres I had to wipe my goggles because of the rain and sand” he explains. “Fortunately by the second lap everything had started to dry out, and I was able to pick up the pace after all. I think a number of people also found it difficult today - and in the end I actually managed to gain a few minutes on my nearest rival.”

While many riders who like Tony were nursing bruises sustained earlier in the week might now be glad it was all over, regarding the final stage itself, Tony was a little disappointed: “It was perhaps too easy” he begins “It ought to have been much longer... we rode for a little over two hours today, when really a rally stage ought to be twice as long at least...”

“I’m really delighted with my result” he says “I came here with the intention of improving on last year’s result, and I have certainly achieved that!” he smiles.

ends.

Stage result: day 7/7: 8th (2h17m)

Overall position: day 7/7: 6th

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Links: www.facebook.com/landhofracing Youtube: alwaysktm

JMo (& piglet) screwed with this post 03-22-2014 at 01:18 PM
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Old 03-14-2014, 05:26 PM   #225
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edjo69 View Post
How did the yellow VW van do??
Yellow VW was No 213 >>
1st day - 3rd
2nd day - 19th
3rd day - 12th
4th day - 21st
5th day - 20th
6th day - 18th
Final result >> 213 Jäger/ Maurer >> 14th
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