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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Dakar 2009: Double Diamond Athletic Club joins Rally PanAm as Sponsor.

America’s premier motorcycle rally team has joined with Double Diamond Athletic Club of Reno, Nevada to compete in the Dakar Rally. Double Diamond Athletic Club is an upscale health club that offers athletic performance training and fitness programming for recreational and professional competitors. Owner Mike Shirley is a passionate off-road motorcycle racing enthusiast and is proud to be allied with Rally PanAm for their 2009 Dakar effort.

Jonah Street will race the team’s factory-backed KTM 690 Rally bike. This year, the Dakar Rally starts in Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 3, 2009. The Dakar organization promises all the challenges of the traditional African rally in a new South American venue.

The team is happy that the race is in South America. The area is new to most of the competitors, so the Europeans won't have the advantage of racing in their back yard. The terrain also looks a lot like Baja, which Jonah knows very well. The race organization says: "A huge new element changes the scenery: the cactus!!! It’s really incredible to see, on the first 200 kilometers, forests of 4 meter high cactus. Looks like the doctors will have a lot of tweezer work with the bikers at the bivouac at night." It will be interesting to see how the Dakar regulars deal with cactus.

Double Diamond Athletic Club’s arrival has ended a difficult funding struggle for the team this year. Rally racing is wildly popular in most of the world, but only a fledgling sport in North America. Double Diamond joins major sponsors: PAi, Top1 Oil, KTM North America, and the team’s RIFF RAFF diehard supporter’s club. The Double Diamond Athletic Club rally team is not a big dollar team by any standard. Even without the big bucks, Jonah Street should be competitive this year. He has a fresh bike and he has been training hard. Thanks to KTM North America, he'll have access to KTM's parts truck during the rally. His team of Robb McElroy and Niles Follin are the best support crew in the business. This team doesn’t need a huge budget to run with (and ahead of) the big dogs.

2008/12/19 | 12:42 CET | Editor: MR/HS/PanAm

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