Meanwhile, Louis or Luigino: Luigino is my first name.
You started in regularity where you won several six days per team, a European Championship and several Italian titles, then you decided to go to the world of rallying, why this choice?
On the occasion of "six days of San Pellegrino of 86" I was contacted by Daniele Papi, the then manager of Yamaha Belgarda which asked me if I was going to do some rallying.
I said immediately to you, the attraction for Africa I had as a child and being able to see riding a motorcycle which was my great passion was the crowning of a beautiful dream.
I started the adventure committing myself for Tunisia rally, Morocco, Pharaohs and the Dakar, the same races that I faced in 87.
In the ' 90 brought to debut the Gilera getting in two years good positions 8th and 7th overall, running in class silhouette. What was acting not compete in this class?
There were 3 categories, the series, where you couldn't change anything to the bike, the silhouette, where they were to remain the standard chassis and engine, While the rest could be replaced, for example the drains and tanks but not the wheels, Finally the class prototypes where the bike was built in pilot measure and the type of race and in the event you have a maximum of 3 spare engines and could change anything, with the exception of the frame.
I went to Gilera because Yamaha was not the team for me, i.e., When I was called to run, the team already existed and had Franco Picco as reference driver.
He was from the cross and I the regularity, two different driving styles, motorcycles in Japan were tested by him and when they came here to run were not suited to my riding style. So I suffered so much, I was hurt and in the end I decided to leave the Yamaha.
I wanted to prove myself to be able to do something good even in rallying and thus arose a bet. I met with Gianni Perini (Gilera) at the salone in Milan and I told him about my project and fired the spark.
Starting from the base of the bike which already ran in cross country, We started the development and we presented ourselves at the rally of Tunisia. The results were not egregious, but the project had already started and we drove by participating in the Pharaohs and further to Dakar.
The following year, always in Dakar, We obtained 3 stage wins with our bike from 600 CC against the most powerful prototype class. Great results but many personal satisfaction, How to arrive in this moto Gilera and there was practically nothing, start with the mechanics to build it for me, following my directives. Anything I asked, It was answered, even the tanks were shaped by the stylist on the print of my leg!
Then came the prototype, the RC 750 and everyone thought it was the year good to see an Italian bike with an Italian pilot in command of the Dakar. Instead what happened?
The prototype was built in record time and we debuted at the rally of Tunisia with a win.
Meanwhile reached the peak and also team, the Pharaohs I retired to a glitch on my bike. Peak instead, After the retirement of De Petri through injury he won the rally.
All presaged that the direction taken in the development of motorcycle, was the right one. We left for Dakar believe we can do great things, but unfortunately Spike got hurt after a few stages and I had to retire due to a technical problem the clutch, a defect never encountered previously in tests. The following year, all official teams, Cagiva, Gilera, Honda etc.. due to the economic crisis, the resulting drop in sales and interest for this type of motorcycles, decided to withdraw from competition.
Then I had 32 years and I didn't have the tenacity to start again with a new team. I decided to abandon the races. It was a mistake because then came KTM bringing new energy and interest in this type of competition and if I had stayed as did Mahmoud, most likely I might have had some other satisfaction.
Franco Picco's arrival on the team created rivalry? Are leave them both with the same chances or there was a top driver?
No there was no rivalry and both were leaving with the same chances.
My problem with him was just a technical question, already in Yamaha wanted a motorcycle other than that I could use I or grease that was on the team with us, He had a way to fine tune the bikes that were in my opinion too extreme, Motocross bike, with calibrations harsh and difficult to drive. He eventually, When we were about to leave for the race continued to work on settings. Try to sitemare the bike on the field for me was something impossible to play.
Only this was our discord, nothing personal.
Gilera in the deal were clear, the tests and adjustments on my bike I used them exclusively I.
We all know that in the regularity they used to hide behind some bushes in case of failure and replace the damaged parts, with the moto "Shadow".
The Dakar that ever happened something like? Tell an anecdote related to those years. It wasn't so easy in rallying do something, It was not easy to find in the desert bushes to hide. (ride)
During a marathon stage I broke the pipe that carried oil from the mono shock to the tank and the next day I would have had great difficulty to finish the stage and keep top spot. Let's say we made team play! Service parts and trucks were not allowed to download the bike was in Parc Ferme.
That night did I recover healthy cushion and entrusted to a friend journalist that the next morning would come down along the route to do its work.
