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DATE News (chronologically)
03/29/08
Dakar
Security company wants Gordon to stop using its logos  UPDATE Robby Gordon response:

"We are disappointed by Vanguard's decision to present our issues to the media.  But given the inaccuracies and misleading statements recently published by Vanguard, we want to make sure that the public is aware of important information pertaining to the 2008 Dakar event.

"The organizer of the Dakar races, ASO, will present the 2008 Dakar Series race in Central Europe beginning April 19, 2008.  As with the originally planned Dakar event, the race in Europe will be a cross country endurance off-road event that will traverse threatening and difficult terrain in multiple stages.  The race will be covered by international media, and the coverage will be carried by media outlets throughout the world.  ASO describes the 2008 Dakar event, dubbed the Central Europe Rally, as follows: "The demands on competitors of the Central Europe Rally will be equivalent to those of the Dakar.  The quality of competition also guarantees strong media interest."

"Team Dakar USA major sponsors Hummer, Monster Energy, and Toyo Tires will all participate in the 2008 Dakar Series race in Europe, as will virtually all of the major competitive teams.  Robby Gordon of Team Dakar USA, the only American driver ever to win a stage race in the Dakar, is pleased with the level of support and interest that the new 2008 Dakar event has received thus far.  "We are very excited about the race and our chances in Europe.  ASO has promoted the race.  Our sponsors are generally pleased and our cars are fast. We expect to put on a great race and do well." 

"Monster Energy’s Joe Parsons states they will stand behind Robby Gordon's off road effort.  “We are very excited about the Central Europe rally that will take place in Budapest starting April 19th to the 27th 2008."

"Monster energy will continue to support Team Dakar USA and Robby Gordon through at least the 2010 Dakar. “RG represents our brand well and does an awesome job for us on and off the track.”

Dwight Woodbridge, General Motors Racing Off Road Program Manager added the following:

"We at GM are certainly looking forward to the Central European Rally, the first of the Dakar series events.  The Hummers are ready, the best I have ever seen them as the team did a great job preparing them for the return to Europe.  Team Gordon has improved the race Hummers, including a very valuable test session stateside to tune them for the expected terrain in Eastern Europe.  I feel we will be very competitive and we have supplied both Hummer H3 race trucks with fresh engines for the race.  Hummer is poised to take advantage of the European route, as it offers new and unique opportunities to promote the brand.  We appreciate the effort the organizers put in to creating an event on short notice to fulfill and satisfy our program needs and appreciate all the partners that focused on moving forward under difficult circumstances.  We look forward to participating in the first of a new historical chapter in the Dakar event."

Team Dakar USA and its sponsors are looking forward to the 2008 Dakar Series race in Central Europe with high expectations and great enthusiasm.  We will provide more information as the race draws near.  Watch for your local coverage. RGR PR

03/27/08 A security software firm wants Robby Gordon to remove its logos from his uniforms and equipment as part of a contract dispute that began when the Dakar Rally was cancelled because of terrorism threats.

Vanguard Integrity Professionals is suing Gordon in U.S. District Court in California over the sponsorship of Team Gordon in the Dakar Rally and is asking for $1.15 million back from the driver. The company went public with the dispute Wednesday because it wants Gordon to immediately cease using its logos in his NASCAR ventures, and claims the driver was only authorized to promote Vanguard outside the United States.

"We want the world to know that Vanguard is no longer associated with Team Gordon," the company said in a statement released to The Associated Press.

Gordon could not immediately be reached for comment.

Vanguard had a three-year agreement with Team Gordon to sponsor his Dakar efforts through 2010, and company founder Ronn Bailey was scheduled to race as Gordon's teammate.

But the Amaury Sports Organization cancelled the event the day before its Jan. 5 start because of "direct" threats of terrorism from al-Qaida-linked militants, and Gordon was outspoken in his belief that at least a portion of the 16-day trek should have continued.

Vanguard, which produces software designed to protect its customers from cyber-terrorism attacks, believed the threats were legitimate and agreed with the cancellation.

Gordon publicly disagreed, and blasted the ASO for not having a backup plan. He also downplayed the extent of the threats, which began with the Dec. 24 slayings of a family of French tourists by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Mauritania.

"Let's put it in perspective. Eleven people got killed over there," Gordon said in January. "I'm pretty sure in L.A., we kill 11 a night on the streets of L.A. ... It was a couple of kids in the back of a pickup truck with a couple of AK-47s shot a couple of people.

"I'm sorry to say that. But the reality of it is it's not like it's this big setup bombing."

The company cited Gordon's comments as one of the reasons it sought to cancel its contract with his Dakar teams, and is seeking in court to officially terminate the deal and recover any money Gordon was paid before the event was cancelled.

"It is not positive to be associated with someone who said al-Qaeda attacks are no worse than an average night in America -- especially for a security software company. It's simply not a true or accurate statement," Vanguard told AP.

Gordon contends Vanguard cannot terminate the contract.

Upset that Gordon continues to use Vanguard logos, the company requested a temporary restraining order to prohibit Gordon's use of the logos. The motion was denied March 5 in U.S. District Court. espn.com

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