Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Racing Rant: Dakar 2008

This post is selfish. It is in no way meant to insult or demean the victims and families hurt by the actions which occurred on December the 24th. My condolences go out to the friends and families of those killed and I hope we can all work towards a future where this doesn't happen anymore.

But come on ASO! What the fuck? canceling the world's greatest rally for a few terrorist threats and the tragic events of Christmas Eve? So what went down?

Dec 27 - Rally organizers travel to Nouakchott to assess security concerns for the upcoming rally.

Dec 31 - The cabinet ministers of Mauritania are able to convince the Dakar organizers that this event was isolated and they will beef up security. The race is declared ON.

Jan 1 - The organizers recommend French citizens stay out of Mauritania for the time being.

Jan 4 - The race is canceled due to terrorist threats. ATY weeps. As do hundreds of people in villages along the route that rely on this race and the tourism it brings for their winter food.

"Based on the current international political tension and the murder of four French tourists last 24th of December linked to a branch of Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, but also and mainly the direct threats launched directly against the race by terrorist organisations, no other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken by A.S.O.

A.S.O.’s first responsibility is to guarantee the safety of all: that of the populations in the countries visited, of the amateur and professional competitors, of the technical assistance personnel, of the journalists, partners and rally collaborators. A.S.O. therefore reaffirms that the choice of security is not, has never been and will never be a subject of compromise at the heart of the Dakar rally.

A.S.O. condemns the terrorist menace that annihilates a year of hard work, engagement and passion for all the participants and the different actors of the world’s biggest off-road rally."

Yes, safety is important. But how is canceling the race condemning "the terrorist menace"? It condones it. So when did this announcement come? THE DAY BEFORE THE RACE STARTED. You think, after meeting with government officials for a week they could have canceled a couple days before, but no, January 4th.

I like the word choice "annihilates" though, that's a nice touch. The greatest rally in the world is annihilated on its 30th anniversary.

Link to Motoblag's article. Hilarious.

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