Wings for Life, the research foundation started by Heinz Kinigadner and Dietrich Mateschitz is to receive a massive boost from an eBay online auction in which Cyril Despres’ Dakar winnning KTM 690 Rally bike is up for grabs.

Kinigadner, former MX world champion and KTM’s Offroad Motor Sports Consultant was prompted to create Wings for Life following a tragic motorcycle competition accident in which his own son was left paralyzed. The Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation is a privately funded non-profit organization that promotes worldwide research directed at finding a putative cure for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).

“When we started to ask for a few unusual items we soon came to realise that these people were more than willing to give us some of their personal memorabilia and trophies,” Kinigadner said speaking of his efforts to raise items for the auction. .

The auction, to be held on the eBay internet platform from March 13-30, offers a unique opportunity for bidders to acquire more than 40 premium articles. They include memorabilia from the world of action sports, pieces of art and the opportunity to purchase a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Cyril Despres’ Dakar bike to go to highest bidder

Dakar winning KTM 690 up for grabs at Wings for Life auction
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Cyril Despres

Leading the list is David Coulthard’s F1 racing car used in the Silverstone GP in Britain but one of the most sought after items will be the second item in the auction catalogue, the KTM 690 Rally bike ridden by KTM factory rider Cyril Despres. The machine, tested in the extreme conditions of the world’s toughest rally, features a single cylinder, 4-stroke motor, 654 cc displacement and weighs 162 kg. The French rider, a member of the KTM Rally Factory Team, won the Dakar Rally in 2005 and 2007 and is ranked among the absolute elite in rally sport. The bike is expected to attract enthusiastic bidding and raise a significant sum for the Wings for Life auction.

Other premier KTM items

For bidders with a more modest budget but who have a passion to acquire some outstanding motorcycle gear, Article 22 on the auction list, the personally autographed leather jacket of KTM factory rider Marc Coma, is also being offered. Coma and Despres not only share their factory rider status with KTM but are the closest of rivals in the world of top class motorcycle rallying. Coma was all set to use the jacket in the ill-fated Dakar 2008 when it was cancelled 24-hours from the start because of terrorist threats.

Kallio’s Helmet

In the world of international 250cc road racing, the number 36 is that of a very prominent Red Bull KTM factory rider, Mika Kallio of Finland. 125cc Rookie of the Year in 2002 and vice world champion in 125cc in 2005 and 2006, Kallio started to make his mark on the 250 cc class in 2007. He rides into the 2008 season as a title favourite and his racing helmet is among the auction attractions listed as Article 32.

MX treasures

Motocross enthusiasts will also be able to bid for two unique MX items – the racing helmet of multi-world MX champion Stefan Everts, who now leads the KTM Red Bull MX Factory Team, which is listed at number 34 in the auction catalogue and the Motocross racing shirt of Spanish MX1 KTM factory rider Jonathan Barragan, listed at item number 23. Barragan of Spain goes into the 2008 racing season as leading MX1 rider in the Italian-based, KTM-supported Team Silver Action, naturally onboard his KTM machine.

The Wings for Life Charity Auction not only creates an exceptional opportunity to acquire unique sports and art memorabilia but also to support a worthy cause directly related to sports injuries - and one that is enthusiastically supported by KTM. Heinz Kinigadner underlined that funds raised from auctioning this unique collection of items will be used to make further progress in the field of spinal cord research through the Wings for Life Foundation.

Wings for Life Charity Auction @ eBay March 13-30, 2008.

Source: KTM

Anthony Kodack
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