Dakar Rally Canceled - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Dakar Rally Canceled

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080104/...ar_dakar_rally

PARIS - An attack linked to al-Qaida and terror threats against the Dakar Rally forced organizers to cancel the annual race on Friday, the eve of the 5,760-mile trek across North African desert scrubland and savannah.

It was the first time the automobile, motorbike and truck rally has been called off in its 30-year history. In a statement, organizers blamed "threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organizations." the Dec. 24 killings of a French family and international tensions.
The race's central appeal — its course through African deserts, scrubland and savannas — is also its weak point, making it difficult to protect thousands of people as they cross remote regions.
"No other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken," organizers said.
France, where the race organizers are based, had urged the rally to avoid Mauritania after the four family members were killed in an attack blamed on a terror cell that uses the Mauritanian desert as a hideout.
Officials say the cell is linked to the Algeria-based al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, which has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks, including the Dec. 11 twin suicide bombings at U.N. offices and a government building in Algiers, which killed at least 37 people.
Mauritania's foreign minister criticized the decision to scrap the race.
"This decision has no relationship with the actual security situation in Mauritania, a country that has always been stable and peaceful," said Foreign Minister Babah Sidi Abdallah.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he did not want to "stigmatize" Mauritania, but warned of the risks "in a very uncertain region and one crossed by the networks of al-Qaida in North Africa."
"We simply want those who risk a lot to benefit from our information," Kouchner told RTL radio. "We are warning them: It's dangerous."
Daniel Bilalian, head of sports at rally co-sponsor France Televisions, told Europe-1 radio there had been "direct threats aimed at the race by terror groups," without specifying.
Al-Qaida in North Africa, in a Dec. 29 statement posted on an Internet site that it often uses, criticized Mauritania's government for "providing suitable environments to the infidels for the rally." It did not directly call for attacks on the race or its participants.
In the past, terrorism fears have forced organizers to cancel individual stages or reroute the race. In 2000, several stages were scrapped after a threat forced organizers to airlift the entire race from Niger to Libya. Several stages were also called off in 2004, reportedly because of terror threats in Mali.
Rally director Etienne Lavigne only recently approved the Mauritanian stages after two stages planned for Mali were scrapped over concerns about al-Qaida's north Africa affiliate there.
The race, organized by the France-based Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), had been due to start in Lisbon, Portugal, on Saturday and finish in Dakar, Senegal, on Jan. 20. Eight of the stages were to take place in Mauritania. Some 550 car, truck and motorcycle drivers were expected.
Cyril Neveu, a five-time Dakar winner in the motorcycle category, acknowledged that the race could have been targeted by terrorists.
"It is a big caravan of more than 3,000 people," he told French broadcaster I-Tele. He said he respected the organizers' decision but added: "Many are going to be disappointed."
"Providing security from the first to the last competitor is an onerous job," Neveu added. "One cannot say that there was zero risk."
Only the father of the slain family survived the Dec. 24 attack, in a town 150 miles east of the Mauritanian capital as the family picnicked on the side of a road.
That attack was followed up be another four days later, when three Mauritanian soldiers manning a checkpoint were killed. Mauritania is a largely peaceful Islamic republic that has been rocked by the back-to-back attacks.
Authorities have blamed a terror "sleeper cell" linked to the Algeria-based al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa for the murders of the family. Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa claimed responsibility for the killing of the soldiers.
The Mauritanian government had announced last week that it would mobilize a 3,000-man security force to ensure the race's safety.
Those in the country's tourism sector decried the loss, calling France's reaction "exaggerated and disproportionate."
"The worries expressed by the French are unfounded," said Mohamed El Moustapha Ould Cheibani, who heads a tour agency in Atar, a city 270 miles north of the capital, Nouakchott. "It's like getting punched in the back of our tourism industry."
___
Associated Press writers Ahmed Mohamed in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and John Leicester in Paris contributed to this report.

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post #2 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 10:33 AM
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Crap, I can not believe this.
Un frickin believable.

I gotta check this out.
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post #3 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 10:41 AM
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Islamic extremist are ruining it for everybody. I hate those guys!

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post #4 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 10:43 AM
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I wouldn't have cancled the race. If we do that, if we live with fear, they win. If the racers want to race knowing the danger, and if the fans want to go knowing the danger they should do it.

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post #5 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 10:46 AM
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And to think their goal is to take over the world so we can all be like them!

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post #6 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 10:50 AM
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Bas terds!

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post #7 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Sneaky Steve View Post
I wouldn't have cancled the race. If we do that, if we live with fear, they win.
I'm reading that it was for insurance reasons.

My guess is that Dakar is done forever, at least where it is currently being run.


Here are some competitor interviews-

http://www.rallyraidio.net/
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post #8 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 10:50 AM
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That is sooooo f'ing wrong! They are taking away freedoms all over the world....I say we nuke em'




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post #9 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 10:52 AM
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I can't even describe how disappointed I am.
Dakar is better than Xmas.
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post #10 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 11:07 AM
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Well that sucks. Add another check to the extremists for insighting enough fear to alter our lives yet again.

