Mercandelli and Grassotti with 125 towards the Dakar 1988

Carlo Alberto Mercandelli had the dealer Volkswagen which boasted the largest motorcycle throughout the Italian clientele. From his living room in Casale Monferrato came out the cars of the cross, enduro and also the speed.
There was a reason for this, and the reason goes beyond the inevitable discount. Carlo Alberto after being an excellent pilot cross had stood in around like juvenile cross national Manager. An activity that had kept alive the passion and desire to drive.
So after a first experience in the Paris-Dakar ' 86, and the fifteenth place overall and first in class (with a Yamaha 350) the Rally of the Pharaohs, tried the adventure.
«Commitments with the IMF keep me busy between February and October, and I remain. the winter months to devote to bike. So I approached the rally and in Africa I found my favorite terrain. Africa is beautiful. The contact and the contrast between Earth and sky offer unique sensations».

They are not lacking contingencies...
"Already, in 1986 After ten days of competition a little boy in the night stole the boots. I left for the stage in sneakers but I didn't do a long way. Fell almost immediately by retreating to a dislocated collarbone».

This year the difficulties you've go to try running with a 125.
"Of course is a bit’ madness, and if you'd thought over probably would have given up on this adventure. Instead the decision was matured in a hurry. the Yamaha Belgarda has offered to help me as long as I ran with a 125 Ténéré serie».

Much more thought out was the choice of Giovan Battista (said «Beat») Gargate, writing in the Paris-Dakar with a Aprilia Tuareg Rally 125.
"The idea of running with a 125 I came up with last year while returning to Paris after I retired from Niamey.
Be the first to arrive in Dakar on an 125 It would be wonderful, of course I would be glad to do it along with Mercandelli. I front and one behind».

Having a companion of displacement, Although brand opponent, will help?
«Definitely. I'm very glad I'm not the only one to try. In two we can help and we have a better chance to succeed».

Do you believe?
"Technically I don't see why a good 125 modern shouldn't do that. The problem will be that, not being fast, We'll have to drive for hours in the dark».

Ed. The Dakar Mercandelli stopped 4 of January in stage Sahan Berry-Bir Larache. To Grassotti during the fifth stage.

Source Motosprint
Thanks Clement Canino for photos


Cagiva team to Dakar 1988

The pilots are: Serge Bacou, Alessandro De Petri, Gilles Picard and Franco Gualdi.

Terruzzi Honda 1988-3

Claudio Terruzzi Dakar 1988

Claudio Terruzzi on Honda NXR 750 the Dakar 1988 where he finished 5°

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Group photos Dakar 1988

Italians in Dakar, standing from the left Fatemian, Charles Edson, Orioli, Terruzzi and Gates. Kneeling Spike, Gauri and Winkler.



Honda NXR 750 Dakar 1988

The excellent results achieved by Italian riders in marathons in Africa and in particular in the Paris-Dakar, begin to have proper recognition on the part of Japanese houses. For the first time this year Honda Italy will take the field with the same bike entrusted by the parent company to the French sister company.

One of the drivers of the team Italian, place under the technical guidance of Massimo Ormeni, will be Vinod B that the Dakar will lead the version ' 88 of NXR 750, winner 1987 with Cyril Neveu African Marathon. The same “Crossbow” pointed out at the Bologna Motor Show the weapon with which he will attempt to become the first Italian winner of the Paris-Dakar. B has already tried the NXR 750 in Tunisia and is excited.

«Respect to Thumper that drove last year, the NXR 750 It is another thing. And a particularly balanced bike, sfruttabilissima even at low rpm. You can resume in quinta da 2000 rounds without the engine betray the slightest problem. The top speed on the straights dirt tracks is fantastic, In addition 190 km/hour, against the 160 scarce of Thumper. Despite being heavier and bulky, handles just as well and the riding position is more comfortable and less tiring. In addition, than the Thumper the engine is less “pulled”, all to the advantage of the reliability, determinant in-and marathons like the Paris-Dakar. The only sealing problems may arise in close and mixed on the rocks, where weight and space are felt, but on the vast expanses of sand the superiority of twins you can't put into question.

