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Discussion in 'Racing' started by JMo (& piglet), Jun 4, 2014.
Yeah, and me barging into the pit like a bull in the china shop .... Sorry mate, hope the leg is well mended by now
And well done Jenny, I guess the Webwork is a bit of a therapy keeping you calm and focussed ;-)
I'm hoping to be able to confirm our LC4-50 riders for Dakar 2015 in the next couple of days....
Did you get the letter yet ??? perhaps one American.. TG ?????
Or the French, as it turns out.
So I guess it's time to update you all on where the LC4-50 team is going in the next six months...
First up, there is no easy way around this:
Yep, that's right - it turns out my application this year was NOT accepted, despite assurances to the contrary during the ongoing development of the LC4-50 project, and notwithstanding a solid [if modest] finish at the Hellas this year on the bike I would be riding at Dakar - it turns out that for the 2015 edition, ASO have decided to 'significantly' reduce the number of Moto entries*, which in effect has upped the entry requirements - and they felt that because I have had [admittedly] limited competitive experience since my participation in the 2011 event, I need a little more recent race experience when compared to the other applicants they were processing.
*I guess this is the fall-out of having such a dramatic increase in sponsorship money from outside & media sources since the rally decamped to South America - that they no longer actually need 400+ competitors to cover their costs... and while the Dakar may ultimately no longer be the 'largest' [field] rally anymore, it is certain to remain the longest and indeed 'toughest' event of it's kind, and by encouraging more elite riders and [factory] team entries, will ultimately become logistically easier for the ASO to control... indeed, I remember Patsy Quick saying much the same thing as long as three years ago now... of course where that leaves the amateur privateer applicant in the future is anyone's guess, I guess.
Of course they understand my personal position - having had an extend period of recovery after my 2011 accident (and having to wait a year for the metalwork to be removed) - and that I have subsequently been focussing on getting the LC4-50 initially approved by the ASO/FIM, and that ultimately it was actually only production ready in May this year... However, regardless of ongoing training and testing (including my proposed entry in the Merzouga Rally on the LC4-50 this coming October) - compared to other applicants, my lack of comprehensive racing experience the past couple of years means I was passed over this time.
As you might imagine, that is pretty devastating news for the team, and for me particularly - and indeed my initial reaction was that's it, game over. No more Dakar for me.
That is not to say that a couple more races over the next twelve months, and a re-application next may for the 2016 is completely off the cards - but to be honest, I cannot see how [financially] I am going to be able to delay my own return for [yet] another year... real life has a habit of getting in the way of these things.
So where does that leave team LC4-50, and specifically the Dakar 2015?
Read on good friends... read on...
^^^ Shame about the news for you Jenny... but considering some of the other applications rejected by ASO in recent years (this one included), it is not entirely unprecedented.
I believe that, if the trend continues the "amateur" ranks of the DAKAR moto field become smaller (reduction of total numbers) and the quality of the field becomes more "elite" in nature (and expenditure) then this only bodes well for events like TUAREG, MERZOUGA, AFRICA RAID, Hellas, Albania etc., which (at least for Euro amateur rally riders) are closer, cost effective, relatively well organized, publicized and quality competition events.
DAKAR seems to go more "pro" for every year... the top 20 auto teams and top 30 moto's are the focus from TV spectacle/sponsor perspective... the "balance" of the field make up the numbers... and - at least for DAKAR - they don't seem to require that amount of "numbers" any more...?! In fact a reduction of the field in total, appears to make the logistics of the whole show a lot simpler.
So... the F1/MotoGp circus in the desert analogy draws ever closer...
We also initially had a second [rental] customer signed up for Dakar 2015...
I trust you will recall Tony Landh's participation in the past two Tuareg Rallye editions in Tunisia - indeed he was one of my highlighted riders at the 2014 event: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=956944 and put in an epic performance in what was only his second desert rally (he finished 9th overall in the 2013 event, and 6th overall this year! - including some impressive stage results throughout the week). Unfortunately, despite being a far faster and accomplished rider than me, he too was not accepted for Dakar this time, which kind of decimated the team structure we had in place for our inaugural outing at Dakar 2015.
We were all set to send a practice bike to Sweden for Tony, and fortunately his compatriot and 'friendly rival' at the past two Tuareg Rallies - that man-machine that is Carl Hagenblad, has stepped in [having had his entry accepted for 2015], and is now seriously considering riding an LC4-50 rather than his own home-brewed Husaberg...
This really is fantastic news for John (KTMmitch) and the whole LC4-50 project, as having a rider of Carl's calibre on board not only dramatically increases our chances of a strong finish for the bike, but is a substantial endorsement of the product itself...
Here is the [practice] bike, prepped for shipping to Sweden earlier this week:
We hope that once Carl has had some testing time, plus he plans to enter a 'hard enduro' on it later this month, we will be able to confirm his commitment for the rest of the season up to and including Dakar 2015.
Obviously, like myself - he will no doubt benefit from your support and encouragement over the next few weeks and months... so please do whatever you can!
Were that not enough, we are also delighted to introduce another high-calibre rider to you, who intends to race the LC4-50 not only in Dakar 2015, but also at the Baja 1000 later this year!