Interestingly enough, I received this email today which sheds some insight into our terrorist enemy. Most probably already knew this, but it spins well.

Quote:
A German's View on Islam

Dr. Emanual Tanay is a well known and well respected psychiatrist.

A German's point of view on Islam.

A man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War ll owned a
number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were
true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. 'Very few people were true Nazis 'he said,' but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.'

We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is the religion of
peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectra of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that
the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard
quantifiable fact is that the 'peaceful majority', the 'silent majority', is cowed and
extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managaed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The average Japanese individual prior to World War ll was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the
majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving'? History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghanis,
Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because
the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life. Lastly, at the risk of offending, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems expand.

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post #11 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 11:23 AM
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Terrorizing a bunch of racers....yeah that will change the world. Allah would be proud.

JohnnyB

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post #12 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 11:42 AM
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This is horrible. After listening to Toby Moody's interview, I'm afraid Kristin is right. This is probably the end of the Dakar, at least as we have known it.

-Joe
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post #13 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 01:19 PM
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What does racing have anything to do with a threat to the ridiculous extreme views of Islam!?

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post #14 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 01:21 PM
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I know that he can be an ass, but I like Robby Gordon.
Here is his reaction:

http://www.marathonrally.com/news/da...08.8704.0.html
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post #15 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 01:29 PM
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This is the sad truth of our world today, its sad that a bunch of people are ruining the entire world for everyone. This is not Islam, this is not what the Koran preaches.

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post #16 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 01:33 PM
 
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Go figure, the French tucking tail and running.

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post #17 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ad919 View Post
Go figure, the French tucking tail and running.
I really don't think that is appropriate in this case.
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post #18 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 01:39 PM
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Sucks!

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post #19 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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I can't see why the ASO is being so obdurate in the complete cancellation of the race, like all of the competitors are saying, there is a way to run some of the race. The privateers and sponsors will, I'm sure, be extremely reluctant to pour money into the dakar next year. Wasn't one of the dakar's big sayings "the spirit of the Dakar" or something like that. Part of that spirit is racing in spite of danger and overcoming problems that will inevitably arise during the rally. I am not seeing that from the ASO. I don't know the whole story but I am taking it a face value right now.

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post #20 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 02:19 PM
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Though the threat was there ... it should have been left to the competitors if they wanted to Rally or not?

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post #21 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 02:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC51_CBRXX View Post
Though the threat was there ... it should have been left to the competitors if they wanted to Rally or not?
I agree with you, but, I think that a major incident (racers being kidnapped or killed or the course being mined) could have been worse for the race's future than cancellation of the majority of the it. If the competitors were not willing to accept some risk, and terrorism is part of the risk of racing in that part of the world, they would have not signed up. From here, it looks like there is a compromise that someone was not willing to find.

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post #22 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 02:31 PM
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Hungarian government says 2010 Dakar Rally set to start in Budapest






BUDAPEST, Hungary: The 2010 Dakar Rally could start in Budapest.
Hungary's government and the organizers of the Dakar Rally have signed a preliminary contract for the international race to begin in Budapest in January 2010, a Hungarian official said Monday.
Hungary and the state-owned Hungaroring Sport Zrt. signed the preliminary deal with the Amaury Sport Organization on Dec. 6, 2007, said Istvan Ujhelyi, the regional development ministry's state secretary. It hoped to complete the deal by March.
"I believe we will be able to reach a final agreement during the next two months so I don't think (another city) will take our place," said Ujhelyi, before leaving for more talks in Lisbon, Portugal, where the 2008 Dakar Rally starts Saturday.
Beside the start planned for Heroes' Square in capital Budapest, a time-trial will be held on an army base near Lake Balaton for the cars, motorcycles and trucks taking part in the race.




Dakar Rally is called off amid fears of attack


Ujhelyi said the government had agreed to guarantee the €2.2 million (US$3.2 million) license fee for rally organizers and expected to recoup any expenditures from increased tourism revenues.
"We are handling this as a sport and a tourism event," Ujhelyi said. "It will be a huge media event which will promote Hungary."
A study commissioned by Hungaroring Sport Zrt. — which organizes Hungary's annual Formula One race — concluded that up to 200,000 tourists could attend.
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post #23 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 02:38 PM
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Reminds me in some small way of the infamous 2005 United States Grand Prix. In that case, the organizers refused to reschedule or cancel the race even though a dangerous safety issue arose with the Michelin tires used by most of the field, forcing the competitors to take it into their own hands to ensure their driver's safety.

Seems that erroring on the side of caution was the right thing to do with the Dakar Rally considering the circumstances.

Still sucks though.

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post #24 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbeau1960 View Post
Reminds me in some small way of the infamous 2005 United States Grand Prix.
Funny that you say that, I was thinking the same thing on the way back from the store just now. It has the same feeling of disappointment to it.

