The Slovenia Times

The Spirit Has Gone



Although slightly disappointed, Stanovnik, otherwise a professional soldier, was pleased with his performance given the circumstances. He was handicapped by some early teething problems and pain (a legacy of a bad accident over a year ago in Dubai); however, the biggest blow to his efforts came in the form of two penalties for speeding through villages, which cost him 4.5 hours. Until the penalties, he was regularly finishing within the top 25 and steadily improving in the general classification. "I proved to myself that I can still be competitive in the harshest conditions in the world," Stanovnik, a veteran of ten Paris - Dakar rallies, said afterwards. He was, however, concerned with the poor organisation of the event: "I was really upset about the dubious penalties I was given for supposedly driving too fast through some settlements, with the assistance that was only available to the French competitors and about the course, which I thought was too easy. I expected legs with greater difficulty - legs with more sand dunes." Moreover, the tragic deaths of two spectators and a fellow competitor killed in separate incidents as well as the expensive equipment rental meant that there were few happy faces among the motorcyclists by the end of the event. "The spirit of the Dakar has gone and if the organisers want to keep the event alive they will have to think long and hard about whether money should be the thing that matters most in this rally," Stanovnik explained.


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