I arrived by plane, with Ada and Antonella, on January first, to spend a few days in their company and sightseeing, and day 5 It also came with motorbikes and trucks Maximum Chinaglia and Paul Turci with family. We found ourselves at the port, the space destined to the discharge of the means. On that occasion I make acquaintance with Ronconi, accompanied by great Franco Picco, and with Masons. Also meeting Lorenzo Buratti, already met on the occasion of the Pharaohs 2003.
Download moto, prepares the case and settle the rest of the luggage to carry hotel. My chest to weight is 50,80 Kg.(limit 50 kg.) but I give the okay for the load. I commend the two wheels. Final checks of the bike and then some pictures of the "trio".
Recharge your bike into the truck we return to hotel. The day 5 We are very soon to download them and prepare them for verification. We introduce ourselves to the gate. In front of us some American motorcycle. The first consideration that comes to mind is that they have spent more than we already just with the journey towards Lisbon!! Then we enter, We Park the bike on the left side of the square, along the wall. Access to the shed the administrative checks.
I also accompanies Ugo, a friend of Vigevano who eagerly wanted to follow me so far: moving. Bubix and I spend together all stand and let's stamp your ns. Fiche: IMF license, personal documents and motorcycle, GPS, Sentinel, Balise, doctors, telepass Highway, Photo, ecc.ecc. We employ approximately two hours.
Eventually I return and I demand two pass, for Ada and Antonella. I call them, then, on the phone, and mando Ugo to bring them the passes. After a few minutes here by my side, While beginning scrutineering. We start with the navigation equipment.
A gps antenna doesn't work!! Then the technician discovers that is no fault of the extension. I'll be back at the stand of the ERTF and purchase a. Also there is a short circuit caused by something. Still an antenna that has a portion of the Bared wire.
Just a bit of tape and everything is solved. There is still a small problem: the battery of the gps has a wire disconnected. Can I still fix it later. The Sentinel engineer I check the installation and operation of the system and approves. Next is at scrutineering. ADA and Antonella follow me. The small is always close and asks many questions. Not all do reply, concentrate on living every moment of this adventure. Anyway happy and excited Ada proves. And even Antonella seems at ease. I feel fine, I am calm and I am enjoying this dream with open eyes, and having them at my side is very important.
Comes forward Valeria Arnoldi, the Acerbis, Italian partner of ASO, and very politely asked if we needed anything or if it's okay. Then comes over to say hello even Franco Acerbis that advises us to go fast…floor. We enter the shed. First thing, number stickers!
Now I'm just on the Dakar! Then I commit to a charge the jacket for the affixing of the pectoralis major. I boot, Meanwhile, Commissioner Farmer. Fast, check out due to.
No problem. Do visit the helmet, two to be exact. I fear that the new one hurts and so I brought a spare. At the end there is the stand of the Elf and Loctite, then you leave for the photo with the bike, and then you leave the area to take the middle of the Park closed.
The ride is required and you have to go on a small podium, similar to that of departure, where we must stop and the speaker announce your name, nationality & bikes. Then you put the bike in Parc Ferme, set in a garden of the area.
The crowd looks at you like you're a great champion!! We gather all three in the gardens, with families, and when the group is complete, we are reaching a bakery for a snack rilassatrice. Then we go back to the hotel to rest pilots, While families continue the city tour.
In hotel settle all the documentation I was handed and even clothing for the next day. Then a short NAP and then go out with Lorenzo, staying in the same hotel (Real Parque), to go to "El Corte Ingles", Mall, to purchase the last things. Besides some biscuits for breakfast the next day, purchase a mirror, I was missing in the safety equipment, and an SD memory card for the camera.
Before dinner you go still in Belem for the pre-race briefing. Talk Etienne Lavigne and then David Castera. General briefing and welcome. A presentation, more than anything else. Nice videos. Castera says that tomorrow's stage features a special very hard and rough, much tougher than that of the previous year. It starts fine.
In the evening we have dinner together at a restaurant in the Centre. Early to bed, tomorrow we have to get up at five o'clock.
STAGE 1 – LISBOA – PORTIMAO
KM.: TRANSF. 115 – SS 117 – TRANSFER. 260
When the alarm sounds immediately jump out of bed: is the big day!!
ADA and Antonella sleep; I prepare myself trying not to wake them. Return with your mind at other times, in Egypt, I was getting ready, in hotel, at the start of the first day. Now the race is far more important, is the most important. A kiss to my women and then down in reception. Together and Lorenzo Buratti we catch a cab and go to the hotel by Bubix Chinaglia and Paul Turci. We meet up with the guys from the truck to which we leave our garment bag that must return to Italy. Then we go to the area of Belem, on departure.
There we come to the 5,30 and the crowd already fills each area. We have breakfast at a bar and people we admire and we award: for them every driver, especially for motorcycles, is an Idol.
A couple of photos and we go to the Park closed although still there can be accessed. There's also Paul and Bubix.
Phone to Book because the crowd is growing and I am afraid that we are not able to meet us and that you can't find place to witness the departure. Here they come: a big hug to both.
At the scheduled time you enter the Parc Fermé. Emotion. My bike. Ciao bella.. In the queue to exit the Park and head towards the starting podium. It's still dark and the play of light on the building in the background are very impressive even for us.
