272_ Fabrizio_Meoni_Team_Gauloises_1

A very strong rider with a big heart: Fabrizio Meoni

It's been years, but it seems like yesterday. On the 11th January 2005, during the course of the eleventh stage of the Barcelona-Dakar, between Atar and Kiffa, per kilometre 184,85 on a stretch of track with several undulations dies Fabrizio Meoni. The accident is a sudden, terrible and irrevocable, with a dynamic that you can't still to explain fully.

Cyril Despres, that runs in front of the Italian, does not notice anything. Will Patrick Zaniroli feral known himaunt on arrival, and a week later the French will win his first Dakar. Shortly after arriving Marc Coma, Isidre Esteve and David Fretigné. The latter activates the radio safety recalls balises on site the medical helicopter. Meoni is subjected to 45 minutes of CPR, but there's nothing left to do. Meoni had accomplished 47 years on 31 December.

After Motocross and Enduro, Justin Meoni was passed to Rally in 1988, in 1990 He had won the Incas Rally, from Lima to Rio de Janeiro, a KTM 500 two-stroke, and in 1992 He finished 12nd place his first Dakar from Paris to Cape Town. In an impressive crescendo, Fabrizio Meoni won in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Dubai, and in 2000 the World Cup.

In 2001 Fabrizio Meoni won his first Paris-Dakar, inaugurating the series of KTM that lasts until today, and the following year was repeated, winning the Arras-Madrid-Dakar with KTM twin that had developed with Bruno Ferrari, the "iron", and Arnaldo Nicoli. Past the shop he ran in Castiglion Fiorentino to the mechanic and friend Romeo Feliciani, Fabrizio Meoni wanted to do even a couple of seasons and of Dakar, then retreat. In 2003 He had finished in third place and in 2004 on the sixth but with some boredom of engine and tires, so he decided to play even the Edition 2005, because he wanted one last Dakar without problems. January 11th Fabrizio Meoni was on course for victory.

In a suburb of Dakar a school bearing the name of Fabrizio Meoni. For years he worked on the project, Unbeknownst to all, with Father Arturo Buresti, and the testimony of his sensitivity to the lives of the less fortunate, his immense love for that race and for the desert, for the simple things in life. Fabrizio Meoni knew enchant for its unpretentious authenticity, He had the charisma of the right people, opponents feared him and that they were proud to compete with him, men who respected him, friends who don't ever forget.
(moto.it source)


Interview with Bruno Birbes

In November I called Fabio, and after giving me of boho and incompetent as has always, tells me which can give me one last chance: We would have to do an article on a certain…
Obviously ended up our games, tells me: «Oh, see that this is one TRUE, is an old-school already, not a wimp like you…». And still: "This has made more than a dozen, among those on motorcycles as a pilot and as an assistance and team manager. Is one of your parts, a Brescia…».

Bresciano who, I am a GAL. My wife, my daughter and my dog are bresciane, but that's a separate discussion… So I go ahead and ask him the name, He tells me he is called Charles Edson, Bruno Birbes. But I know him!!! How Many Dakar? What? That Bruno Birbes? Ah, yes, I had heard… Fabio is right, I'm a scoundrel.
Yes, but is it possible that every time I meet "" Bruno (Note the article before the name, the bresciana) that always seems to be a docile 65-year-old who likes to picnic with friends still at motorcycle rides… What is, a joke? Whereupon began investigating- King, call a couple of friends and I speak- No one who gives the gas for sale, who got behind in classes ca professional riders with names, played of the Pharaons Rally during the first six.

These banks make me angry: is it possible that when you deal with them always seem to newcomers, those who have lived in the hut no yesterday afternoon, then go see below and discover which are dragons that stuff there!?
Now let me tell you a little bit of who we are talking about. We're talking about a promising young champion class 1949, doing her first steps with Gali 50, Italjet 50 and Müller 50 in the early ' 60 gymkhanas. Even in the 1968, the six days of San Pellegrino, won the bronze medal on Müller 50 motorized Zündapp, No at the moment do not buy a Müller 125, Montesa motor, puts it in the hands of the legendary preparer of Borgo San Giacomo, Maestroni (recently deceased), and start the adventure of racing. VA strong little boy, has that Twinkle that makes him stand before, has that sample madness. Thus began to make a name for themselves and friendships begin to arrive and aid.

From 1970 the ' 74 runs with CZ 250 and Maico 500, and alternates Cross regularly, where it collides with the names of that era, the likes of Valerie and Abdul. While he tells me these stories at some point Bruno, serious as a policeman, I cite an episode of 1970 He starred with the Maico 500 in an international competition: take to the skies, wrong speed and Lands on the floor after a crazy flight, folding handlebars, running boards and front subframe and reducing the circle shaped rugby ball. Whereupon tells me: "And from there are as you see me now, before I was tall blond». With this I realized it is one that makes fun alone, like all healthy bikers…

In those years comes the officiality with Puch in regularity and the great encounter with the man of change, Silvio Struggling, at the time assistance workshop Puch and mechanic trainer. In 1973 Charles Edson joined the official team Fernandez and becomes a pilot Puch in all respects. Running with the 180 CC, made to fit the six days of the marches of Camerino 1974, and with the 250 Replica Everest two Carburetors, with which to play the podium end of season rankings in Italian, battling with drivers such as Testori, Nikki t and Ferrari.

