Will Antoine Meo race the 2017 Dakar? It’s a question many are asking of the five-time Enduro World Champion as he battles to be fit enough in time to compete.
Still suffering the effects from a pair of broken wrists during Dakar 2016, the road to Dakar 2017 next January is proving a tough one.
“It’s a difficult situation to be in at the minute,” tells Meo. “Right now I can see improvement in my wrist but for a while I could not bend it. I couldn’t use a knife to cut my food, things were tough.”
Crashing “within” finishing distance of the 2016 Dakar Rally last January, Meo was dealt the cruel hand of a dislocated wrist on one arm and a broken scaphoid bone on the other.
Soldiering on the final 100 kilometres to ensure a top ten result of seventh, the then rally rookie stepped off his bike on January 15th and didn’t ride again until September 5th. Needless to say it’s been an arduous eight months for the Frenchman.
“I’ve broken my wrist before and while I recovered quickly back then this time it’s a lot different. The Dakar is a much longer race, the toll on the body is greater.
“Right now the problem is the pain. I can ride one day but after that I need three days to recover. So I am very far away from the racing that I want.”
Now with his rivals already racing and building towards the 2017 event, Meo together with KTM must make the decision as to whether Dakar is on the cards or not.
“I don’t want to ride for a finish, this is just not me, admits Meo. “I don’t want to go to Dakar as a water boy.
“My goal is still to win the Dakar then switch to cars. I want to try everything to do that.
“But by November 5th if I can’t ride five days without pain then I don’t feel I can do the rally. Then I’ll know…”