The speaker announces the names of the starters in a loud voice. The crowd acclaims. We put ourselves in the queue before the ascent to the podium. Finally it's our turn. We climb all three, the whole Team. Great emotion. A moment we dreamed. Handshake with the representatives of ASO's go. I come down from the podium and I try with my women's gaze. Here they are! But they're across the street. Greet me. I can't stay. I'm afraid of slipping on the asphalt slimy and also others have gone ahead. The greeting and send them big kisses! Vado. Crowds along the city streets, on the decks, at the entrance to the highway. Above each
bridge there are people who would say hello. Great passion for this race here in Portugal. After 115 km. Me and Bubix come to the start of the Special. There is a great deal of humidity. We come up with a couple of minutes late and then we enter directly into special stage. We were told that such proof would be tough, but it lasts so I don't expect! I knew that the beginning was sandy, but I was relying on the hard earth, After a few km. Instead the kilometres went by and he continued to lead and to toil in a hellish black gravel. A real nightmare!
Two bikes each 30 seconds. The track is crowded. I find Bubix holder with the bike off. Makes me go. Then I pass Paul. The bottom is heavy and difficult to: I'd rather have sandbanks to pass that this treacherous terrain. I have to take 117 km.!! After only 5 km. I support your right foot and "trac" big shot and breaking some of the anterior cruciate ligament. Well, tonight I'm going home tomorrow morning swells. It took just. From then on whenever I support your right foot feel all move and accuse sprains knee. And then everything becomes more difficult. The path is completely sandy and is all surrounded by the public, thousands of fans who stayed there to attend the ns. step.
I have to sit tight and get to Africa and then everything will change. Slowly, very slowly, the km pass and I approach the end of the Special. At times I'd like to retire. It seems impossible to get to the bottom. Then I go to a competitor who fell: Ennio Cucurachi! If he, who ran a sea of Dakar and has also completed some, It has the same problem, then it means that it is really hard! I trust and I continue towards end stage.
Just past the arrival I stop to catch your breath and get some rest. I ponder. I'm a little torn down. I thought to beginning less traumatic. By on the highway and I stop at the first distributor. I'm full and I call Bubix. It's already in Portimao! There are 260 km. Via. Arrival into the sunset. I find Up to zone "moto". Talk about hard stage. Says it was such for him too. I console myself. I have a little problem: he sliced the attach point, on the frame, PPG. Fix everything with a strop and some cable ties. Then two sistematine to the bike and it changed to go to hotel. You go to dinner with Paul, Bubix and Lorenzo. My knee is not swollen, Thank goodness. Do some isometric exercises to tone the muscle. Call home. My women are enthusiastic. Me, too, Apart from all. Are the Dakar, I can't believe I'm. After dinner we go to bed. Tomorrow many km. But the special should be more "European". We hope.
STAGE 2 – PORTIMAO – MALAGA
KM.: TRANSF. 15 – SS 67 – TRANSFER. 425
Alarm clock, breakfast and recovery of motorcycle clothing, that was on the truck, finding it, Unfortunately, still well wet. In the truck doesn't dry anything, patience.
We bring the truck to the Parc Fermé and I agree with the driver wait for me on the first distributor after the start of the transfer, to change the rear wheel. I want to install even the Desert, Since I now have a Michelin Baja, It might not meet more truck and have to make the Moroccan stages with unsuitable tyres. I go to the bike, and exchange a few words with the Tilliette and with Chary.
Childbirth from the podium in Portimao to 8,30. I walk a roundabout, arrival at the first turn to the right, I notice that the curve is in the shade and is washed… won't be slippery? "Blunder" incredible glide!! I hadn't fallen on asphalt! I get up, nothing broken, except the pants. The bike is on the other side of the street. Call boys who are passing and I'll help you raise the bolide. A quick glance at all. There's some planed to sump guard but nothing wrong. Thank goodness! I'm a little shocked. I needed to regain confidence with the bike and myself and this is not the best way… Allotment to the appointment for tire change. Arrival at first but even truck shadow. Look ten minutes and then I decide to apportion.
The second distributor here's your truck: they had not found a place to stop on the first!!! Change in a moment the wheel and via, to the Special.
Hours 9.30 – I leave for my second Dakar special. This proves right away with European features, I'd be like "Sardinia". I needed a plot so, that would allow me to resume the right feeling. Beautiful route: climbs and descents, Fords and dirt roads, blind corners and hairpin bends.
One of the Fords are really deep. The bike you should stick a little, but it doesn't stop. Thank goodness. Instead Bubix is stationary in half, because the Gilera shuts.
After ca. 67 Here's the finish nice km. I'm happy. It went well, I took the right driving feeling. The stage winner, Rodrigues, took 1:02, I 1:30. Considering I used all the prudence not to do crap compromising, is just fine. By on the highway and I stop at the first gas station. I end up with Bubix, Paolo and Lorenzo. We eat anything, We fill up and prepare. We have to go ca. 425 km. to get to the port of Malaga and embark for Morocco.
