document : Broadlink KTM Rally Team’s Van Niekerk and Curtis impress on Morocco Rally


Broadlink KTM Rally Team’s Van Niekerk and Curtis impress on Morocco Rally
information supplied by: Peter Burroughes Communications 24 October 2012

Broadlink KTM Rally Team’s Van Niekerk and Curtis impress on Morocco Rally

South Africans Riaan van Niekerk and Darryl Curtis, riding their new Broadlink KTM 450 Rally motorcycles for the first time, acquitted themselves well in the Morocco Rally that ended in Zagora on Saturday.

After six days and more than 2 000 kilometres of riding in the dunes and mountains of southern Morocco, they finished a very respectable 14th and 15th overall with Van Niekerk finishing ahead of his more experienced team-mate and friend in his rally raid debut.

The Rally of Morocco is the biggest and most important rally raid event after the Dakar Rally and was a timely opportunity for riders to prepare for the 2013 edition of the world’s longest and toughest motorcycle race in South America in January.
It consisted of more than 1 500 kilometres of special stages from Monday to Saturday and over 500 kilometres of liaison sections in the Erfoud and Zagora regions.

The field included a number of the world’s top rally raid riders, including the official KTM factory team’s Cyril Despres of France, winner of the 2012 Dakar Rally and Spaniards Marc Coma and Juan Pedrero-Garcia.

Curtis, who finished a remarkable 22nd in the 2012 Dakar Rally on a privately-entered Broadlink KTM after starting 144th in his first attempt at the iconic race, and Dakar rookie Van Niekerk will be competing in the 2013 Dakar as members of the official KTM factory team alongside Despres, Coma, Pedrero and fellow Spaniard Reuben Faria.

“It was a real privilege to be in the same team as Despres and Coma. We learnt a lot,” said Curtis. Despres finished first in Morocco, nearly seven minutes ahead of Husqvarna rider Joan Barreda of Spain and 34 minutes in front of Chile’s Chaleco Lopez on a KTM. Pedrero was 11th and Coma crashed out early and dislocated a shoulder.

“A big thanks to our sponsors Broadlink, KTM, Grindrod Logistics, Leadertread, Emperors Palace and MTN, who made our trip and participation in Morocco possible,” Curtis added. “The experience was invaluable in our preparation for the Dakar in Peru, Argentina and Chile in January.

“The sand dunes and the faster road sections we experienced were very similar to what we can expect in the Dakar and we were both very happy with our new bikes. It was Riaan’s first time in the desert and sand dunes in a race and he did a great job. He got better each day as his confidence with the navigation and riding in the sand grew.”

The two South Africans have a short break before they head off for their next pre-Dakar test in France on November 5, where they will join the official KTM factory team for five days. They will run-in their new engines and do final suspension setup.

“Being part of the official KTM factory team is massive for us and our sponsors,” said Curtis. “They are the Dakar champions and respected around the world. We are very privileged to be in this position and it has greatly motivated us to get ourselves into the best possible condition to tackle the Dakar in January and make our team, our sponsors and South Africa proud.”

High resolution images may be downloaded from www.motorpics.co.za.

Follow the Broadlink KTM Rally Team on www.broadlinkktmrally.co.za.

Ends

Issued on behalf of Darryl Curtis and Riaan van Niekerk by Peter Burroughes Communications, telephone 082 899 0101, e-mail bowtie@iafrica.com.
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