Three-time winner of Dakar, Frenchman Cyril Despres, will make his Australian debut at this year’s Australasian Safari. Despres is currently the most accomplished long distance off-road motorbike rider in the world and has finished on the Dakar podium an incredible seven times in the last eight years.
Despres said he was looking forward to the challenge of the Australasian Safari: “Australia is a continent that has always fascinated me. I grew up near Paris but I always dreamed of being in wide open spaces and as I understand it you have a few wide open spaces in Australia! Also I have done over 60 rallies in my career and the Safari is the only major event that I haven’t yet done. From what I understand you have some very good riders in Australia who are both fast and good navigators so I think there will be plenty of competition. And of course I have never done the race before and while it seems similar to other events I have done, experience is always a useful commodity.”
Despres will go to Australia directly from the Rally dos Sertoes in Brazil with just his manager and a mechanic and not his full Dakar back up crew. Once in Australia and during the event he will be supported by a team from KTM Australia.
Australian motorsport fans can meet Despres and see his KTM450 Rally bike along with a hundred other moto, auto and quad competitors at Hillary’s Boat Harbour on September 22 before they hit the WA outback and head up the coast to Geraldton and then inland through the remote northern goldfields, via Mt Magnet, Sandstone, Laverton and Leonora before reaching Kalgoorlie on 30 September.