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post #25 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ad919 View Post
... the course being mined ...
Now that would have been an interesting addition to an already insanely challenging race.

I know ... bad taste, but I found it funny.

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post #26 of 33 Old 01-04-2008, 04:15 PM
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Five al Qaeda suspects detained in Mauritania admit Dakar Rally targeted, as hundreds of disgruntled teams head home
January 4, 2008, 9:26 PM (GMT+02:00)
Dakar Rally called off by al Qaeda terror
Hundreds of crews gathered in Lisbon heard at the last minute Friday that the organizers, the Amaury Sport Organization, had called off the challenging 9,000-mile Dakar Rally for the first time over terror threats. Five suspects were detained by Mauritanian intelligence over the murders of a French family of four on Dec. 24 and three soldiers. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that the suspects told interrogators in Nouakchott that Al Qaeda’s next target in the series was to be the Dakar Rally.
The jihadist group, they said, had deployed terrorist teams in a wide net across the Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal, poised to kill rally participants and take hostages. Eight of the rally’s stages transit Mauritania.
More than 600 cars, trucks, motor-cycles and their crews were set to start the 30th annual Dakar Rally, known as the Everest of off-road racing, Saturday, Jan. 5 and ending at Dakar on Jan. 20 after driving through harsh Saharan terrain. More than 80 percent of the field had invested a year’s hard work and private funds in preparing for the event.
In 2004, several stages of the Dakar Rally were called off because of terror threats in Mali - but never has al Qaeda succeeded in forcing the cancellation of an entire major sporting event. According to our counter-terror sources, al Qaeda’s No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri, who directs the movement’s Maghreb branch, is responsible for this “success.” It has aroused fears in international sporting circles that al Qaeda, having flexed its muscles in Africa, will now try and force the cancellation of the 2008 Beijing Olympics by intimidation.
It is also a grave setback for AFRICOM which the US established to combat terror. Since the tough anti-terrorist Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president, Al Qaeda appears to have set its sights on French targets. Monday, Dec. 31, a French aid worker was shot dead in Burundi and another injured. Five people have been detained in connection with the shooting.
Algeria is being used as the base and jumping off center of al Qaeda in the Maghreb, as well as its victim. Abdelaiz Bouteflika’s intelligence services were unable to thwart recent suicide attacks in the country.

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post #27 of 33 Old 01-07-2008, 06:43 AM
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I'm still in denial and need a fix...

Classic footage, not the greatest quality.

[youtube]fQNiI3Ps_NM[/youtube]
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post #28 of 33 Old 01-15-2008, 09:45 AM
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After the cancellation of the 2008 Dakar Rally following terrorist threats, it appears that the route for 2009 will be completely new, moving continents from Africa to South America.

Autosport.com understands that ASO, the organisers of the event, have signed a deal with a promotion company in Argentina to have a fresh start, therefore distancing themselves to the terrorist problems that eventually stopped the 2008 edition earlier this month.

A return to the traditional January 1st start date looks to be on the cards, with the rally taking over the former Rally Raid World Cup event in Argentina, The Pampas Rally. The route looks to go to Chile and back.

Other routes that have been investigated include Dubai, but this may be too short. Paris-Beijing was favoured by Mitsubishi and KTM, but the conditions may be too cold for a January running.

Paris-Beijing is being run this year by former Dakar winner Rene Metge, but concerns of high costs reportedly were problematic. Australia has also been looked at too, but it seems Africa is out of the running for a while.

ASO had discussed running the event in 2008 just in Morocco, but intelligence ruled that out with terrorists close to the Mauritanian border.

It also has become apparent that the terrorist threats made directly to ASO following the murder of four French tourists near Nouakchott, Mauritania were specific towards the rally, and made by groups that intelligence sources say were heavily armed and organized.

With a bivouac at night of upwards of 1500 people, the consequences could have been unthinkable.
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post #29 of 33 Old 01-15-2008, 09:57 AM
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Sounds like an excellent alternative. There is some stunning desert in South America. Will be much safter and probably better media coverage too. Screw those countries that don't police themselves and hate everyone but Muslims, pull out all the events, money, industry, tourism...everything.
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post #30 of 33 Old 01-15-2008, 10:49 AM
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Good point JohnnyB. I don't think the terrorist have any understanding of the economic effects these events have on the host countries. There must be huge contracts providing support to the athletes in less than hospitable regions.

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post #31 of 33 Old 01-15-2008, 11:48 AM
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The terrisot don't care about the effect their actions have on the host country they just want to kill people. After all they are used to living in caves and don't think you should have anything either.

Paul

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post #32 of 33 Old 01-15-2008, 12:24 PM
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And the upside is that South America is much more accessible to North America, giving many more of us a chance to actually go check out the race.

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post #33 of 33 Old 01-15-2008, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V65rider View Post
The terrisot don't care about the effect their actions have on the host country they just want to kill people. After all they are used to living in caves and don't think you should have anything either.
Terrorists have families too!

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