We agreed and left me at a certain point in the route. The next day at the start of the stage with the other riders there we visit the place indicated and we replaced the mono even as the Organization's helicopter was landing for a control. Sotterrammo quickly the parts damaged in the sand and not finding it there left continue the race.
What has changed since the Paris Dakar then to new Dakar in South America?
I think now the Dakar is a competition a little more human, more feasible.
The first Dakar that I attended was 17.000 Km 18 days with one day of rest, practically 1.000 km per day. If then one day it did 800, does that mean that later were at least 1.200. Using bike very fast the risk was very high and accidents during those years there were so many. Another important aspect is that the first Dakar that I attended was the hand compass and it wasn't that simple to navigate and orient themselves. Although in the stages we left all together in the desert, After a few km there was lost to sight because everyone would choose its own course and after 20/30 km were alone.
Then as we got closer to the finish line we were beginning to see the horizon far splotches that slowly converge toward the same point.
It was just an adventure!
We know you've been in the field, What do you do?
Work for Scott bikes and Scott bike as an agent for the Triveneto.
Would you like to add something?
You have two things in my heart that I would like to say. The first is that the brothers Fernandez, When I got from them at 15 years welcomed me like a child. I slept in the room with one of their sons like one of the family.
This is an important reminder that I will have forever in the heart. The other is a special thanks to Gilera, to the team and to all those who were part of, especially Silvano Galbusera who was my trusted mechanic and crew chief of the team, and who is now with Valentino Rossi moto GP.
Text by: Peter Bartolomei
Photo: Archive Luigino Medardo
As for courage Claudio Towers wasn't kidding, Thirty-nine (in 1991 NDR.) Architect from Bergamo departed from Paris while riding a Guzzi himself fully designed. If you exclude the engine on his bike not retained much from the image template: the chassis was made of a thick aluminum beam with two triangular slab track in the heart of the swingarm, and the lower cradle that also acted as water tank.
On the frame made from VRP Towers he mounted a motor Guzzi 940 identical to that of the SP model but with the electronic fuel injection instead of Carburetors the cylinders upside down, with the drains backwards.
"But it was a mistake – He specified Towers – I did so to get the weights more centered, only in this way the waste coals too and became even hot. Among other things I mounted electronic fuel injection in California without changing the mapping because I had the time, and I had carburation problems. But I worked also on transmission: It was my final is the first Guzzi chain transmission, and I realized a bevel gear to remove the output shaft drive».
Even with a lot of work though the Strict, This is the official name, it weighed 207 kg: no small, but less and less of the Africa Twin. Towers had already planned to realize a new, lighter and with the motor from 750 cm, with that dispute the next Rallye des Pharaons. Because, means, did not change its intention to remain faithful to the Mandello Eagle.
With the twins lariane has already participated in four Dakar without carry to term no, and it decided not to give up.
"I cannot run with a Japanese I won't use Italian money to advertise to strangers. And then the Guzzi's legendary. To a Japanese would pass unnoticed, with a Guzzi is definitely something else, even if you happen to stop already the first day».
Exactly how much he: was walking in the first special, the Ghadames in I.d.r.i., and there came more to the field, probably picked up by truck fuck. No spare parts and assistance, not even attempted to repair her Severe. Maybe that year failed even to achieve its primary objective:
«Only start to get is an understatement, see Dakar can be a rewarding, but I don't care. My goal is to have fun, being able to entusiasmami for the things I see and test the solutions that I myself have studied».
That time lasted much too little to amuse him.
Photos provided by Clement Canino
Thierry Magnaldi was the revelation of Dakar 1991. He went strong even in the previous edition, with a Yamaha Thumper who had brought in fourth place; This year however he almost win, missing success for very little. "We had believed confesses shyly but not at Tumu, When I found myself at the top: It was too early to make the accounts, especially in a race that has to be lived day by day. It was the penultimate stage, When I went lone command. For a moment I hoped, then I realized that simply Peterhansel was too because I could hope to recover all in a single stage».
A difficult fight against a fellow quadra.
«In the race we're adversaries but also friends, I'm glad if he wins, and vice versa. This time he won and I finished third: is life. The team still treated us as equals, were not made differences».
Though you had a previous bike of the year.
«You, the new one is a little’ more maneuverable and has better suspension level, But even if I had a Yamaha ' 91 the result would not change».
You too, like other, you made a call for waiting.
