On Thursday around 4.30 pm, 25 selected riders were on the starting line for this first long distance race of the 2010 Dakhla Festival. Top favourite Björn Dunkerbeck was leading the race from the beginning on and could take the victory in the Western Sahara. Bieuzy Mauffrey, from France, took the 2nd place closely followed by the young French slalomracer Pascal Toselli.
All the competitors talked about the particular nature of the course. The lagoon of Dakhla gives us an unique place to ride. “On the water, in the middle of the bay, we can glance at the sand dunes background, says Sarah Hébert, 1st women rider finishing the race. “We even hesitate to stop on the coast to see this landscape closer.
Sailing on very large legs, the riders are finally evolving in an extreme environment as they is still a risk for them to sail the wrong course! Once arrived, Björn Dunkerbeck explained : “Even if we didn’t sail for 80 km today, we can already imagine that the course will be very long when feeling the result of 40 km in our legs!” Even the great racing experience of the world champion was challenged, and he confided us : “I tried to stay close to the sailors’ group so that I don’t lose myself, with keeping a certain distance to win the event.”
Anders Bringdal, greatest Björn’s rival had to give up because he broke his equipment
The wind did not show up for a second race and Björn Dunkerbeck took the victory. Congratulations, also to Sarah Hebert, who could win the ladies class.
In the waveriding discipline we saw only men competing. The strong sailing French Thomas Traversa – he finished the 2009 PWA wavetour in excellent 5th position overall – could beat Hawaii based traveller Fabrice Beaux in the final. In third position the best placed Morrocan Soufiane Sahli followed. Moroccan super star Boujmaa Guilloul could not fight for the title in the final, because he had to fly to a wave competition in Japan.
LONG DISTANCE MEN:
1. Björn Dunkerbeck
2. Bieuzy Mauffret
3. Pascal Toselli
LONG DISTANCE WOMEN:
1. Sarah Hébert
2. Ainoha Garcia
3. Fabienne D’Ortoli
1. Thomas Traversa
2. Fabrice Beaux
3. Soufiane Sahli
1. Soufiane Sahli
2. Abde Louahed Labdi
3. Faycel Hmidi
Text: © Christine Laemmel, Relations Presse Sport, Festival de Dakhla 2010