The Namibian (Windhoek)

14 January 2013

Namibia: Ingo Waldschmidt Shoots Up the Field

INGO Waldschmidt gave a brilliant performance to finish 14th on Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally on Saturday, while he moved up to 50th overall in the motorbike category.

Waldschmidt had been averaging in the 50s up till then, but on Saturday, some great riding and a bit of luck saw him shooting up the field.

According to his wife Lisa, she could not believe the result when she first heard it. Lisa was busy entertaining some friends with her annual 'Dakar Halfway Party' at home in Windhoek when she received an SMS saying that Ingo came 14th.

"Our party was underway and I was sporadically checking the website. Then I got an SMS from Ingo's mechanic's wife, saying 'INGO IN AT 14th.' Thinking there was a problem with the waypoints system, I didn't want to get too excited. So I checked again, and again, and sure as freaking bob, it was correct," she said.

Ingo later called Lisa and he, too, was shocked when he heard the result.

"Ingo called at about 23h30 sounding happy. He didn't know how he'd done for the day and when I told him... he was ÃœBER-shocked. He just kept saying 'wow, are you sure, wow man, this is unbelievable, wow, OK,' and laughed," she said.

According to Lisa, the overnight rain of the previous evening and a wrong turn by several of the riders counted in Ingo's favour.

"Luckily due to all the rain that had fallen the night before, there was minimal to no dust on most of the route, which made overtaking quads and other riders much easier and safer.

What also apparently happened was a lot of guys got lost over the last 100km when the front guy took a wrong route and they all followed him. It just proves that one has to do your own tracking and not rely on the rider in front of you - I guess they all learned a valuable lesson," she said.

Yesterday was a rest day for the riders, who spent most of the day doing mechanical work and repairs on their bikes. According to Lisa, Ingo decided not to put in a new engine, saying that his KTM engine was running fine.

"For those who followed him at the last Dakar race - he finished third overall in the marathon category, meaning he rode the whole race with just one engine. He is trying to still compete in that group again this year. Also if they put a new engine in the bike they get 15 minutes added to their time," she said.

"He ended the call saying, 'I won't ride any differently from here on out, I just had a lucky day' and that this finish was the motivation he needed to tackle the next half of the rally," she concluded.

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