"Now that the bikes are reliable, that the equipment made it easier navigation and fast riders are several difficult is that there are major gaps. I didn't want to force because it is not appropriate: is the interpretation of the road book that can make a difference. Only in the stage of Kayes tried to push really loud, though I fell and I lost second place. But in Dakar only counts the first, the other positions are all equal».
It was a tender this year, with all first always grouped together.
"The fact is that travel-related interests are ever increasing, and therefore I am more responsibilities. Everyone must win and no one can afford to make mistakes. This brought forcibly to a race in which most of the time you traveled together, checking each other to make sure that nobody could take advantage decisively».
The robust racing jacket protectors are comfortable especially after arrival. The back of Luigino Medardo is sorely tested by a storm of friendly Pats, a whirlwind of congratulations that overwhelms him leaving him breathless. Thanks to him the Gilera won again in category silhouette, won a stage win to Tumu and one in marathon Agadez-Gao. But mostly he struggled for almost the entire race with prototypes, custom built motorcycles for Dakar and weight well over 558 cc of his RC 600, change, except in some special.
More than a victory, a triumph. It's not a question of parochialism: the all-Italian match doesn't miss a beat, much success in silhouette isn't even an argument. But this time Liam and his teammate Mandelli have outdone themselves. The seventh place overall in punta, for an hour and a half behind the winner, is more than you could hope for. But he disagrees.
"To tell you the truth we wanted to get into the top five — protest smiling — and I think we could do it, It was within our grasp. However we should March always regularly, without problems. Instead I broke the shock in the final part of the stage Ghadames-hydro, and since it was a marathon I could not change it that next day, on the runway, losing an hour.
In Dirkou, Instead, discharged battery: a stupid inconvenience which cost me half an hour, because the bike would not hear of rekindling after refueling. Are trivialities, that occurred because we didn't have much time to work on the bike. But overall it was better than good».
Of this you can be sure. Very few times the blood type Gianni Perini, team manager, had reason to fret about the delays of his men. A fortune, given the intensity with which it lives the events of his bike, despair and exulting as if he were in the saddle. When Ghat, After just a couple of days, He saw that none of his three men came, he risked heart attacks. Instead they had stopped Assembly to replace the shock broken by Medardo with that left along the bike by a car out of the race.
A cunning out regulation not ready the service truck, Since it had not been possible to remedy the trouble the night being a marathon stage, those in which it is prohibited to assistance at the bivouac. Despite the fear passed, the best memory of Medardo is related just to the marathon.
"They are very difficult, just a nothing to blow this. But for me the best memory of this Dakar is precisely the marathon Agadez-Gao, where I won the overall rankings of the two days. Were two tough stages, very difficult. I have done everything perfectly, and I won. An enormous satisfaction».
One of the many stages now, Since Medardo and Gilera continue to monopolize the category. If they dominate, though, It's not for lack of opponents.
«The Cagiva tried to run a motorcycle in silhouette at the Rally of the Pharaohs, but he declined to repeat the experiment at Dakar. Even the Suzuki tried in our category, and he did it not, as well as Honda Europe with Africa Twin. I think we want a bike, but very competitive to beat the Gilera. There were hardened pilots, Yet we have fought several times with prototypes».
Medardo humble, pretends to forget himself. You need to call it directly concerned to have his opinion.
"The pilot? It's already pretty old, with 31 years and several Paris-Dakar on the shoulders. Not just a young man to beat». The question now arises in opposite direction: is Medardo that will have to go to beat the others, given that next year's Gilera debut amongst the prototypes.
"I think there will be still even in silhouette, but I'll be on the prototype. I know it will be a difficult undertaking, but I'm going to win: otherwise I wouldn't have ambitions. A pilot must always have a clearly defined goal especially in these races so tough. Otherwise you will not find the strength to go on».
If there's one thing that has never been lacking is the determination Medardo, the will to arrive at all costs. He succeeded last year with a sore leg to a distortion, He did it again, with one hand swollen from a fall.
"It was right at the end of the stage of Kiffa, five kilometres from the finish. There was a hole marked on the road book, but there was so much dust. I only found when I got upstairs and fell». A venial sin; the only rider who Besides going strong is wrong no. A pilot for the Gilera is worth gold. And to think that when Perini approached him, offering him the spot on the team, Medardo was pondering thoughts of retirement…
Blue as the colors of the French expression Sonauto who placed two men in the first three places. Hats off, especially Stephane Peterhansel who won a deserved success and hard, with detachments on arrival very low. Nobody saw it coming so terrible. It was one of the best not discussed, but it weighed on his shoulders a past made especially dazzling performance and retreats.