We are preparing ourselves when… Paul goes! Don't get him back over to the port of Malaga. The three of us, Instead, We travel together. We make a couple of stops, for fuel. The bridges of the highway are crammed with folks who greets us! It is really a unique situation. Also at service stations we are surrounded by fans who ask to take a picture, or to be photographed next to the bike. Finally we arrive in Malaga. On the first
Distributor we stop and we wash the bike, waiting for Paul and others. When they tell us that they were waiting for us at the previous station, the last of the highway! Bubix change the back wheel and then we are reaching the Harbour.
A SEA OF CROWD TO EXPECT!!! It seems to be at the Tour de France! Let's move on to a minimum, among the people, for km and km. Ask us photos, autographs and even touch kids! Hei, I think, I'm not the Pope! I paid for running! Unique and beautiful sensation that I will remain forever. We enter the harbor and stop at passport control. Find John Fenner, the Acerbis, that gives me some pointers on what to do. Typical Spanish products are offered to us and then we'll put you in the queue to get on the ferry. The wait is a little long, but finally you climb.
We are in the cabin I, Bubix and Paul. Very well. Nice find themselves aboard the ferry in which all are pilots or assistances! Shower, dinner, passport stamp (tail…) and… Nanna.
Tomorrow we disembark in Africa! Was now. Starts the real Dakar.
STAGE 3 – NADOR – ER RACHIDIA
KM.: TRANSF. 205 – SS 252 – TRANSFER. 191
Wake up early, at 6.43 part my transfer. Just got off the ferry I notice that I get the low beam and the two extra rear spotlights burned. I must immediately provide otherwise I see little and also risk not letting me leave for the Special. In addition the engine shield cracked and leaks water. I'm getting a bottle to fill it shortly before the start of the special so, in the event of an inspection by Commissioners, is full. Towards the end of the transfer you enter a village for gas. At first there's tail so I decide to look for another. The next he's only regular gasoline, I go back and I find one with the super. There are four or five, among them are the Tilliette, father and daughter. Return to the first distributor and I signal to Paul to go to the next, then off, towards the end of the transfer. Arrival in advance and I stop a bit aloof. Control the water in the sump guard: actually I lost it all. Hopefully not serve me really. I insert the bottle that I got. I try to fill the crack. We'll see tonight if held. I'm a little edgy. It's the start of the first real stage of Dakar, in Africa. The start is given on a dirt road and stony uphill.
Approaching the moment of my street, at hours 10.18. Finally my turn, together with theAmerican Kay. The track is winding and uphill.
Many stones even large. At km. 4.65, in a curve to the left, slide stupidly and the bike falling on my left, not until I've given a big lurch to the right, with its strong knee sprain already battered. Physical pain. I stop for a minute, I signal to whoever comes up that are in the middle of the track and then raise the bike. I backtrack towards the widening of the curve and put the bike on the stand. I broke the shifter. Down the keys and change. It starts just fine. After about ten minutes I reboot, but in the meantime I have passed all the competitors motorcycles left behind me. At km. 6.28 I go out on a plateau and I see all those ahead of me, of which I can see the dust, go to the left. I think it is wrong but I decide to make a few kilometers to be sure. After seven or eight km I'm running alongside a English, Dickinson, Party about 15 minutes before me. I've taken!! Then someone can't let him back!! I figure it's the wrong way and I do understand the Englishman who agrees with me. Let's go back and find the right track. We covered some 15 km more and lost at least fifteen minutes. After a while they come the cars! Already?!?! The first part half hour after the last bike. The location is nice, Largo, not too stony, enough "treadmill".
At one point I see a bike stops… IT'S BUBIX!! Lost water from a hose of the radiator and the engine smokes profusely. I take my folding and the straw jug out and lead the water from sump guard, about 1,5 Lt. to refill the Gilera. Here we go again. In the meantime we pass a certain number of motorcycles… Too bad. Many oued. Some even very rough and "cemented" to allow passage. In view of the CP1 supply ( Km. 113 of the Special) find myself still Bubix ( that in the meantime I had … lost) that broke apart from the oil tank cap oil speculation. Think about how to solve and then he decides to use a rag with the dung as Cap. We come together at CP1, We do supply and insert the second part of the road book. Comes Barbezant, with its 125. Broke the engine and you must withdraw. I stamp at 13.29 and Bubix at 13.31 ( flight departed at 10.09).
I have walked the 113 km. in 3:21. !! Considering that I lost time to 1) replacement shifter pedal – 7/8 min. 2) wrong track 12/13 min. 3) first stop with Bubix 9/10 min. 4) second stop with Bubix 7/8 min. TOTAL: 36/39 min. – Estimated time without stops: 2h45 minutes.
We share. There are still approximately 140 km. The path slows and worsens a lot. Bubix goes on. I go quiet. I want to get through the stage without further problems. The light begins to decline. Do the math and … Unfortunately, I understand that I will be arriving after dark. Already at the first stage! We hope that the headlights are a good light, It will be a first test. The light that is lower on the horizon, right in front of me, prevents me from seeing well and I have to slow down further. There are now a few kilometres to go, Perhaps a dozen, and here is yet Bubix latch, on the left of the track. Makes me nod to continue and they say sure I can finish the Special. Well. A few km. and, At last, flashing end of leg appears. The last km I walk in the dark, with reflected light, but it's better than not with direct sunlight, that was in my eyes. Step the arrival and I stop to wait Bubix.
