AMERICA RALLIES BEHIND THE TWO MEN WHO HAVE KEPT US IN THE RALLY THUS FAR
DAKAR Fever has swept North America with Robby Gordon and Johnny Campbell displaying a tremendous effort at the 2012 version of the world’s most grueling motorsports event and for good reason. No American has ever won this event. Alas, Gordon and Campbell have been putting on an incredible show and, compared to the DAKAR establishment of European team, it’s been quite the David and Goliath story. The 2WD rear engine HUMMER has been so much faster than the 4WD MINI’s but reliability is half of the game.
Today, Americans watched in dismay as Gordon and Campbell ominously missed the proper start time of zone 2 on the timed special stage, leading the blogshpere to conclude that these two were out of contention, if not the rally all together. The duo has been marred with issues from the very first stage when the Orange HUMMER had to stop to tow former teammate Nasser AL Attiyah’s HUMMER to the finish of that day’s special stage. This continued at least two more times on successive stages, costing Gordon and Campbell valuable time.
ROBBY GORDON: “We lost a CV joint boot and when we finished the first special we tried to change it. It took us too long to change and we missed the transfer section. At the end it was very bad and the silt is all inside the clutch, so we’ve lost the clutch and a wheel fell off… We’ve just had a bad day – we had a horrible day. The only way we’ll win is if the other guys have problems, but I’m pretty sure De Villiers got past us too. But, you know, that’s the Dakar. You fight, fight, fight and hopefully it doesn’t get you, but today it just got us, for no reason. A 1 dollar part, a hose clamp broke. That put is in a position to miss everything else, so it was a bad day for us, but we’ll just keep fighting until the end. We won’t give up. You never know what will happen, so we’ll ride to Lima.”
Later on, after the Gordon won stage 9, DAKAR organizers began “scrutinizing” the HUMMER’s “auto-inflation” system for its tires and outright disqualified Gordon. He immediately appealed and was allowed to continue the rally on a “conditional” basis. This happened on the same stage that Al-Attiyah “tapped-out” of the rally. Then, Frenchmen Stephane Peterhansel outraged the entire motorcycle community when he and his MINI were filmed clipping Italian motor biker Filippo Ciotto (#59) –see RDC homepage for this story
TODAY’S STAGE 11 VIDEO SUMMARY
Gordon and Campbell, a duo of opposites, are credited with inspiring American fans to “rally” behind Team SPEED and the HUMMER crew. They represent America’s only hope for a 2012 DAKAR Rally championship. Despite a host of issues ranging from mechanical to navigational, the HUMMER has posted some extremely impressive stages including back to back 2nd place finishes before their stage 9 stage win.
Today’s disappointing stage for the HUMMER caused hearts to drop as it was believed that the duo’s hope were totally dashed. But we offer the following case for optimism: The next 2 day’s stages are unprecedented as the DAKAR has never raced in PERU until this morning. Tomorrow will bring many unknown challenges to all the competitors include mystic and massive sand dune mountains, treacherous canyons and likely wetspot as PERU has experienced severe rains in recent days and week. Do not give up hope on the HUMMER and the SPEED ENERGY crew. They have a lot invested.