The following is from KTM Australia...

Australia is mourning the tragic loss of our country's greatest ever rally rider, Andy Caldecott, who suffered a fatal crash in the Dakar Rally on Monday.

The four-time Australian Safari winner from Keith in South Australia was participating in his third Dakar Rally following an invitation to represent Spain's KTM-Repsol Team.

Caldecott first competed in the Dakar in 2004, retiring in 6th position after courageously finishing stage seven with a broken ankle. In 2005 Caldecott returned to Dakar showing the world he was a rider to be reckoned with after taking two stage wins at Smara and Kayes, finally realising his dream in reaching the beaches of Dakar, finishing the rally 6th outright.

Caldecott was a late entry for the 2006 Dakar after receiving a call up two weeks prior to the beginning of the event. Caldecott still showed he is a true champion, winning stage three on January 2 at Er Rachidia, as he clocked the fastest time of 3h21'11" on the 314km special.

Tragedy struck Caldecott on stage nine of Dakar, after placing as high as 4th overall in the standings. Race officials have confirmed Caldecott was on a fast section yet not exceeding the speed limit of 160kph; his accident was merely the punishing landscape taking control.

Caldecott's passion was motorcycle riding. He first rode a bike at the tender age of 8 years old and started competing at the age of 10, winning numerous junior motocross state and national titles.

By 15 years old Caldecott was South Australian Junior Motocross Champion and spent the next ten years of his racing career winning state motocross titles and competing in the famous Mr Motocross Titles. He then hung up his racing boots for as long as seven years, until his passion was rekindled in the form of vintage motocross, where he went on to win 17 National Vintage Motocross Championships and two World Vintage Motocross Championships.

By 1999, Caldecott had taken an interest in long distance rally riding, entering his first Australian Safari. In his first meeting Caldecott was leading the Australian Safari but was forced to retire early due to injury. Returning to the Australian Safari in the year 2000, Caldecott won the event outright and followed through with consecutive wins in 2001, 2002 and 2003. The year 2002 also saw Caldecott win the 35 years class at the classic Finke Desert Race in Alice Springs.

Reognised as Australia's biggest name in safari rally events, Caldecott's reputation soon spread overseas and by 2003, he received invitations to ride in the Rally Optic in Tunisia placing 4th, the Rally Orpi in Morocco placing 7th and the UAE Desert Challenge in Dubai placing 6th. These results placed Caldecott equal 3rd in the 2003 World Cross Country Rally Championship.

It was in 2004 that Caldecott's dream came true to ride in the world's toughest rally - Dakar. His passion for riding combined with his reputation for a cool mind and grace on a motorcycle saw him return to Dakar until it tragically took his life. Never a risk taker and always a smart rider, Caldecott's passing in the 2006 Dakar is a tragic loss.

While motorcycle racing was his passion, Caldecott's greatest love of all was his immediate family, his supportive wife Tracey and beautiful daughter Caitlin.

All who knew Andy Caldecott loved him. A great Australian rally legend that will be sadly missed by the motorcycle fraternity, his wife Tracey and daughter Caitlin, as we mourn in the loss of a heroic man.

KTM send their love and thoughts to the Caldecott family and request the industry and media respect the Caldecott family's wishes to be left in peace to mourn the loss of husband, father, son, brother and friend.

Rest in Peace Andy, our memories will never fade mate.

KTM Australia

Off-Road Racing News

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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