I finish at 17.33, with a time of 7:15. Bubix arrives at 17.40 with a time of 7:31.
We dismantle the tank of Gilera and tape them on the sleeve that leaks water. Then we get ready and leave for 190 km. of transfer on asphalt, to get to Er Rachidia.
We travel fast 120 kmh. The headlights are fine, Luckily. After about 2:30 we arrive at the airport of the town of Errachidia. We make gasoline, We place the bike, We plant the tent, We change and we go to dinner. The Dakar bivouac, that is truly immense, the food is very good. Bubix (already 3 Dakar behind!) guide me to the discovery of the bivouac. After dinner we do maintenance to the media.
It is the third stop and decide to change oil. Some other thing to do and then I help out at Bubix. Then, At last, bedtime.
STAGE 4 – ER RACHIDIA – OUARZAZATE (FOUM ZGUID for bikes)
KM.: TRANSF. 96 – SS 405 – TRANSFER. 178 (only for cars and trucks) – MARATHON
Today's stage is marathon. There will be neither the plane so no speakers. You must be very careful. In late stage we won't get tools and spare parts.
The departure of my "liaison" is attached to 6.58.30- To Bubix 30 seconds after. The Commissioners give a "stroke" of Orange to the hubs, to ensure that no one changes the wheels. After 96 km. I take the transfer via the special stage at 8.33.30.
Until CP1, Km. 230, place of supply, the track is varied, sometimes quick and sometimes narrow and wide stony. Stamp at 13.37. Turci at 13.24 and Bubix at 13.36.
Then all in a handkerchief. Then again a good track, with small dunes, to km. 296. Here begins an erg. 15 km. Until CP2, place in the dunes, and then another 5 km. It seemed an erg recently but, already at the entrance, you could tell it was not so. There were cars and motorcycles ferme everywhere. Car smoking black, motorcycles covered it up with riders exhausted. I saw scenes look many times in previous Dakar DVD! Now I was there too and I had to get by.
At the entrance of erg arrival while you Bubix sand. Makes me go. At the same time also arrives and Paweł sands too. I'm off to the left, going away for a while, but then… also I planted! There we help each other. Few minutes and allotment. I go ahead and pass some dunes here.
I'm happy. I'm riding well. I pay attention to pass out from the trail, so finding supporting ground. At one point I almost cried at the top of a dunetta. Is helping a German who broke the motor right there. I go well until the dunes come between them so amazing. I fall and the bike you put in a bad location, with the wheels upstream. There is another biker on the dune side. Ask me help. I'll help him but he will have to specifically help me. We pull up his bike and then do the same with my. He suffers from back pain and… It also has a certain age!! 65 years!! It's a Scotsman, Robbie Allen, which usually sweeps on the Isle of Man! A fool, In short. Allotment and after a while comes Paul. After some dune made together, I fall. I ask him for help and he screams that he can't leave the bike and I have to do it alone. Cry that I won't make it… nothing. Paul says they can't help me. Ok, We tried again and I can lift the bike and to resume the ride. After a dune falls Paul. It is in a bad location. The rear wheel the crushes your foot in the sand. He calls me. I'm a mess, but in the second call… cried the bike on top of a dune and I go down to help him. The point of exit on the right which is better. After a couple of cords we arrive at CP2. Wonder how the terrain ahead: "Plus porteuse" the sand should be more bearings, According to Commissioner. It won't be quite so. We will still have to sweat over the next 5 km.
Then, At last, you exit the erg. That effort. I'm exhausted. It was hot and I drank all the water. I asked Paul to stop at CP for drinking, but he told me he was going to get dark and you had to exit before, so no stop. Now, outside the erg, seems to have finished, but not really. For 7 km. You must cross the vegetation off the track with small dunette very troublesome. Take left and after a km. Around I notice that there are no tracks. I'm alone and the cars that I see go on my right, Far away 500 meters. I'm not on the right track. Are without water and about to get dark. I FALL! I have to pull out of the bike, Somehow. I make a tremendous effort, but I raise. Then I go back on my trail until you reach the exit by the erg, where I had crossed a great track. The entrance and go in the opposite direction, towards the area where passing cars. Here is finally the exit by vegetation! Arrival at km. 323, where the track turns to cap 300, and I'll stop. I take a breath and stop a few cars to have water. Then I reboot.
Is going to get dark and I miss about 80 km. I do? I stop and I retire? No, a quick last forward on the road book and see that the track does not have dune, then I try. You go. Quiet, not to do anything stupid, but it goes. Piano piano night falls. Truly a pitch black. Motorcycle headlights they do a good job, I'm going to 50 kmh, about. Maybe less. It is not a problem of time, I just want to try to get. Every time I pass a truck. These steps are useful for two reasons. They comfort me on track I'm following and illuminate a day for a few seconds the area. However, After being overtaken, I have to sit still for a couple of minutes because the suspension of dust raised prevents me from seeing more than a meter. It's getting chilly, but that's OK. Step oued sandy, rocky areas, haunt the known points from the road book and slowly the km run.
Orient the rearview mirror to make sure that it reflects the light from the headlights to the trip, so you can see the mileage I'm going and keep tabs on signposts on the road book.
