Posted at ESPN.com, the Dakar Rally is moving to South America for 2009. After the 2008 Rally was canceled due to terrorist threats by stone-age towelheads, Race director Etienne Lavigne told ESPN today the event will run through Argentina and Chile in 2009:

Race director Etienne Lavigne detailed the route in a telephone interview Monday. He was already in Buenos Aires, scouting out the Argentine capital that will host the start and finish of next year’s race.

“It’s a very, very big adventure,” Lavigne said.

This year marked the first time that the 30-year-old rally, one of the biggest competitions in automobile racing, was called off. Next year will mark the first time that it will not race in Africa.

According to Lavigne the race will return to Africa when it can. Seems to me they should stay out of that hellhole. It’s hard to imagine it will be any different in the future. But that’s just me. [found via RacerX Illustrated]

One of the great things about motorcycling, whether it be off-road or on, is that you can forget about the world around you and just focus on the terrain, the ride, the wind, and the experience. It’s like the rest of the world just doesn’t exist when you’re out there riding. Sadly, the rest of the world does exist, and it’s taking an ever greater toll on our passion.

Today ESPN is reporting that the Dakar Rally has been canceled due to threats by al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups in north Africa.

[…] But the threat of an al-Qaida-linked attack pushed the element of risk to levels organizers deemed unacceptable. They canceled the epic race on Friday, meaning terrorists have ensured there will be no spectacular images this year of dune buggies throwing up clouds of dust and lone motorcycle riders spinning their wheels in Saharan sands.

It was the first time that the 30-year-old rally, one of the biggest competitions in automobile racing, has been called off. The Dakar is one of the most prominent public events to be canceled since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, when many sports events in the United States were canceled or postponed — some as a result of airport closings or in mourning for the victims. […]

We like to think that racing is immune from such things, but the stone-age cretins of islam are bent on attacking everything that is Western Civilization, including our sporting events. It is a sad day for motorsports.