2015-11-19 14.07.11

Interview with Ciro De Petri 1992

The 15 November 1992 He wakes up at noon.

Watch white ceiling, the view out the window, a television hung high on the wall in front of his bed and nothing familiar around. The last memory, the last time before that awakening is a Yamaha twin at full throttle in the Egyptian desert. He opens his eyes and tries to connect the two moments: that hospital room, Bianca and immobile and that bike free and fast in the middle of the sea of sand. It takes a while, ask those around, Arnaldo Faison and Giacomo Agostini and he understands that one day, that 6 October 1992 lasted a bit too: forty days, forty days of coma, forty days of deep sleep. His Yamaha broke the front wheel and he flew to 150 per hour with her face in the sand. When French physicians of the Organization find it, is dying.
Alessandro De Petri, say "Cyrus" for his big nose at Cirano, today is alive but is back in motion just to tell a story, write a book, do charities and open a school in Africa. See you in Las Vegas, giving me an appointment on the shores of Lake Iseo:
"If you want to chat, We're there to throw stones in the water as it was no-brainer. I love coming here, being alone and breathe in this pungent mountain air "long mouthfuls.

It is here that he started racing motorcycles. Around here you don't become football players, You must go in motion, preferably with the wheels clawed.

"As a kid I went into the Woods to watch Eastern samples with their Zundapp and CZ. Came here to train. And I wanted to get on those tracks ".

Yet, from "bad name", does not begin with regularity but with Cross, riding an old Abdelaziz given to him by his friend Dante Sachi. Has 15 years and behind a year's Gymkhana with Malaguti Cavalcone 50. A year later has an official Aspes, is the 1972. I prepare Happy Agostini, the brother of James. Ciro has a clean style but is a tough, never gives up, where there's muck, where is difficult, It puts the power of a bull, the head of a madman and goes on. Where others fear, He opens the throttle. Continues with the Cross until 1977 earning a second place in Italian 125 then, until 1980, runs in regularity: any major victory but is always the first in the European and the third step of the podium for four consecutive years to Six Days, first with the Puch 350 2 times, then a KTM 500.

In 1980, At home, do note that it's time to make adult choices, "getting a profession" as the fathers say. He enrolled in dentistry, the father is a dentist, and detect the activity seems more rational choice ... Too rational.

He doesn't want to be a dentist! Opened a workshop but discovered Africa and pawing, needs space, new air. with those molars in hand he feels like dying, It's not his life. His life is in the madness of Thierry Sabine. Is the 1983, has 28 years and his career began on the day when Headlights gives a Kappone.

Decide to go, but not alone. the friend is Frederick Felix. Did "the bowl", the shop assistant from Dante Sachi at the time of Abdelaziz but now he too has grown, He became a mechanic right, the two will split again until 6 October 1992. Ciro should be strong: is third in Morocco at the Atlas, sixth through the Pharaohs in Egypt and arrives at the bottom of the Dakar 1984 (37th). Sixteen years after his first ride, turns Pro. Honda Racing Division offers 15 million and a XL620L Thumper.

"I didn't think for one moment, I closed the workshop with all that there was no mortgage to pay and I left everything ... I'd do it a thousand times!”.

Smaller rallies or falls or breaks the bike like the Pharaohs of the 1985, When is ahead but must retire for the front wheel bearing failure. The Dakar 1985 retires with a broken arm, to that of the 1986 that's better, He won six stages and is fifth. Against the twins there's story, Honda NXR 750 only goes to the French, Ciro has to change:

"Fast stages there was to die with mono, but BMW offered me a motorcycle, I couldn't believe it, It was like going to Ferrari, It was the same bike by Rahier and Auriol. But Roberto Azzalin offered me a Cagiva and the same money (80 millions), I liked the idea, the project, people. With him I have always enjoyed, Besides that engine: every time you opened the gas looked like she vomits, came a roar from prehistoric animal, ".

Cyrus was big, often too. Peterhansel see it remained of stone. "You're crazy" telling him that evening at the bivouac.

"He was right. I played all my life so, When they were giving me off I didn't understand anything. There was a risk that every dune could be "broken", cut after the crest. Others waited to see what was behind before deciding what to do. the no, on 300 Dune those routes could be at most one or two, There was to risk your skin, but I gave a long March to take gas and put downward speed. With this game to life lost, Peterhansel took even 20 minutes on stage. I know that the Rally does not interpret that, though this was my way of riding a bike, whatever the risk and the price to be paid: fisting and the final victory!”.

In 1987 a first major victory, the Pharaohs, the year after winning in Tunisia, the Dakar falls and gets hurt. In 1989 Egypt and Tunisia wins again and is third to Dakar 1990 behind Orioli and Mas winning 6 stages. Home reports Cagiva are good, Azzalin sometimes insults, especially when Cyrus asks him 80 times the same things.