I see to my left, Far away, two motion lights. Will Paul? Will Be Bubix? I try to get closer but I could be wrong track, they could also be local so it is better to stay where they are, on the trail of trucks. Finally I see from afar the flashing light end of leg!! Arrival excited at the tent of Commissioners. "Bravò" tell me. Are the 20.56! Paul arrived at 19.39. He launched, in the final part, behind the truck, full throttle, together with an American. Wonder if there's still some motorbike around and tell me that there are still some thirty! Now, I think, I go to Bubix and tell him: "Since I did it?”. Do the full, I bring the bike to the Park closed and I go to the bivouac. We at Foum Zguid and the field is just for bikers. Beautiful.
Welcoming me a guy in the organization that shows me where I find the dining area. It gives me a lot with a towel, a sweatshirt, a pair of socks and slippers and a bag with cleaning staff. Then I show the showers. I find Paul telling me that Bubix has not arrived yet! It also tells me to call home because a South African motorcyclist died today and is therefore best be felt. Antonella sends me a text message saying that since I arrived. Well, then it is quiet. I call and I also speak with Ada, then I take a shower and eat anything. Give me a couple of blankets; I go to sleep, I have to rest. The atmosphere is particularly. The exclusivity of the bivouac only moto mixes the silence out of respect for the driver who lost his life.
I'm satisfied, I did a really good job. Bubix, as shown in the internet that gave me Antonella, is stopped before the CP2, in the dunes (burnt head gasket!). I'm sorry. A thought is for him too. Henceforth my Dakar will change.
STAGE 5 – OUARZAZATE (FOUM ZGUID for bikes) – TAN-TAN
KM.: TRANSF. 170 (No motorcycles) – SS 325 – TRANSFER. 280
I slept well, and very. Are well rested. Once ready, the operation of the Parc Fermé, I go to the bike and change the air filter. I don't watch either the chain.
I leave for last minutes 8.35.30. The more than thirty motion that last night had not yet arrived… I've never reached the end stage! A very short transfer and we are at the start of special. My way is to 8.55.30.
From Km. 18 cars and motorbikes take a narrow track, in the mountains, While the truck is followed by a larger. At km. 25, cìoè to the CP1, go up to the left, on a track barely visible, very narrow and Rocky. At CP1 I spend at 9.37. My time is 41.50, While Paul is 41.49!! You pass bends and passes. Cars coming soon and it's getting serious. Thankfully only the first I reach in the mountains, then the other come when they are already on the floor.
At CP2, km. 55, it rejoins with the main runway followed by trucks. The track turns into a dirt road very fast, per km. 20. Then again in a narrow track and Rocky. Many oued to pass.
The Roadbook stops working, I have to turn it by hand. First complication. The track then improves and becomes pretty smooth, until CP3, where does the full fuel, at km. 179. Just before the CP within a little strong in compression and the trip ICO goes off. Additional problem. Now I have neither road book or trip! The CP I find Paul. I stamp at 13.17.22 in 4 h at 21.52 m Paul 13.16.39, in 4:26 .39. Ask him to wait a second to go away together, Since I haven't Instrumentation. We start the second part of the stage. Rest at a distance of approximately 200 meters from him, sailing for both. I don't make any effort to keep up with him; My impression is that I could go a little faster than him. But he is sailing, and maybe that makes a difference. At some point, though, the support of GPS antennas jiggles.
I understand that it has to be broken one of the supports. I have to slow down or else, If everything breaks, you create a big problem. Fortunately, the track is not too bad and I can keep a pretty good step. Towards end of leg crossing Chaguin nosed truck. Search-and-rescue helicopter is coming!! Then find one of Tilliette with a wheel out of order. Continuous and arrival in end stage. Hours 16.47.35 in 7.52.05 – Paul closed at 16.44.04 in 7.54.04!! I was in front of him to 2 minutes!! It is the first time that I finish in front of a special! Send an SMS to Antonella. She answers me now. I also receive an SMS from friends of JVD!! I am very pleased. There are Spanish tourists upon arrival taking many photos. Paolo and I prepare ourselves with the oilskins for shelter from the cold and head for ben 280 km, to Tan Tan. And tomorrow we go in Mauritania!!
The transfer is long. Asphalt road, but the traffic is very. You pass a couple of towns. In a, Paul I lose. Use almost half an hour to get it back. Then, At last, We arrive at Tan Tan. We fill up at the gas station and via, to the airport.
We arrive in the end stage at 21.00. We place the bike and we go to dinner, without change. Kids ELF welcome us with coffee and assist. They remind us that in the morning we start very early so you better try to sleep. I still need to fix the road book, the trip and the support antennas, absolutely. After dinner I start working on the media. It takes me about an hour. The Workbench Elf is complete and so I can fix it right. Then step to the trip. Sensor, trip, sensor, trip. I can't understand what the malfunction. Then, At last, I am replacing the trip Touratech with another of the same brand and it works. Meanwhile, Paul has gone to sleep. Maybe a little help…
Anyway, At last, at 1.45 I stop and go to sleep under the tent of the restaurant. I undress and I put it in my sleeping bag. But the adrenaline in the bloodstream is not much and I can't get to sleep. I appisolo but I haven't slept really. Then, about three o'clock, the wind, they already had me annoyed during maintenance, strongly increases and the marquee falters. ASO and leaders strongly invite us to leave this area and so, While it starts to rain, gathering all my stuff in my sleeping bag and then put me in the ground, amid the tents, get dressed. I go inside the ticket area of the airport. I go to the bathroom to wash my face to wake me up and I dress completely. Then I go to the medical tent to make medicare the bubbles of the hands and feet. Prepare the bike and finish getting dressed.