It will rather be able to maintain for over twenty days the frantic pace that bike like the NXR can allow».

«Technically speaking», ' 88 version of the Crossbowmen continues «NXR 750 did not undergo substantial changes than the bike that won the Dakar last year. The HRC (the Honda Racing Division) worked primarily on deployment diagrams to make smooth and constant power delivery to each scheme. Were subsequently adopted a number of solutions that simplify the work of mechanics in maintenance operations.
For instance has been obtained on the cylinder a wide window for the control and adjustment of the cam.
In a race like the Dakar is important to evaluate every detail, in this connection an element which may appear unimportant as the crutch was the result of a careful study, not only in the obvious strength of material, but also the shape and inclination necessary to offer the best anchor in the sand.

«Ormeni staff», explains the Crossbowmen ' has further improved in Japan and was preoccupied with the motorcycle with all accessories required for tackling a tough and unpredictable Marathon which is the Paris-Dakar.

Like you know, one of the most difficult problems to solve is the orientation.
To help me this year I even a compass by helicopter and two sophisticated electronic tripmaster. The stages of the Dakar also provide night transfers and in poor visibility, indispensable therefore a more than efficient lighting system. Double front unit has the power of a halogen headlight from car from gran turismo much we had problems to find a protective cage can withstand considerable heat generated.
Powerful even the taillight that for safety reasons it is double the capacity of the tank has remained of 55 liters (of which 20 in a second tank located in the rear and 17,5 broken down into the two side accommodation). The bike weighs when empty 180 Chili, but at full load exceeds 230, better not to think what might happen if it falls to Earth!»

Source Tuttomoto

Special tks Enrico Bondi


Claudio Towers MotoGuzzi T.A. P. 750 1988

There are few pictures of Claudio Towers and its prototype of Moto Guzzi to Dakar 1988.

Already from the prologue of Paris had emerged the first difficulties caused by bad weather conditions that made the path a hellish trap of mud and rain.

Unfortunately Claudio's race will end during the second stage (the first on African soil). A curiosity that has been confided, the Tropicana, this by the name of the main sponsor, She is named for T.A. P. the acronym (but obviously in Bergamo) “Tutto a posto”, reassurance that faced the same Towers when he happened to fall.



Advertising Nolan 1988

Advertising page Nolan N43 helmet worn by Edi Orioli and Claudio Terruzzi to Dakar 1988

Ecureuil 1988

Advertising Banque Caisse d'Epargne – sponsor Paris-Dakar 1988

Advertising of the Banque Caisse d'Epargne – Team sponsors Ecureuil to Paris-Dakar 1988

Ahmed Michel 1988

KTM twin-? Yes, the Dakar 1988!

The Frenchman Michel Assis in 1988 He managed to assemble on his KTM 125 two engines. Under the gas tank it was housed in the space to House a spare propeller, a solution that will allow Assis to emergency replacement if necessary.


The frame of his beautiful and excellently finished and KTM is made of aluminum. Solution certainly imaginative but unfortunately not served to Dakar…



DAKAR 1988 | André Malherbe unlucky hero

I'll Go Malherbe, pilot class 1956 born in Huy in Belgium, as a young man begins to feel the passion of motorcycle transmitted from father motorcycle dealer. At the beginning of their careers ran with the French license because in those days in Belgium you couldn't run in races with age less than 18 years. FORTISSIMO already as a young man, in 17 He was already a European champion 125 with Zundapp, repeating the following year in 1974.

In 1977 World debut cross 250 finishing third. In 1979 change category, arrives in the premier class that turns congenial to his riding style. Debuting is third in the Championship. Subsequently won 3 class World Championships 500 in 1980-81-84 still riding the Honda, and 3 MX of Nations with the Belgian team in the 1977/79/80. Crystal class and driving technique Superfine won 41 GP, 4° in the ranking of all time (in the age of 3 classes).

Unfortunately will stay paralyzed because of a terrible accident during the sixth stage in Algeria to Dakar 1988. He fell while he was running to 150 Km/h on his Yamaha Sonauto. Fate, rumors claim that he was persuaded by friends to race to Dakar.
In my opinion it was one of the strongest crossisiti ever.