As you might imagine, with the USA effectively the 'adopted home' of the KTM 690, and the primary export market for Rally Raid Products, John was always keen to attract a US-based rider to ride one of his bikes in Dakar...
While I was in the US in June, I met up with a young and exceptionally talented desert racer: Tony Gera, who has been storming the Ironman class in Score and BITD events over the past couple of years - up to and including his Ironman class win at the Baja 500 at the beginning of June, which, as part of the 'Dakar Challenge' series of events they adopt throughout the season, means he now has a guaranteed entry in the Dakar 2015!
What a fantastic opportunity I'm sure you'll agree - however, until six weeks ago - Tony hadn't even considered Dakar as soon as next January, so as you might imagine - the race is most defiantly on to get his campaign together so he can actually fulfil this dream ride!
While the ASO 'golden ticket' means they have covered his entry fee costs, until we met, Tony was initially looking to enter Malle Moto - that is after sourcing a suitable bike of course, prepping it, and not least getting fully up to speed with road-book navigation style of riding - while continuing to campaign and indeed dominate, his SCORE & BITD commitments - including Vegas to Reno later this month...
Fortunately, for little more than his budget for Malle Moto, Rally Raid have been able to offer him a fully assisted rental package, including a second engine and suspension set for him to build into a US-based practice/race bike - and although Tony is already a top notch 'Ironman' desert rider and accomplished moto mechanic, having the full support of a team structure - and indeed the team that actually developed and built the bike he will be racing - will dramatically increase Tony's chance of Dakar finish first time out...
Furthermore, in an effort to raise sponsorship in the lead up to Dakar 2015 (where he'll be riding one of the team 'factory' bikes built here in the UK by Martin Wittering) Tony intends to build his practice bike into a Baja-spec LC4-50 himself, with the intention of racing it in the Baja 1000 later this year - yep, Ironman!
This alone is a fantastic opportunity for US-based fans and particularly sponsors to get behind one of the leading desert racing stars on the current scene.
Tony's resume and results are already impressive, but what he really needs now is the support of a wider audience to really lift him to the next level - and a solid Dakar finish for a 19 year old rider is going to be gold for his future career!
Used to riding big bikes in the desert - Tony intends to replace his trusty XR650R with an LC4-50 for the Baja 1000 this year.
So please, if you can possibly throw your weight behind supporting Tony Gera and his unique 2015 Dakar opportunity...
I'm sure he'll be along in a short while to introduce himself here personally, but in the meantime, please do visit his dedicated Facebook and Gofundme pages below, show your support, and LET'S MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!!
Awww, Jen, I'm crushed for you.
Damn that's shit news for you...
It was very sad news to hear from Jenny when she said her entry had been refused by ASO, both for her personally and all of us in the LC4-50 project.
It has been over 2 years from the first idea of the bike with me and Wes (aka Beaney on ADV) after the Tuareg Rally in 2012, and it certainly has'nt been plain sailing at all over those last 2 years, both developing the motor and losing both Wes and Gordy(another pivotal member of our UK rally group) along the way in seperate rallies, only 5 months apart.
It is due to help of Jenny, Martin and Donna at Torque Racing, Derrick Edmondson(ex Dakar rider, UK enduro champion and brother of multi world enduro champ Paul Edmondson) my wife Liz and Wes's partner Deb that have helped the project carry on when, to be honest, my enthusiasm was not there for some time.
The pivotal point for the team was the fantastic 2 week, 6,000 km, round trip to the Hellas Rally in Greece by Jenny on the LC4-50 from Rally Raid Products HQ in May.This proved to us that the concept of an ultra-reliable 450 rally bike, based on the 690 motor, was achievable, and thanks to Jenny's result in the Hellas(after a long competitive lay-off) it also showed it was no slouch.
This result gave me the confidence to order another 3 crankshaft assemblies and piston kits in readiness for Martin at Torque Racing to build some more LC4-50's that will be used as rental bikes for forthcoming Dakar.
Although not having Jenny, or Tony Landh, as Dakar riders this year on our LC4-50 bikes, we will continue to support both of them next year in their preparations, and Carl Hagenblad will now take over Jenny's LC4-50 next week in Sweden in his build up to Dakar 2015.
The Team that Martin, Donna & Carl put together for our first outing to the Tuareg Rally this year showed a lot of promise, with a good mix of riders from UK & Sweden, and this part of the LC4-50 project is as important as the bike itself, as everyone pulled together on both the Tuareg & Hellas.
So we will continue to press on with Dakar 2015 as our goal, albeit now with a different focus, whether we have our initial 6 rider team or a different combination, the goal is to make it happen.
Jen, desperately sorry to read this. ASO are changing the Rally and making it way too exclusive.
You'll have to plough into this with your journalistic talent and contribute to it that way?
Hee hee - that would be cute, but the robbers want 9,700 Euro just for a 'crew' seat these days...
Fuck those pussies of ASO and come at Africa Eco Race.
Real Dakar is in Africa. Old spirit and magic people.
I did it twice and I hope to go again.
Plus: it's cheaper (a lot!) and organized as well as a world championship.