This morning during the 3rd stage of the Transanatolia Rally in Turkey a horrible crash fatally injured 2 competitors. From what is published on the Transanatolia official website what happened was that meanwhile the turkish rider Kemal Merkit and Italian rider Mirco Miotto where stationery on the road looking at their roadbook to find the right track, the dutch rider Wouter Vaarkamp arrived at speed crashing into Kemal and Mirco. Meanwhile Mirco suffered some little injuries, Kemal and Wouter unfortunately were fatally injured.
This is a very sad day for all the rally scene because Kemal Merkit was a real icon of the Dakar and Wouter Vaarkamp was an 18 year old kid approaching his first rallies after having competed also in the Tuareg Rally.
Kemal was well known by everyone for his great spirit and optimism, he was the icon of sportsman and courage. His palmares was incredibly rich, he raced his first Dakar back in the year 2000 and since then he participated 7 times and always by himself with no mechanic or assistance embracing the real privateer spirit of rallies. He not only competed on motorbikes but also loved to race on mountain bikes and in triathlon events. Furthermore he was very involved in growing the motorsport reality in Turkey and in the last Dakar in collaboration with the federation he had managed to bring 2 other turkish riders to race the Dakar.
This is the last video of Kemal which was published just 2 days ago…
I personally knew him well since he was a true friend and had helped me in various occasions. I raced my first ever desert rally in Abu Dhabi racing almost all the stages with him looking after me knowing it was my very first experience. We also rode several Dakar stages together always helping each other out. I will really miss you Kemal.
Rest in peace Kemal and Wouter