STAGE 6 – TAN-TAN – ZOUERATE
KM.: TRANSF. 414 – SS 394 – TRANSFER. 9
I have basically only been napping for an hour. A little bit, Since the stop will be very busy. I turn the bike and exchange a few words with Paul. It reminds me that I have to stamp your Passport. I go back to the Airport Police Office and do stamp. Then I start toward the start of the stage. I wore the waxed, Since it's raining and windy. I decided, However, leave in the chest, that is increasingly overflowing, the chaps. Should I try to lighten up a bit my backpack: heavy burden. My departure, with Paul, is for the 5,33. Arrival at the start with a few minutes late, There is chaos, in view of the time. Are the controls of the equipment and safety equipment. My Sentinel has no power and so the technicians I bring a backup battery.
Finally giving birth. I forgot… The trip that last night I replaced, This morning didn't even turned on!!! Are no trip and with a road book that spins by hand. And the stage is to 800 km.!! And Paul is no longer there, has already left! Childbirth following another bike, because you can not see anything. In the first half hour is really a hell. Can't see beyond 2 or 3 meters. I have to be hooked to the front, otherwise I wouldn't know where to go. It's raining and there's a gale, as to having to stay bent one side. I also think to a withdrawal, Since it seems more dangerous this transfer that the rest of the race! I clench my teeth and I'm starting to think: If the weather remains so ugly, It may well be that reduce the stage or cancel or otherwise, and then today it is important to stay in the saddle! Also the stage follows in CAP 180 and so soon the weather is expected to improve. At least when it comes to the desert, in Smara. In short, It is a day in which reason is very important.
I stop at a gas station, strong rain. I'm full and then I'm a few minutes in the bar, If I may call it. There are many motorcycle riders stop. Then I reboot while it's dawning. The road is absolutely straight, South. Sleep is felt. This morning I didn't even put contact lenses and glasses give me a nuisance, because they move. I try to think and to make useful reasoning. Then arrival in Smara and I go to the gas station. While I wait to fill up the Hummer joins me to Gordon, an incredible beast. You open the door of the CoPilot and Gordon himself makes me a nod of greeting, While stretching the skin. Lucky him, He made her drive Copilot, Andy Grider, former motorcyclist to Dakar, and it has stayed. I, Instead, I'm wet like a chick, at least the legs, and I'm sleepy, no small.
Immediately after the petrol station, at km. 226, rough terrain starts, It continues to rain strong. The dirt road became a great morass and it slips incredibly.
The Desert are not really mud tires!! Even Giò Hall, the great, in an interview to say "never seen anything like this in 10 years of Dakar", while cleaning with a bottle of water radiators of his KTM Repsol.
Risk for a few flights and so I think to reduce speed and be very careful. Now you get into Mauritania and so it's foolish to throw everything right now. Just get to Tidjikja and then it's off to the Special. I try to follow other bikes, because they are always without Instrumentation. The kilometres pass. I stop to give cable a Leblanc, a Frenchman who has problems with the tire. Then I find one with a KTM 660 still in need of repair. Passing cars and trucks. At last, at km 321, arrival at the "wall", the famous frontier between Morocco and Mauritania. There are Blue Helmets. I stop and they ask me to take some pictures with me. You are welcome, go ahead. Even an officer takes a picture. Ok. Then I reboot and cross the border. We must stand for strength on the track because outside is mined zone!
Meanwhile the rain has almost ceased. The terrain is more consistent and also nice to drive, but sleep starts to get heavy. My eyes are dancing and I can't well to keep things in focus. And going at this rate, Anyway, arrival to the supply that is placed around 4 km. before the start of the Special, at km. 410.
Do the full allotment. Arrival at km. 414, in Tidjikja and only now, When I see the hour of start, I realize I'm late and that cars are already from approx. 5 minutes. I go by the Commissioners at start and STOP-OUT RACE! Tell me that I can't leave because the regulation provides that the bikes can be started up to 5 minutes before the first car!! I didn't remember this rule or rather thought was applicable only in the morning, at the start of the stage. I had to leave for the Special at 12.08, with Paolo. I arrived at 12.48. The first cars started at 12.45. Instead of going to implore the Commissioners to let me leave, I sit on the sidelines and beginning to give me a thousand titles (honorific not). Then I sit down and…I cry! My Dakar is over…sure would never have imagined: I have not broken the bike, I didn't hurt myself, I wasn't the victim of a cover-up fierce and I had to stop for the dark! It's a kind of weird to go out to tender. But the Dakar is this: incredible situations that arise out of nothing, excesses of all kinds resulting in an unexpected problem.
I'm going to talk to a Dutch, Cor Karremans, with a Yamaha 2 wheel drive. Broke the engine. Then comes a French, n. 137 -Delaunay, that is you late, but it has a waiver because it seems that a car has caused problems to the bike and ASO gave him a bonus. Breaks down. The helicopter shows where I am a motorcycle from an American, Hall, that got hurt soon after the start of the special and was evacuated. Then comes Jean Brucy who very kindly it concerns our problems, by good ex-biker. We take a picture together.
