January 16, 2007
Today the competitors finished the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally. The stage looped from Nema back to Nema, covering over 300km of sandy track.TRPA’s Casey McCoy loved the stage, riding for a 28th place finish. Casey is poised to finish the rally very well in Dakar. He joined the team this year because of his steady and reliably fast riding. At the start of the rally, Casey’s main task was to support the team’s primary rider, Jonah Street. However, on the challenging dunes stage from Er Rachidia to Ouarzazate, Jonah suffered an engine failure, knocking him out of the rally. Casey has taken over the role of primary rider, with the goal of netting the team a finish in Dakar.Jonah performed spectacularly in the first 4 stages of the rally. At the bivouac in Oarzazate, he was in 4th place overall, less than 7 minutes behind. He was much better off than we had planned at this stage, prepared to charge to the front in the soft sand of Mauritania. But, unfortunately, Jonah’s bike didn’t make it to that part of the rally. The entire team is disappointed by his departure. Team Manager Charlie Rauseo, “The bright side is that we now know that Jonah can beat the factory racers.”Jonah’s bike is being transported to Paris by the rally organizers, and the team will dissect it in their San Francisco shop when it returns in February. The engine was running perfectly when it left Er Rachidia early in the morning, but mechanic Niles Follin says that Jonah was obviously riding it very hard to keep ahead of the much larger KTM factory 690 motorcycles.The team’s assistance crew has been very busy. Early on in the rally, another team’s assistance vehicle broke, so the team decided to help the riders who were left without mechanics. Tim Hall withdrew in Morocco due to injuries sustained in a crash. Klaus Pelzmann bowed out in Mauritania due to exhaustion. But, Casey McCoy, Paul Broome, Steve LaRoza, and Chris Jones remain in the rally, supported by the team’s two Ford F350 trucks and assistance crews.