Locals take on Moroccan Rally
READY TO TAKE ON MOROCCO: South Africans Darryl Curtis and Riaan van Niekerk are preparing for the Moroccan Rally taking place from October 14-20, 2012.
The Rally of Morocco, the biggest and most important rally raid event after the Dakar Rally, takes place in the Moroccan desert regions of Erfoud and Zagora from October 14-20, 2012.
For the South African Broadlink KTM rally team of Darryl Curtis and Riaan van Niekerk it will be their first big test as they prepare for the 2013 Dakar Rally in South America in January.
Curtis said: “The Rallye Maroc is an important event in teams’ preparations for the Dakar and all the big names will be there, it’s a great opportunity for Riaan and me to test our readiness for the greatest off road motor race in the world, the Dakar. We’re very excited, especially because it will be the first time we will get to ride our actual Dakar bikes; and they will be in the colours of our sponsors.”
Curtis and Van Niekerk have been included in an official KTM factory support team of four riders to the factory team of former Dakar Rally winners Cyril Despres of France and Marc Coma of Spain and their ‘water carriers’, Spanish riders Reuben Faria and Juan Pedrero.
The South Africans will ride KTM 450 Rally motorcycles supplied by KTM in Austria.
“Riaan and I have had a hectic few months already preparing for the Dakar and the Morocco Rally will be a big test for us. Apart from entering local off road events, we spent an invaluable nine days in Namibia doing navigation training with a Dakar-type road book in the foothills of the Brandberg and in the sand dunes near Swakopmund. I discovered on my first attempt at the Dakar in January this year just how important it is to understand and follow the road book.
“We learned a lot in Namibia and the time in the saddle and the navigational exercises are all cash in the bank as we get closer to Dakar, which is only three months away.”
TOUGH DAYS AHEAD
In Morocco they will be following in the wheel marks of South Africa’s only 2009 Dakar Rally winner, Giniel de Villiers, who won the Morocco Rally in 2003, 2006 and 2007.
Ahead of them lie six days and more than 2000km of riding in the dunes and mountains of southern Morocco. The first three stages will be in the Erfoud region from October 15-17, the second half in the Zagora region from October 18-20.
Curtis, 41, and Van Niekerk, 36, are each a multiple South African off -oad and enduro champion and leading competitors in the world Extreme Enduro series which includes such events as the Red Bull Romaniacs, Erzberg Rodeo and the Roof of Africa in Lesotho.
Curtis was 22nd in the 2012 Dakar on a private KTM after starting 144th in his first attempt at the world’s longest and toughest motorcycle race. It will be Van Niekerk's first.