Andy Caldecott dies in Africa - ABC News

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 07:21
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Australian Caldecott killed in Dakar Rally

Motorcyclist Andy Caldecott, from Keith, South Australia, was killed overnight during the ninth stage of the Dakar rally, as the famous race was once more plunged into mourning for the death of a competitor.

KTM rider Caldecott, who won the third stage from Nador to Er Rachidia in Morocco last Monday, suffered a fatal neck injury at the 250km point of the 599km stage between Nouakchott and Kiffa in Mauritania.

Caldecott, sixth in last year's race, became the 23rd competitor to die in the event since it started 28 years ago. Last year two motorcyclists died - Spain's Juan Manuel Perez and Italy's Fabrizio Meoni.

The death of such an experienced rider - he was a four-time winner of the Australian rally and has won three Dakar stages in all - will further increase calls for improved equipment to give better protection of the neck area.

"We learned at 11:57 GMT of the death of Andy Caldecott who fell after 250km," race director Etienne Lavigne said.

"He probably died instantly. We learned of the accident at 11:31 and the helicopter landed at 11:55. His death was confirmed at 11:57. Obviously his family have been informed."

The 41-year-old Caldecott was married with one child.

He had not been scheduled to compete in this year's race but was called in to replace Spaniard Jordi Duran, who pulled out injured in December.

Lavigne added: "All I know is that he died of a neck injury. Following last year's race we introduced more security measures, including imposing a speed limit. Unfortunately fatal accidents can happen even at moderate speeds."

And on the possibility of better protection for the neck area, Lavigne continued: "We had already seriously considered this type of equipment for all the riders provided they had been tested properly," adding two systems currently being studied had still not been ratified after laboratory tests.

"We even asked KTM to get their riders to wear new equipment during the Dubai rally but the riders' opinion was that it needed to be improved, saying it wasn't practical because it restricted the movement of the head. It was too rigid."

However Eric Bernard, the director of Cyril Despres' team, said efforts should still be made to introduce the equipment. "Any new equipment will initially hamper the riders as was the case when helmets and knee protection were brought in and which everybody still wears today," he said.

Caldecott's team director Jordi Arcarons of Spain said: "This is really difficult to accept and there needs to be more protection for riders but it is too late for Andy. We will have to speak with the riders to help them deal with the situation.

"But you can't change what has already happened and there is always a risk in an event like this."

KTM said on its website that it was at a "loss for words".

"The terrible accidents in the past two years caused us to start with mixed feelings and question our rally engagement," it said.

"The organisers of the Dakar have tried to make the rally safer together with several manufacturers. A tempo limit has been adopted, a GPS system which enables each rider to be located and to allow him to communicate with the organiser. Riders can have more rests now due to shorter tank stops.

"A pretty sporting rally till yesterdays rest day eclipsed the pain of the past - today we were brutally pulled out of our dream to make this rally safe," KTM said, adding: "Our thoughts are with Andy and his family."

Caldecott, who won two stages last year on his way to finishing sixth overall, said after his win last Monday: "I am pretty surprised to have won the stage because I arrived for the Dakar at the last minute without really being prepared for it."

Sad to hear this on the news, I guess we have been watching the broadcasts at 6.30 on SBS.
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Reply By: Member - MrBitchi (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 09:08

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 09:08
bleep .... Have followed Andy's progress closely over the last few years. Was good to see one of our own mixing it with the world's best riders.

Guess it will be on tonights highlights....

RIP Andy. At least you went doing what you love.
AnswerID: 147542

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 10:42

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 10:42
John, it all goes to highlight that we all have a very temporary time to do things on this earth. We can sometimes extendd that time for good but often for other reasons. Andy was doing extremely well in the event and it has been interesting to watch the frustration they experience over the huge dune fields from motorcycles to the trucks.

Yes, he was doing what he loved but my sympathy does go to his family for their loss and the loss of a tough competitor in the field of motor sport. It will be very sad during the broadcast tonight.
FollowupID: 400903

Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 09:15

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 09:15
I too was bleep tered when I saw that on the 6am news this morning.

I have been following his Dakar adventures for the past few years.

Personally I think the Dakar is too tough. Last year two or three drivers and riders were killed. This year the course is even more difficult.

Racing is a risk you take in life but its not a calculated risk, like some of our adventures
AnswerID: 147543

Follow Up By: Original Banjo (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 17:57

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 17:57
Wife and one offspring with a stake in the equation too Willem ......
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Reply By: Original Banjo (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 09:29

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 09:29
Sorry indeed to hear about Andy on the news..... seems to me that you can't hope to win races like that without "riding like there is no tomorrow" - at least that is the impression I get from seeing some of these motor sport events on TV (car rallying too)- the level of skill, provisioning and determination of the competitors is so high that a degree of recklessness has to be factored in it seems, in order to set yourself apart. If you resolve to build in a small safety margin for those unexpected hazards that pop-up, you're just another participant.
AnswerID: 147545

Follow Up By: Member - David 0- Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 20:27

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 20:27
Being a past car rally competitor myself, and having benefited from a little training by some of the best, I have to say that recklessness is definitley NEVER part of the equation.

You are always however, at the limit or close to the limit of your abilities and the abilities of the equipment. Unfortuantely, all it takes then is something unforseen to bring you unstuck. Usually unstuck means embaressment Partly becasue of the skills developed, partly because of the equipment and partly because of adrenalin, competitors often suffer at worst a bit of a shake up.

Odds are however it will go horribly wrong on a particular day for someone. Not recklessness, just the price of risk/reward equation.

RIP Andy

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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 10:27

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 10:27
News and links

Watching the updates on Optus this morning, I missed the bike stage, saw the trucks and cars, then they finished with the news of it, I was in disbelief.

RIP Andy.
AnswerID: 147554

Reply By: Redback - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 11:34

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 11:34
Sad i was to learn of Andys death a great rider and bloke, he will be missed.

My simpathies to his family.

AnswerID: 147566

Reply By: Member - Pezza (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 12:44

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 12:44
R.I.P. Andy

AnswerID: 147584

Reply By: signman - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 13:25

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 13:25
RIP a great biker & a great Aussie
AnswerID: 147591

Reply By: tojo - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 16:19

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 16:19
A true aussie legend who always gave his best ,and then some .
Died doing what he loved
deepest sympathy to his family...r.i.p
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Reply By: muppo - Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 17:16

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006 at 17:16
He Lived it Like it was his last! Thanks for the joys over the years Andy!

AnswerID: 147626

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