151 motorcycles to start 2010 Dakar

The technical and administrative scrutineering will be completed by the end of the afternoon for the drivers, riders and teams in the Dakar. Before hitting the trail, the contenders now have some time to enjoy their New Year’s Eve in Buenos Aires before mingling with the crowds on the occasion of the start podium ceremony that will be held tomorrow afternoon. Overall 362 vehicles including 151 motorcycles and 25 quads will start the rally.

The last scrutineering session is always special as it sees the arrival of the top contenders who will be racing for victory. The prospect of imminent competition always pushes journalists and spectators to assess the technical and physical skills of those registered to the rally raid, to foresee possible duels, to anticipate upon the potential victories of this one or that one, etc…

In such an atmosphere of wild expectation, the stars of the trail play it tough and flex their muscles but not without keeping a good dose of humbleness in front of the task ahead. In the motorcycle category, the change in rules did not prevent most observers from keeping a close eye on the fight at the top that might go on between Cyril Despres and Marc Coma, who both won two of the last four editions of the Dakar.

Cyril Despres Speaks…

"Indeed, we have been fighting that fight for a long time, says Despres, whilst providing some interesting statistics about their duel at the top. For the time being, I have had 16 rally raid victories in my career and Marc just added a 17th to his track record with the Rally of Morocco. It’s true; we remain very close over time."

This being said, this year, 450cc riders are in a more favorable situation with the restraint limiting the performances of the 690cc motorcycles. Today, it was also the turn of David Casteu, riding for French motorcycle manufacturer Sherco, and Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez, hired by Italian team Aprilia, to be open about their intentions. They will certainly be part of the equation that will define the final standings…

For the favorites and for the amateurs likewise, the rules of a nice pre-start New Year’s Eve dinner will be to keep it sober and light because for them 2010 will start with a podium ceremony at the foot of the famous Buenos Aires obelisk, but after that… they will have to face 9,000 kilometers of roads, trails and sand dunes that will take them on a fabulous rally raid across Argentina and Chile.


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