Despres says Dakar cancelation is a disaster
Two–time Dakar winner Cyril Despres reckons that the cancellation of the 2008 Dakar is a tragedy for the privateers who make up a large portion of the entrants.
The factory KTM rider said, “Although it is a huge personal blow, as a professional racer I will have other opportunities to enter and win races. For the privateers, some of who have mortgaged their houses for a once in a lifetime adventure, it is quite simply a disaster.
He also said that the cancellation will cause a huge knock on effect and economic consequences for the countries the rally passes through, “ASO has a policy of spending as much money locally as possible and so economically it will be extremely hard for them. Long term the situation is even more serious. Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal all depend heavily on tourism and the cancellation of the Dakar is bound to have a huge impact on this vital sector of their economies."
Despres will still be in Dakar on January 20, “I have decided to honour my own humanitarian obligations. I will inaugurate the new school in Dakar and make sure the school materials that I took to Lisbon will reach their intended destination."
With no Dakar, Despres has been forced to look at alternative rallies to fill the void, “I will be having a good look at the 2008 calendar and seeing what I can add to my schedule. KTM have made it very clear that they will continue in Rally Raid and I am more than ready to race.”