We were eagerly anticipating Saturday's start to the running of the 2008 Dakar Rally. Unfortunately, the fifteen day, 9,723 kilometer race has been canceled due to concerns of terrorist sabotage. Multiple sources are reporting that local tensions resulting from the December murders of four French tourists in Mauritania and threats from North African terror organizations have pushed the risks beyond reasonable.
The Amaury Sport Association really had no choice but to cancel, considering the danger to both the racers and spectators even after Mauritania had offered up a 3,000 man security force. No word on the possibility of a rescheduled race when things calm down or whether the race will be scrapped altogether. Nobody doubts that safety needs to come first, but we'd wager there are a lot of racers with long faces today.