I speak with the Commissioners and I clarify that I await the truck broom. They tell me that if I want I can go to the track without the dunes and get to Zouerate. No, look up truck, no desire to drive.
Once certain to be out of the race, phone, with the sat phone, Antonella. He's very upset and she too, like me, immediately think of displeasure that will try Ada when he hears the news! Will be disappointed she too. I hope to soon consular.
Now begins the wait of recovery. Time passes, leave all cars, then all trucks. So the Commissioners leave and I remain with the Dutch.
Get the local police that stay with us for security. Then come the Dutchman's friends. He leaves with them and leave the bike. I call the PC Course to find out when you get the truck. They say it is only a few km. by me. Will be true, but it will come only at night. Throughout the afternoon passed to Tidjikja sensations, the thoughts and sorrows succeed one another and are linked. I do not know which prevail. I now think that however I did what I wanted. Then I think I'd be able to go further and now had in view, as a goal, the rest day; then I think it's just as well that don't get hurt. Anyway it's over and I already know that the thought of withdrawing me bring it inside for a long time. The experience of the Rally of the Pharaohs 2003 I still burns now, When I think about it. Opportunities, in these races, Don't be thrown away, Why not recur.
The day had begun badly, with alarm clock, If I may say so, Since I had not slept, in the rain. I felt it would be a decisive day. And so it was. Too bad. You may not know how it would go if I could get into special. I'll know after Turci terminated the stop after the 8 in the evening. Surely it would have been tough for me too. But now I was prepared and I had proven myself in the past few days. Shame really.
The day is spent with these rough times:
– Departure of the Liaison from Tan Tan to 5.33 or a few minutes after;
– Stop at the first gas station at short leg in the bar at 7.00;
– Refuel in Smara, While it is dawning, at 8,30, so the beginning of the track;
– Passage of the "wall", Morocco border- Mauritania, at 10,50 (Paul's past at 10.30);
– Arriving in Tidjikja at 12.48 about (Paul at 12.00 CA.).
The transport arrives broom, now it's dark. Two bars with the crew and then load the bike. From cabin designed for motorcycle riders out a guy who'll find out then be Jakes, the Rep. CECA. He was stranded in supply, I crossed in the morning. It's pretty tried and desperate. After about half an hour it starts. I eat anything that's on the truck and then I settle for some sleep. We will spend the night in the truck that will run through the whole track up to Zouerate. I fall asleep. During the night we will have a stage to load another bike. It is a Suzuki and the pilot is Mark Verriest, Belgian. He burned the clutch. Also he is desperate. And who is not? The truck picks up the track, sballottandoci nonstop. Then, While it is dawning, we stop again to upload a English, Mike Extance, with a Honda. He's not desperate… cries even. And is in his fourth Dakar!! I'll know then that he was trying to make result and was in position in the overall standings 34. Even had mortgaged the House to participate in this Dakar!! Crazy really!!
Finally you get to Zouerate, at the airport. We unload and truck, with the bikes, continues to Atar. We will be taken to Atar in plane. I find the Commissioner Farnsworth with whom Exchange few words.
Makes me cringe. It relaxes me. The wait is not long. In just over an hour they get on the plane of the Commissioners and of the ASO and lead us to the City headquarters of the day off and I… I fall asleep.
I woke up, as I watch the desert from the window, Cesar, the coach of the ERTF I know well, now, After various Rallye des Pharaons, tell me whether it is better by plane. I answer … No, It was better in motion. Brucy gave the same answer, the day before, When asked if he preferred the car on my bike.
After a couple of hours you will reach Atar. The airport is much larger than that of Zouerate, that was military. It's already full of planes and still more to come.
Around a bit for the central part of the bivouac, in the print area, and then I do and I get some calls. I speak with Antonella telling me that Ada weeps and despairs, railing to the Commissioners, According to her guilty of not letting me leave for the Special. Also Antonella is sorry. Telling me to rest assured and thinking… Until next time! No kidding, I say. But in my thoughts the Dakar is now entered forcefully. And I don't know when it will come out. Then I talk to Bubix, that is already home. Meanwhile a journalist, realizing me that, still dressed as a motorcycle rider, I speak Italian on the phone, expect me to finish the call. Tells me to be Italy Sport and I asked why has already arrived in Atar. I explain the reason. He says sorry, and he says he's waiting for Italian riders to interview. I won't be among those.
I'm going to get my chest and cried the tent, close to air cargo crates.
I'm changing, and while I do I realize that I'm not going to wear this motorcycle clothing. I am sad. Whatever the reason for withdrawal, It is always a sad moment.
Then I begin to wander around the campfire. I go to a restaurant and find Mark Verriest, with whom do I talk. Is drinking a beer. It tells me that it's been months since he drank. I answer that the same goes for me. We exchange ideas and thoughts and we try to find reasons why our retreats are more acceptable. We laugh, We realize that we are looking for excuses, but that's OK. This makes us feel better.
In the afternoon start coming riders bikes and then, via via, all other. There's also the various Italian and, At last, Paul. The stage was shortened by 170 km. Special, because of a sandstorm.
