LAS VEGAS – January 4, 2008 – Vanguard Integrity Professionals CEO, CTO and founder, Ronn Bailey, expressed his "devastation" and "significant disappointment" in light of today's announcement that, for the first time in 30 years, the Dakar race has been cancelled. The decision to call off the race was due to direct security threats made by Al Qaeda to attack the race from Portugal to Senegal.
Bailey, whose company provides enterprise security software to approximately 500 U.S. and foreign governments, multinational corporations and large enterprises, has confirmed the significant security risk with his own sources. Bailey was making his 4th Dakar attempt as part of the only All-American team, NASCAR veteran Robby Gordon's Team Dakar USA. Bailey and Gordon joined together in part to highlight American innovation, determination and international goodwill.
"The organizers of the race made the right decision. The Dakar is the second most watched sporting event overseas, after the World Cup. It is a high profile target and the remote terrain the race covers isn't very secure," Bailey explains. "Despite the danger, you can imagine hundreds of drivers and support teams that were like horses in a starting gate waiting for a bell that now won't ring. We hope circumstances are different next year as we plan to be back."
The 16-day race, scheduled to start tomorrow and cover more than 6,000 km (3,600 miles) of punishing African terrain, had a route from Lisbon, through Portugal, Morocco and Mauritania with the finish in Dakar, Senegal. In 2007, 245 motorcycles, 180 cars and 85 trucks started the race, while only one-third finished.
Bailey's company signed a three-year deal to sponsor Robby Gordon's Team Dakar USA. Bailey plans to enter other off-road races in the U.S. and abroad.