What occurred at the start of the Paris-Dakar ' 91 is a very different, able to go slow, In addition to strong, and suffer if necessary. The arrival of Gao was something epic: in a stage full of grass ' chameaux», with large clumps among the sand that put a strain on the suspension, remained completely without shock, stressed to the point of «burst» peeling the recovery tank, that in the fall he sliced the rear brake hose. He continued in these conditions and broke the shock attack, that fortunately it went to fit inside a frame plate.
Then it was the turn of tire mousse first and then: When it came to Gao wasn't that the circle, naked. Even under these conditions Peterhansel managed to contain its disadvantage from the first stage win in 37 ' 51” retaining the championship lead. Just one of many episodes that make up the Dakar, but not limited to the determination of the French, decided as never before.
"It is the happiest day of my life was chasing him on arrival commented moved for several years, and I had always gone bad. In 89, After five days, I was in the lead, but I broke the bike. Last year on the sixth day I was still first but I mistook the route, I was out of gas off the track and I was forced to switch the balises and retire. This time I did it»!
It is no coincidence and not luck. To succeed Peterhansel had to revise his whole way of running, all his race tactics.
"It changed the way I run. I understand that force is not appropriate, you don't need to gain a few minutes running instead big risks, Maybe retiring. Is much more productive March with regularity, without going over the limit: in the ' 90 I won the Rally of Tunisia and the Atlas, yet they are not come first in any special. Isn't travelling fortissimo that you arrive early».
It seems a paradox, but it's true. The rest is something I had to learn on her skin, for this is categorical about the misfortunes of others.
"I know that some retreats they removed dangerous opponents race, they were unlucky, but I don't have much luck. I broke a mousse to Dirkou and I had all those troubles to Gao. The rest just Orioli lost the race for mechanical problems: Dalvi did wrong and fell, and so did the strip contains. I for my part I had problems with my hand: I fractured the Pharaons Rally ' 89, and a second time a few months ago, the Guidon d'Or in the first stages, full of stones and very hard physically, I did suffer a lot. Luckily the path has become more difficult for navigation, but less for my scaphoid».
Peterhansel through gritted teeth In short, but he could not give in. Not this year in which occurred focussed and determined, ready to hit the final goal. Even once the leadership of the race never wanted to pronounce the word «victory».
«In a race is not expected to win until the end, anything can always happen. Just five minutes from arrival in Dakar I began to believe it really, because the postings were very low throughout the rally. Until the last you can't say you have won; You can say only that you have lost, at most. I thought really happened to me twice: I've already told you about Gao, I was sure it was really over and instead I managed to stay for four minutes. But also between Agadez and Tillia I was scared, I was without instrumentation and I didn't know where to go. When I was able to find the track with the directions of the natives I saw the traces of another bike. I feared that the strip contains had made. Instead it was De Petri, and I concluded second».
One of the most dangerous opponents Peterhansel was found right at home: teammate Magnaldi.
«By Thierry there were no problems, the relationship between us is great, We are friends. Better to have him behind that Orioli or anyone else: in case something happened to me in the first place would stay at Sonauto. I'm sorry you missed the second for a NAP».
Now the adventure is over, and well. Peterhansel, always very nice and polite, but tested by tension, can finally melt a little’ Relax. Think ahead.
«Future? A nice ski vacation. I need it, I own several bikes and desert»!
Also four Gilera private came to the finish of the Dakar 1991, led by four Italians. This is Quaglino (28°), the only group in red, and the three Assomoto Team riders: from left Aldo Winkler (33°), Walter Surini (36°) and Brenno Bignardi (32°). just missing Carlo Alberto Mercandelli, retired.
For Stéphane Peterhansel on 1991 marks the beginning of the consecration. The dawn of a long series of successes that would lead him to become the most successful rider at the Paris Dakar. That year the Yamaha puts her under saddle a real fireball, the YZE 750 T OWC5, a two-cylinder 800 CC dispensing 75 CV with a dry weight of 185 kg., model that laid the groundwork for subsequent victories of French rider.
Presented in 1989, the Gilera RC 600 comes with single-cylinder engine 569 CC, delivered 48 CV to 7.250 RPM, and had double four valve controlled by a rubber timing belt, the monolithic tree with biella in Hat, liquid cooling and electric ignition digital and single cradle frame.
The Paris Dakar 1991 the pilots, Luigi Medardo and Roberto Mandelli they classified 7° and 9° in General!