Azzalin still appreciates it, Ciro is training like a madman, in the gym, by bike. in motion. With Franco Gualdi, riding the bike for assistance, will train you to disassemble the motor Ducati from a motorcycle to another. Learn to do it in an hour and a half, Nothing in rallying at the time. But yields to Yamaha's Court, who offers him a YZE750 twin-cylinder. Won in Egypt, for the third time, and falls again to the Dakar that won't win any while entering the legend.

After Hearing Nani Roma: "I have the chills every time I see those pictures of Cyrus and Danny Laporte in Niger. You were on the edge of 200 per hour in a crazy fight. Absurd. Went off the track to seek ways impossible without ever shut off the gas, for hours. There is an indelible image in my memory: an overtaking of two by Medardo with Gilera. The two pass full throttle wide open and filled with catch seems that Medardo dust and stones. I think that is the most terrifying moment in the history of dueling Dakar ".

The 1991 is second in the Rally of Sardinia and Spain wins the Baja Aragon in conjunction with Cavandoli, the 1992 It is the year of the accident and the difficult recovery. But in the 1994 Decides to return to Dakar. that same year part and arrives in Paris.

Runs from a private Cagiva Elefant, does not point to victory, has different motivations. The helmet has placed a tape recorder. want to tell a story for a book. The title is Dakar Borderline, comes out in 2002 It is part of the project "Schools in the Desert" and its sale contributes to the building of the school of Assoda in Niger. Part for Paris directly from home, in motion, in the snow with a heated suit Dainese and ends 31st.

"Of all the Dakar will remember especially Peterhanser the strongest force for head and bolt handle; the goodness of Beppe Gauri, an individual always in deep shit but willing to help even if it was worse than you; the speed of Danny Laporte. Were beautiful years special consignments. That spirit must be recovered ".

Have you ever been afraid?

"If there was fear, the races do not exist. I'm afraid of apathy, the stand still, I fear for my three sons, It seems to me that the world is taking a turn for the worse and there are no signs of improvement. There are no certainties ".

Ciro it gets dark in the face, We remain silent and we throw another stone into the water. To break the silence looks at me and says:

"come on I'll take you in Indianapolis of Enduro".

I leave a stone that I have in hand and watch it with a question mark in my face painting.

"We go to monte Pora, in the heart of the valleys, where the enduro is the real thing ".

But it's almost dark, Maybe next. With Cyrus you are fine: Biker thug and wise man.

Interview by Guido Conter
source: motorcycle store.
A special thanks to my friend Alfredo Margaritelli who provided the material.



Crossing during the Dakar 1992

In this group of crossing 1992 We recognize #10 Sotelo, #90 MAS, #89 Lara, #95 Morales and a little further back #92 Orioli.


Sul traghetto durante the Dakar 1992

A nice wild bunch on the ferry during the Dakar 1992. Edi Orioli are recognized, Gilles Picard, Thierry Magnaldi, Marc Morales, Gilles Lalay…


Waiting for the ferry Dakar 1992

This beautiful photo sees portraits our heroes waiting for a transport during the Dakar 1992. From left: #72 Chanteloup, #76 Berhudes, #75 Heitz, 79 Flament, #87 Gauri, #92 Orioli, #61 Montebelli, #56 Meoni, #34 Cultera


Franco Picco Gilera RC 750

One of the most beautiful Gilera, the RC 750!
Special thanks to Clement Canino for the photos provided.


Team Kawasaki IP at Dakar 1992

It was the first time that the Kawasaki 500 KLE , submitted at the end of ' 90 at the Cologne motor show, It was deployed at the start of the most important African rally. Then there were the unknowns, but the Kawasaki-Italy had worked with care trying to best prepare the challenging Marathon, Although the decision to compete in the marathon category had imposed to remain as close as possible to the production model. The two KLE of Surini and Maletti had preserved their standard engine, a four-stroke parallel twin 499 cm3, with double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, few basic features 74 x 58 mm and 6 Marce.

On the frame instead it had been possible to work, because despite the constraint of standard chassis, double cradle steel, the regulation allowed them to intervene on the suspension, provided you keep the original rear linkages and sheaths and stems of this fork series. Totally new body parts instead, with a large front tank and two small rear, total capacity 54 litres of petrol. Motorcycle Kawasaki team management-IP that had as main sponsor the Italiana Petroli, It was entrusted to the TEAM Assomoto: the team of Bruno Birbes was one of the most organized nationally, and had a percentage of pilots brought in to the finish in Dakar 79%.

As means of assistance had been entrusted to a truck Liaz 154-111 and a car Range Rover 3900. Curious detail, the car was driven by Davide Pollini support fast, President and Chief financial and logistical Assomoto team, He had behind a couple of Dakar motorbike, and a drive in 1991.


