JANUARY 19th 2020: STAGE 12 ST LOUIS / DAKAR: 299,75 km
Liaison: St Louis / Niokhob: 229,67 km
SS: Niokhob / Lac Rose: 21,93 km
Transfer: Lac Rose / Dakar: 48,15 km
After a night under the starry Senegal sky, the sun will not yet be up when the competitors of the AFRICA ECO RACE® 2020 will set off on the final liaison to Niokhob, a fishing village on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, located close to Dakar. The traditional lined up start will be given on the beach. A unique moment and the last opportunity to unleash the horses to try to be the first for fun in this legendary Lac Rose leg. The last 22 kilometers to be timed will feel like a reward for some whilst for others, it will be more freeing. The last effort of the adventure will be to participate in the award ceremony organized with the Senegalese Federation of Auto and Motorcycle Sport. Driving up on the podium installed on the banks of Lac Rose will be the opportunity for all the heroes of this magnificent African adventure to be applauded by the officials, enthusiasts, family, partners or friends present at the arrival of this 12th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE®.
A MAGNIFICENT FINISH FOR THE AFRICA ECO RACE® AT LAC ROSE
As is the tradition at the AFRICA ECO RACE®, the 12th and final stage consisted of a 230km morning liaison between Saint-Louis and the fishing village of Niokob, followed by a 22km special stage between the beach and Lac Rose, where the podium was set-up.
There was an incredible atmosphere on the shores of Lac Rose, about 10 meters from the monument erected in honor of Thierry SABINE.
Indeed, never since the first edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE® in 2009 had there been so many people and such an atmosphere at Lac Rose. It was a unique moment worthy of the world’s great sporting events.
Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER had decided it was a point of honor to take the win on this particularly poignant final special stage, since it only ran for fun and incorporate an in-line start. Riding a KTM, the Norwegian overtook Yamaha rival Alessandro Botturi – the winner of the 12th edition of the event.
As for Lyndon POSKITT – the Briton was the late winner of the final place on the motorcycle podium following his complaint against Paolo LUCCI over a tyre conformity issue on the Italian’s HUSQVARNA, Although he was heckled at the start by several disgruntled Italian riders, the Briton did not appear to be affected and took third place on the day.
On four wheels, a truck stood out again with the IVECO of Igor BOUWENS, Ulrich BOERBOOM and Frits DRIESMANS winning the stage. The Belgians completed the special in front of the Tarek MERCEDES Buggy, crewed by Yves and Jean FROMONT.
The SSV CAN AM X3 of Kamil RAHAL and Thierry SANCHEZ climbed on to the third step of the day’s podium with the stage win. Needless to say, the Senegalese duo were happy to confirm their first victory in the SSV XTREM RACER category of the 2020 edition on home ground.
Once all the winners and finishers had been arranged by the organizing team in the order of passage over the podium installed by the Senegalese Federation of Motor Sport and Motorcycle (FSSAM), friends, families, assistants and motorsport enthusiasts were able to applaud the heroes of the event one-by-one for more than three hours.
Each competitor celebrated their podium in a different way. There was solidarity with donations given to good Senegalese causes and smiles all round, particularly for the various teams made up of parents and children, like the father and son team of Patrick and Lucas MARTIN - winners of the AFRICA ECO RACE® on four wheels. Also for Alain and Agnès BIARD – they were lower down the general classification but happy to have endured the adventure together nonetheless.
There was elation for Miklos KOVACS, Lazlo ACS and Peter CZEGLEDI - winners of the truck category in their SCANIA - and there were screams of joy and a lot of noise from the many Italians present on the rally for Alessandro BOTTURI, the motorcycle winner.
There was emotion when Nicola DUTTO - the Italian paraplegic biker who had taken the crazy gamble of arriving in Dakar - hoisted his KTM on to the podium accompanied by his supporters after completing the entire 6,026km route.
In short, it was a magnificent ceremony to celebrate the hosts of this fabulous 12th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE® which, once again, was a complete success.
After the party, the entire AFRICA ECO RACE® caravan headed swiftly to Dakar to end the day at the port. All the vehicles were loaded directly on to a cargo ship supplied by GRIMALDI for the return voyage to South of France.
The unloading and recovery of vehicles is planned for early next week and that will mark the final stage of this 2020 edition.