Francisco López Contardo

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Francisco "Chaleco" López 1.jpg

Francisco "Chaleco" López (born 15 September 1975 in Curicó, Región del Maule, Chile) is a rally raid, motocross and enduro motorcycle rider. He was a winner of one stage of the 2009 Dakar Rally, three stages of the 2010 Dakar Rally finishing third overall, and one stage in the 2011 Dakar Rally finishing fourth overall.

López began riding motorcycles at 4 years of age through the encouragement of his father Renato López, a national motocross champion. His nickname Chaleco comes from the Spanish for vest, particularly the vest used for race protection.

Career[edit]

In 1989 López came first in the Latin American Motocross Championship in the 85cc class, which resulted in him becoming an official Honda rider. Between 1990 and 1994 he competed in the Chilean National Motocross Championship 125cc category, and was placed twice and won twice, and between 1995 and 2000 in the 250cc category of the same competition was placed once and won five times. He also won the Latin American Supercross Championship in 1998.

Lopez in the 2010 Dakar Rally, near Copiapó.

In 2001 López became the first Chilean rider to receive a gold medal in the Six Days of France competition at Brive-la-Gaillarde. The following year he rode in the 250cc four-stroke endurance world championship in Finland, gaining eighth place. He finished tenth overall in the 500cc four-stroke category in the same event in 2003. After a gold medal in the 2003 Six Days of Brazil competition at Fortaleza he was named as "best rider of year" by Chilean sports' journalists.

In 2004 he was national runner-up in super enduro, and participated again in the National Motocross Championship, and in Supermotard competitions. The following year he made his competitive debut in the Patagonia-Atacama Rally, withdrew through mechanical problems after winning the fourth stage, but finished in fourth position overall. He also debuted at the National Championship Motocross Entel, coming second in the 250cc category.

In 2006 López was placed first in the 450cc category of Patagonia-Atacama Rally, second in the d'Italia Sardegna Rally (Italy), and second in the 450cc category of the Morocco Rally.

He participated for the first time in the Dakar Rally in 2007 but had to withdraw during the race.[1] Dakar 2008 was cancelled as a competition and replaced by an alternative, the Central Europe Rally, in which López came second. He returned to Dakar in 2009, winning the first stage and finishing seventh overall. The same year he was placed third in the Tunisia Rally.[2] In the 2010 Dakar Rally he won the fifth, eighth and twelfth stage, was awarded first place in the 450cc category and third place overall. His Dakar third place, a position shared with his compatriot Carlo de Gavardo who competed in the 2001 Dakar Rally, is the highest placing of a Latin American at Dakar.[3]

Honours[edit]

Year Tournament Result
1989 Latin American Motocross Championship 1st
1990 National Motocross Championship(125cc.) 2nd
1991 1st
1992 3rd
1993 1st
1994
1995 National Motocross Championship (250cc.) 2nd
1996 1st
1997
1998
1998 Latin American Supercross Championship
1999 National Motocross Championship (250cc.)
2000
2001 Six Days of France Gold medal
2003 Six Days of Brazil
2006 Patagonia–Atacama Rally 1st
d'Italia Sardegna Rally 2nd
Morocco Rally (450cc.)
2008 Central Europe Rally 2nd
2009 Tunisia Rally 3rd
2010 Dakar Rally
2010 Tunisia Rally 1st

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chaleco López abandoned the 2007 Dakar.". Canal 13. Retrieved January 16, 2010. 
  2. ^ ""Chaleco" López arrived third in the Rally of Tunisia.". Triunfo.cl. Retrieved January 16, 2010. 
  3. ^ ""Chaleco" López ended third at 2010 Dakar Rally.". La Tercera. Retrieved January 16, 2010. 

External links[edit]