29 GUIDO MALETTI It was one of the first Italians to devote himself to the great African rally, and in 87 was able to obtain a very good 11th place in the Paris-Dakar Reggiano, 33 years, has extensive experience in national enduro; It was factory rider Kawasaki-France in Dakar ' 90 while in the subsequent Edition no longer races. Back in the race with Kawasaki, focuses on the regularity and the ability to be wrong shortly, What are its best qualities.

30 WALTER SURINI Clenched teeth and so much effort to accomplish last year his first Dakar. But he made it, and this time he criticized as an official driver of Kawasaki-Italy. Her experience, however, was not limited to the classic African rally: among its most prestigious results a victory Rally in the Incas ' 88, When managed from private to beat several officers, and good results again in Peru and in Sardinia, In addition to the success in the Rally of the Dominican Republic of the ' 91. Bergamasco 31, helicopter pilot, She had won several national championships of enduro, endurance and junior.

Ed: both drivers behave admirably, ending both the competition, demonstrating the seriousness of the Team and the goodness of the motorcycle driven. Maletti and 19° 20° Surini concluded respectively and in the absolute (4° and 5° in category Marathon won by Massimo Montebelli).

source: motosprint



Advertising Yamaha 1992

Advertising page on Motosprint 1992 celebrating the victory of Massimo Montebelli in category Marathon of Dakar.


Magazine Cover – VDS – France 1992

VSD Team dedicated to Angelo Signorelli cover Byrd in Dakar 1992


Twelve luxury private to Dakar 1992

Not enough four factory riders, together with them the BYRD took him to Africa other twelve private pilots with a figure definitely reasonable could enjoy an almost official assistance. A sales promotion, which required a great deal of effort, but that was also acclaim: 32.000.000 liras for buying a Yamaha XTZ 660 all ready to run in the marathon category, Racing apparel and rest, transport of bike and rider in Paris for the departure and especially transport of spare parts and mechanical assistance in the running, with the ability to have personal sponsors.

Joseph Viziale, the former pilot who was entrusted with the responsibility of the operation, He showed himself very confident, and in fact the formula was successfully tested in the past by several houses: could reduce the figures and at the same time enjoy adequate assistance, crucial in a race like that. The parts were traveling on two trucks, a Unimog and a Liaz, and in addition there were also some airborne mechanical headed by ing. Adriano Magherini. It is worth mentioning that it is precisely with a similar initiative two years ago Honda won the marathon category, with Spanish Toni Boluda.
These are the 12 drivers and their race number:
53 Emanuele Chari
54 Malloe
55 Ettore Petrini
56 Fabrizio Meoni – It passed from enduro to rally in 89, and he immediately in evidence. For him the rides were a hobby, practiced at high level. He participated in the Incas twice, and one on Tunisia, While he played in ' 91, Baja 1000, Titan and Pharaohs.
57 Luciano Carcheri
58 Samuele Landi
59 Maximum Maddox
60 Fabio Marcaccini – Be dubbed "the man from Agadez" not enough more to former sprinter from Romagna, two years before he ended up in newspapers all over the world for leading a good stretch of the stage that decided the Dakar ' 90. To aim higher, He decided to abandon the category prototypes, where he ran with motorcycle built by him and by his team-mate Max Malik, and to test themselves in the marathon, where should not suffer the competition of the officers. Great experience, tenacity and skill in orientation: a good base on which to try to build something good.
61 Max Malik – Marcaccini's teammate in the Wild Team, chose him to run in the marathon, and the formula BYRD might enable it to compete more quietly when he was deprived. Supported by a Herculean physique, the romagnolo has always been one of the fastest private two years ago gained success in ranking amateurs.
64 Heinz Kinigadner – Twice world champion of cross 250 in 84 and 85, the likeable Austrian has abandoned the world series not racing: He moved to Ibiza participated in the rally and enduro Spanish Championships, who won won more times. Decided to try the adventure of Paris-Le Cap, He wanted to involve the official BMW with the support of sponsor Camel, but the operation is not andatò in port. " Kini» however you gave up and with the support of Yamaha Austria joined the project BYRD. On his speed is not discussed, on his grit even.
63 Jeremy Davies
62 JMN Claude Morellet "Fenuil""I race for the fun of it, If I had searched for the money i'd competed as Navigator to Citroen or Mitsubishi ". An explanation that didn't make a wrinkle, the organizer of the Rally of the Pharaohs, He had behind 7 Dakar motorbike (a third place finish the best placement) and 3 drive, as Navigator, all played in top positions. He was the first to cross the Sahara on motorbikes in Solitaire, in ' 74, and Africa took several satisfactions. But to 46 years had not yet want to quit: the adventure has no age.

Source motosprint