Off-road riders Kellon Walch, Chris Blais and Andy Grider have been tapped to take part in the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Dakar team.
Selections were made after a punishing five-day Dakar-style desert challenge held near Primm, Nev. and in Dumont Dunes. Scot Harden, vice president of media relations for KTM North America, will serve double duty as the team manager and a rider. Walch and Blais will join Harden on the three-man roster; Grider joins as an alternate.
Six riders accepted the invitation to test for the team. Walch, Blais and Grider were joined by Casey McCoy, Jonah Street, and Kenny Bartram, participating in a series of Rally-like simulations, with challenges including navigation exercises, a simulated 500 mile-long Rally stage, and a series of competitions in the dunes culminating in a ninety minute finale. The riders were confronted by many challenges; sleep deprivation, heat, long distances and many unknowns that go along with rally competitions.
The judging panel included Malcolm Smith, Danny LaPorte, Jimmy Lewis and Team Co-Manager Joe Barker. Harden participated alongside the riders to get a birds-eye view of how the competitors were doing.
Additional members of the Red Bull KTM U.S. Dakar team include mechanics Thomas McDonald and Bret Leef, and team physician Dr. Jonathan Edwards.
The Red Bull KTM Dakar U.S. Rider Rally Challenge was filmed for a two-hour special scheduled for future broadcast on OLN. The newly established team is scheduled to compete in the upcoming Baja 1000, prior to the January start of the Dakar Rally.
Copyright 2004 Powersports Business