18-year-old American off-road racer Sheldon Creed has been disqualified from the 2016 Dakar Rally. After his vehicle took severe damage, the Speed Energy team decided to skip waypoints to try and get somewhere repairs could be made but the race organizers weren’t having it.

Racing legend and longtime Dakar hopeful Robby Gordon had taken Creed under his wing after the young gun consistently kicked ass in short course off-road racing and Gordon’s own Stadium Super Trucks series.

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Just about everyone who follows the Dakar had been watching Creed closely; how would a young competitor do? Especially a sprint-race oriented guy?

Unfortunately we won’t really get to know, because a little more than halfway through the race the organizers at ASO shut him down. The good news is that Creed’ not hurt, and will be racing again soon.

“I would like to thank Toyo Tires and Robby Gordon for believing in me, and giving me the opportunity to showcase my driving skills on a world-wide scale. This has been an absolute blast, and an experience I will remember for a lifetime. Looking forward to getting the 2016 Stadium Super Trucks season started in Australia in little over a month,” he said in an official team statement.

Here’s their full account of what went down:

“Creed, the youngest starter ever in the Dakar’s history would encounter clutch troubles during Stage 8 after getting stuck, while stopped his Toyo Tires/KMC Wheels Gordini would get hit by two other competitors causing extensive damage to the right and left side.”

“Knowing his race vehicle was beat up, and the crew needed to get started on repairs right away for Stage 9, Creed bypassed a couple waypoints knowing he would be assessed a penalty. To the Team SPEED’s surprise today ASO officials determined his actions were severe enough to disqualify him from the rest of competition.”

RaceDezert is on the ground at the rally and got an awesome image of Creed’s ravaged Gordini race car being towed by Gordon’s. Well, visually awesome. Definitely a heartbreaker for the Speed Energy team that’s dumped so many dollars and hours into this year’s Dakar Rally.

Robby Gordon and co-driver Kellon Walch will continue on in the 312 Gordini.

I noticed “Creed can’t wait to give the Dakar another shot” was conspicuously absent from Team Speed Energy’s press release. I wonder if half a race was enough Dakar for the kid, or the team just wants to see how the rest of this year shakes out before making plans for 2017.

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It’s a shame Creed won’t get the chance to try for the finish, but then again the rules are what make it a rally and not just a bunch of maniacs charging blindly across the desert into Valhalla.

Image via Team Speed Energy


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.