Have been hijacked on the tarmac. This was a good opportunity, Too bad, really too bad. I threw away a good chance to get the day off.
Paul is very tired and apparently his motorcycle not rotten to duty. Tomorrow, stop day throughout the caravan, the focus on complete maintenance of the medium.
Towards evening I'll see to the ticket office to find a place to return. I'm talking to a guy who says he has two seats on the flight out of Paris of the day 15. Do the same for date night, to speak with Mark. We agreed to seek together the ticket. I'm having dinner with him, then we go back to the ticket office, because Mark says that the ticket that I've been offered is at a very low price, about half as much as calls for ASO. So we buy the ticket to Paris. Then turn slightly to the bivouac, Another beer and then to bed.
Thoughts are a thousand. I try to fall asleep right away to remove them. Can't do it, being still very tired from the previous two days.
Upon awakening, After a night spent in a tent instead of by truck, assails me for the sorrow. I seem to be at the bivouac unnecessarily, Since then I shouldn't start in race. I go to breakfast and then wandering aimlessly prefixed bivouac.
I'm helping to Paolo for the maintenance of his bike.
During the day I have opportunity to exchange a few words with all the Italian riders present, In addition to the mechanics. The "Italian" patrol receives the "visit" of the press; before Judith Tommaselli, French journalist, very kindly, asks a few questions at all to publish an article on Bike Sprint; then even Italy sports TV that only affects the
best countrymen, contrary to what should do a TV like. The stories of individuals are, in my opinion, always much more fascinating and full of feelings of those of high ranking officers or pilots. Those who toil more feel more stress and difficulties and exceptional nature of the race who is running.
Cedo in Capodacqua and Masons my mousse Commons. I will succeed, though, to put back on the plane i just want the next morning, Since Euromaster restores their wheels only then. Paul works around the clock and has the bad surprise to find the engine without oil, Despite having changed only two nights previously, in Tan Tan. It amazes me, There is no doubt that he has put little. This doubt is gripping and will start, from Atar, with the belief that its engine is about to abandon it. So you won't be, Although must withdraw approximately 60 km. After the reboot, but for a coverup fierce, with battery and consequent zeroing cycle to start the half.
Paul has spent the whole day off saying that he had arrived at the terminus, I couldn't make it more, that would not go away. In short, no longer believed in their means, physical and mechanical. Strange, for as I do. Not even lunch or dinner, in the day of Atar. I'm not very talkative, certain, but he is more bear than usual.
During the day I got to feel a little all friends on the phone and arrange with Antonella return from Paris to Milan, reservation of hotels in France. I talk on the phone with Ada, that is somewhat recovered from the disappointment, Although still mourns.
After a good night's sleep, on the morning of the race I re-start the melancholy axle. See all pilots who are preparing, warming the bike and making all those classic gestures ante stage. I, Instead, dressed as a tourist, I await a plane to Paris.
I approach the tents of other Italians. Masons asks me the favour to "withdraw" the tent. But wonder how do, Since it's still full of clothes and other. He says it is foldable bag and throw it so behind the motorcycle wheels, the plane C130!!
So do I. Then I close my tent, prepare the case, that ASO must show in Paris, with wheels, and, with my luggage I start toward the start of the "liaison" from day, just outside the airport. I see parading all bikes, and choked up salt when they're gone all. It's really over, now it's time to go home. Starts the waiting in the lobby of the airport station.
The tail is becoming increasingly chaotic. Also meeting the Scot Robbie Allen with whom we had helped in the dunes. Mark and I realize that there is a possibility of becoming "walking" so we put craning tipped the guy checking in. Done deal. My baggage is "accepted" and we go out on the runway. Tell me to put my bag under the wings of the plane, How do others, and I run it. Then I go up and ask for a stewart if the plane face some technical stopover. Says no, that goes right in Paris. The flight runs smoothly. We arrive on time in Paris and I go to the baggage claim area. The surprise is that my sack…will never come!! How it is possible, After I put him personally under the wings of the plane, I don't get it. I go to the Office bags and I fill out a form, then I go to hotel. I step in the room. I take a shower and then I go down to the bar for a hoagie. Of all my equipment I saved only jacket and helmet. Luckily. Everything else lost: Orthopedic knee pads, pants, gloves, mesh, sleeping bag, boots.
The next day allotment to Malpensa, not until I demanded again news of luggage at the airport, without receiving nice feedback. On arrival in Milan there is Antonella waiting for me.
I am very pleased. I missed a lot, But I heard very close. Much more than the various Rallye des Pharaons. She probably realized that this is something else. More difficult and important. And most engaging.
So addictive that I can definitely say that my adventure to Dakar will continue, soon, I hope, indeed very soon!
It was a really intense experience, devastating, both positive and negative. The mind will remain focused on this adventure for a long time. I dare say I was bewitched by this adventure so hard, so challenging, so whelk. And to be able to get free from this whirl the first thing to do is try again, to Dakar and dip your feet into the ocean and Lake Rosa. Now I know that I'll try.
My passion for the Dakar was great… now is immense!!!
Charles Albert Maisonet – KTM Nr. 91
Maximum Chinaglia – GILERA Nr. 90
Paul Turci – KTM Nr. 89