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Lisboa - Dakar 2008 First official Aprilia entry

By Makis - Posted on 03 January 2008

Aprilia will have an official entry for the first time in the Lisboa - Dakar 2008 rally with two RXV450's.

Here's the links to the two riders pages:
Knuiman Henk

Henk Knuiman: «Aprilia called me»
He was so close. It was a question of mere minutes, a little more than 10 for Henk Knuiman to reach his goal for 2007: finish among the top ten overall. He went on to finish 11th just behind the Polish rider, Czachor. The fault, without a doubt, a 10 minute penalty he received on the first day of the rally, for, exceeding the speed limit. “I didn’t see the speed limit marked in the road book”, Henk Knuiman explains, who holds no grudge. So close, that without this carelessness he could have broken into the coveted top 10.
This year the goal is the same, with increased means for this Dutchman who has always taken part in the Dakar as a privateer. “Aprilia called me and asked me if I wanted to ride for them! They have furnished me with the equipment: the bike and spare parts”. Now he can take advantage of support from a factory team. It is thus on an Aprilia RXV 450 that this owner of a maintenance company, and father of two, will ride on this year’s Dakar. An amateur that if he was a team leader would have a fine Dakar record for himself: 17th in 1999, followed by an 8th place on his second attempt in 2000 befor

And the second one:
Deykes John

John Deykes: "The Dakar, that Everest"
John Deykes is one of the American ambassadors on the Dakar. The Californian will at last cross the Atlantic for his first appearance. The accomplishment of "a 25 year old dream", as thrilling as it is expensive that John wants to live: "It sums up many things, he admits, I absolutely have to do it before I’m too old. It just couldn’t wait anymore. It’s this year!" He followed the Dakar from long distance. John has indeed never been on African soil. He however knows the desert well: those of Western United-States and of Mexico but also the one in the Arabic peninsula. In 2004 he competed in the UAE Desert challenge and finished 2nd of the 450 SP class. After witnessing the Alps of off-road rallies, he now takes on the Himalaya. "The Dakar is the ultimate adventure, he says. Like climbing Mount Everest". And to be at the height of the event, he "runs five miles a day” and regularly takes part in marathons during the year. Meticulous in his preparation, John has clear objectives to reach. "In order of importance, I want to return home safe and sound, reach the Lac Rose and finish first of the 450 cc marathon class". A clear goal. John likes predicting things, even though he perfectly knows that the Dakar isn’t exact science. A serious preparation doesn’t necessarily mean success. "My only worry is to fail to reach the finish of the rally because the expenses are heavy especially if I had to do it again without sponsors"

The numbers to remember for anyone watching the Dakar in Eurosport are 13 and 152.

There was also the following in MCN:

Aprilia RXV450 to take on Dakar Rally
Aprilia is taking on the off-road world's giants by taking the RXV450 to the 2008 Dakar Rally.
Dutch team Canon Kamera-Express has built the bike around an RXV, equipping the short-range trail bike with huge fuel tanks and a larger fairing as well as sat nav. Lighting is provided by a unit from the Pegaso 650.
Aprilia has hand-built two motors specifically fro the trip to ensure reliability and competitive power, and a specially-made exhaust pipe was created to deal with the rigours of the sand.
Marzocchi and Sachs have built special forks and shock too, as the standard parts would struggle with the punishing kilometres.
Henk Knuiman is the rider, and the bike has already been raced in the Shamrock Rally across Morocco.
He said: "We were there to give the RXV the ultimate challenge. I really tried to destroy the bike but it didn't budge at all. The Aprilia was competitive and reliable from the start. I finished as second behind Frenchman David Fretigne who has finished the Dakar fourth"

Although I can remember Aprilia engines used before in the Dakar (a Caponord engine in a sidecar a couple of years ago), it's the first time they have an official entry.
I hope they can both finish!






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