For the forth consecutive year, the seaside resort of Saint Cyprien in the Oriental Pyrenees welcomes the start of the Africa Eco Race.
Even though the sun was at the rendez-vous, the temperature was quite chilly due to a windy day. But as usual, the technical scrutineering which took place once more on the Joa Casino parking located on the port attracted a nice croud.
All we can say is that the event had many beautifully prepared vehicles and a perfect organization was set by the Africa Eco Race team.
At 6:30 pm the start was given by the sport responsable of St Cyprien, Mr Loïc CARRIDO, to the very first biker out of 30 bike registrations in this adventure. In other words, Norway’s Pal Anders ULLEVALSETER.
Out of other famous biker, David FRETIGNE and his 1200 Super Tenere YAMAHA, Anastasya NIFONTOVA from Russia as well as Great Britain’s Patsy QUICK were all very much applaused by the numerous passionates present at the start.
On the car’s side, the magnificent sounds of the two TOYOTA pick up trucks, both driven by two belgians, Jackie LOOMANS and Erwin IMSCHOOT but also Kazakhstan’s Kanat SHAGIROV, Balazs SZALAY and Russia’s Anton GRIGOROV impressed the
But its undeniable, the Buggies where « the » attraction of the real passionates and the start in St Cyprien is the perfect illustration.
We have to admit that the « beetles » where looking very cool under the projector lights, even rivalizing with the 4WD in terms of popularity.
Now, the question is ; will the Buggies of Jean Antoine SABATIER, Philippe PORCHERON, Yves FROMONT, Patrick MARTIN or even Mathieu SERRADORI be able to achieve what Jean Louis SCHLESSER did in the first 6 editions by winning against 4WD cars. The six time winner of the event will this time be taking care of the Radio Relay by flying an airplane all along the race.
The start ceremony ended with the 9 trucks registered in the Race, always really appreciated by the public which stayed until the end even the though the cold was getting more and more difficult to handle.
Tomorrow the rally caravan will go towards the south of spain in order to be on time for the ferry. The destination will be the same as last year, after having crossed the Mediteranean Sea everyone will arrive in Nador, Morrocco at 5am on Tuesday December 30th. This will mark the start of the first 117km long stage in northern Morrocco. A perfect training before the 3500km selective sectors remaining before the finish in DAKAR on January 11th 2015.