SP145 of Dean Nuttall doing his country proud
Why is it that in every form of moto racing Australia punches way above its weight; Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner and Casey Stoner - the last in a long list of Moto GP Champions. Chad Reed Supercross Star. Speedway King Jason Crump. And the man who'll outdo anyone anytime, Robbie Maddison, head a list of world class stars that will match or trash contenders from anywhere in the known universe. Yet when 'Le Dakar' rolls around the Aussies are left in everyone's dust.
It isn't so bad when it's the likes of Coma and Despres on their unobtainium Rallye Replicas - incidentally has anyone seen a Rallye Original? - but this year our contingent were humbled by Dean Nuttall's teammates, South African Darryl Curtis and Kiwi Chris Birch - who, all on his lonesome, scored a 100% finishing rate for the land of the long white cloud.
For a while it looked as though Husaberg Rallye Racing's Rod Faggotter would be the first Antipodean across the line but it wasn't to be and we all hope Rod gets another shot - the entire team deserves it. This left teammate Dave Schwarz to claim his third Dakar Finisher's Medallion to supplement his nine top-ten Safari finishes.
Dean Nuttall was also matching Birch's pace but after being directed down a mineshaft by the geographically challenged policia never recovered from the time lost. Jamie Chittick who has been on the fringes of a top ten Safari finish on two occasions surprised with his pace on a renter CRF450X supported by Honda Europe so we never found out how much quicker he may have been on a Glenn Hoffmann built unit.
Anyway it's all done and well definitely dusted for 2012, and the Kiwis are now one nil in the Antipodean Challenge. Well done guys and let's kick some Kiwi arse next year (and maybe a Euro or two).
RESULTS - DAKAR 2012
1. Cyril Despres - France - KTM 450 Rallye
2. Marc Coma - Spain - KTM 450 Rallye
3. Helder Rodrigues - Portugal - Yamaha WRF450
4. Jordi Viladums - Spain - KTM 450 Rallye
5. Stefan Svitco - Slovakia - KTM 450 Rallye
27. Chris Birch - New Zealand - KTM 450 Rallye
40. Dean Nuttall - Australia - KTM 450 Rallye
43. Dave Schwarz - Australia - Husaberg FE450
54. Jamie Chittick - Australia - Honda CRF450X