Beppe Gualini presents the Dakar 1985

Statistics say that the Paris-Dakar is known from about 58% of the population. What is the secret of this race engine design, the hardest in the world to drive, bikes and trucks will compete on African roads? Definitely the allure of adventure, the common denominator of all things that today affect the general public. Not surprisingly it has earned the reputation of being the ultimate adventure. But perhaps many know only images, and not the mechanism. The Paris-Dakar is a real contest of speed that lasts 22 days, departing 11 January from Paris, and arriving in Dakar, capital of Senegal.

After crossing the France, with boarding Sète, Here's the Algeria with harsh and selective tracks, the Niger Arbre du Ténéré desert where a challenging route puts a strain on the competitors; but overcome these obstacles the race isn't that half. Here's the Upper Volta, Mali, Mauritania, with high and treacherous terrain orientation, Finally the Senegal, where do I start to breathe an air of celebration, Although, to the finish, on the beach of the Atlantic, nothing is ever said. This is the real reason that he brought the Paris-Dakar rally to be known: the unexpected.

For the places where, in the desert or abandoned slopes of Mauritania, the man is continually to struggle not only against the clock, but also against ull that await him in ambush, from losing our way and have to be able to take the right course, to have a mechanical problem and having to settle with makeshift. In a moment the situations tip suddenly: from a ludicrous speed of about 180 kilometers Backcountry hours you pass to deep stall where a small problem, because of the environmental conditions, becomes insurmountable and luck plays a major role in the execution of thousands of stories that take place within the competition.

But who are the participants? We are first and foremost professionals, pilots running to a house officer who comes up with team consisting of motorcycle, cars and trucks and aircraft mechanics support organization.

Are the drivers who carry on the image of a manufacturer, by competitive, that struggle daily with the best result, risk it all to all. Are those that attract the interest of the general public as they are the darlings, the myths. have been, and can be, the possible terrible Marathon winners. Beside them, Here are the stars of the moment who come from all walks of, from the world of song, of cinema, fashion and high society.

Are the names that do not have a fundamental role in competitive field attracts the attention of the mass media. But the real adventurers are individuals, ordinary people but with the passion of the engines, that, After doing the international license (mandatory), invest all their savings, they risk their means and their, holidays to live too, Maybe for once only, immersed in the great adventure. In an absolute sense is the biker who lives the greatest suffering, feelings and joys as everything is always just on his shoulders. Subject to all the inconvenience, from hot, in the cold, Weatherproof, the maximum risk of limb.

Only, physical and mental stress in dividing the big decisions and difficult times. Representing the Backpack, his faithful companion, the biker wears the bare minimum: a mandatory survival kit with radio aerial signal, (once turned on automatically means that it is fuoricorsa), bright flares, aluminium a survival blanket, a compass, a knife, a food ration Enervit, fructose and salt tablets, the sleeping bag, the water bottle cage and a pouch with an air Chamber for repairs to be performed on the fly.

But we see, in principle, How is a day. The morning the alarm clock is at the crack of dawn, the departure may be at six or seven o'clock and then two hours before the camp begins to swarm. Is kicked off every 30 seconds, one after another, leaving before the bikers then the cars and trucks. Each driver has a constant companion: road book that points the way from per-run, the tracks to be taken, the dangers, the degrees of the compass, exact kilometers to arrive without problems in the evening at camp. On average the kilometres are 600 or 700, with minimum stages, by 450 and also maximum 1.100 kilometers to the marathon stages.

After a stretch of transfer (50-100 kilometers) with a time limit, Here is the start of real special stage, kilometres of pure speed where the opponent is not only the time, but also the psychological and physical fatigue especially. The unexpected always lurking puts a strain on not only the means but also the men who must have a good preparation in all areas, the driving technique, to mechanics, the orientation, to survive and make a living. Upon reaching the finish line, starts a second day, the long lines to fill up with fuel, or have a cup of hot soup and steaming.

the night, in the light of lamps powered by generators or front batteries, work hours to tidy up the vehicle to the next stop do not count, often the Sunrise surprise men still intent on working! Nothing should be left to chance, because only a really meticulous preparation can guarantee a successful outcome. The costs of this race are very high, given the technical needs and last about a month.

Two facts that speak for themselves: a biker, just to cover the participation in the Paris-Dakar, spends 15 millions; This figure includes the inscription, the ferries, the planes, the equipment (radio) mandatory, the daily diet (does not include water) and gasoline.

And’ excluded from this figure the cost of the bike, for spare parts and assistance, which means having only one chance in a thousand to get to the finish line. Drive, always not counting the cost of the medium and its mandatory preparation (roll-bar and extra fuel tanks), the cost is of course equal to twice. Here the importance of sponsors is not only for the economy but also for the technical; in fact, participants need special materials highly reliable, both from a mechanical point of view, and clothing industry, the power supply and all accessories. Consequently the market does draw crucial advantage for testing indisputable, for the subsequent large-scale production.

This year, in its eighth edition, the Paris-Dakar rally sees the way beyond 200 bike, 250 cars and all trucks in the race and assistance; a caravan of 1.500 men. The prologue takes place 29 December in Cergy-Pontoise (a few kilometres away from Paris); the means will be exposed then to Versailles where on January 1 will be the actual departure. The Italian participation, increasingly fierce in motorcycle field, with the participation of official houses as the Cagiva, the Guzzi, the Yamaha and Honda Italy. In their hope to be present among that handful of survivors who will see the much desired and dreamed of the beach in Dakar.

Beppe Gauri

Interview taken by Jonathan Size Adventure

A special thanks to Andrea (Gitan) for the material provided