In 1975 try putting my head in place and decides to open a dealership Puch and BMW; takes advantage of the very important figure of Struggling, stop running officially and began a flourishing entrepreneurial career. I use the term "proof" because, Racing- mind talking, the head together she pretended to put it, minor races and devoting himself to open the shutters in the morning. He married the daughter of Struggling, gave him of grandchildren, He sold many beautiful BMW boxer, gentle and quiet, It has streaked straight for a few years. The problem is that under the ashes there was still the volcano turned on: one fine day he woke up, He watched a BMW, He turned to his father-in-law, Struggling, and told him: "How about one and we go to Dakar!».

Here's, now I am c… 1984, Rallye des Pharaons, Puch 500 4 times, 24°; the following year the same locations, always jumping controls timbre and taking penalty hours. Then he joined the great adventure: in 1987 you decided to take part in the Dakar. In the wake of the successes of Gaston Rahier, his official BMW and the fact of being dealer, build, He and Struggling, a missile from the desert on a BMW boxer. The Pharaohs of the 86 go to test it and come back with a 6th overall, then off to Dakar. Without assistance, experience and with so much throttle, on the third day without sleep at night soft top and breaks shoulder, ribs, etc…

Moves to an end stage and in his head, motorcycle adventurer's sick, think again… Carlo Florenzano, then
Honda team manager with Orioli and Tade, takes it and makes him understand that his race is over, load it onto the plane in place and bring the bike to Agadez. While he tells me the episode, Bruno has tears in her eyes. The fact is that, Obviously, reorganizes and even create a Team, the Assomoto, with the help of pollen and Girardi determinant (his great friends, two more sick of rally).

So, After buying a Unimog, PA tone for Dakar 1988. In this edition there is a 1.150 km… is an issue very hard, breaks the Exchange in the second stage and after having towed by Winkler to the finish, It tells that he was out of gas (because otherwise they forfeit) and passes the finish line by turning on the bike with the air pulled by pretending that everything is OK… After breaking the frame under the Steering sleeve, He rides a stage and then the firm; in Bamako changes the engine oil now goes, but eventually arrives and also great.

The Rally of the Pharaohs of 88 goes with an XR 600. Very fierce and ready to get a good result, plant a mine than just remembers that after he stopped to give a De Petri… complete darkness until Gauri tells him to sit still that helicopter is coming. Two days in a coma in Cairo. From 1989 just motorcycles, but only to drive. Arrives and he gets run team manager Beppe Cinnamon, also because it's still bagged. Since ' 90 become official assistance for individuals enrolled in the Dakar and Gilera ' 91 Official Kawasaki Team become even with KLE 500 Twins.

Struggling has become a dragon dakariane preparations, and from the 1985 the ' 95 might try something like 25 bike. It is known as a tough character and he knows how to put together a motorbike from the desert, so many rely on "Grandpa". During these years make assistance to various drivers, including Aldo Winkler, and live the adventure of Dakar old-fashioned, the African ones, becoming in effect a major team and recognized as certainty from the Dakar (among the many anecdotes that Bruno tells me I'm struck by the time the arrival of a stage in Mauritania Orioli comes with finished, Marathon stage without assistance; Birbes is there, and with the help of some friends dismounts all in one night, Exchange system and allows the sample to do the next day's stage, get support and finally win his third Dakar).

Up in the midst of a transfer, DAB to smear a truck stopped at lighthouses switched off; in 120 mph they see it on the top and strike him with flank, they tear all wheels that way and start carambolare. To exit down the glass before kicking with truck smoking ready to ignite. To understand this better, Bruno realized that night that the Jokers were over…
His BMW now keeps it at home on the fourth floor, next to toys grandkids, in front of the desk, close to the photographs. He is a kind of good manners and respectful of the House and sixty of his order, never again will you think that devil from Dakar who always threw myself into the adventure, that capital letter.

Among the photos that I find at home by Bruno Birbes, one strikes me as particularly, and so I ask him what he was doing in that picture. Immediately starts laughing and I'll explain that in an edition of the years ' 90 the Dakar during a layover Aldo Winkler comes with broken arm. Charles Edson, that is his assistance, knows he doesn't have the parts there and the next day must start its pilot. Now, Let me quote the definition of genius that is given in the film Amici Miei: "the genius is fantasy, intuition, glance and execution speed!”. So Birbes you look around with his arm broken arm in hand. There at the side there is a Mauritanian kiosk with the tables and chairs of iron. With making furtive grab a Chair, saw a leg and in the divided into two in the inner canals broken arm; rivets all (Obviously in a serious) and the next day Winkler is broken down… and he finished the race. Boys, I swear I sparkled eyes!

Based on an article by Enduro rider Magazine, text by Paolo Silvestri

Rinaldi 1987

My Dakar 1987 by Michele Rinaldi

Perhaps not everyone will remember the fleeting involvement of Cross world champion 125 Michele Rinaldi to Paris Dakar 1987.

The bike was a Suzuki DR 650 standard prepared by the team of French importer, flying at the brothers Joineau.

The race for Michele didn't go very well and by his own admission: "in all the experience was useful, Since I created a wealth of experience that will be useful to me – confirmation Rinaldi. I'm glad the decision even though in some cases I damn the day I thought I'd subscribe to Dakar. It was not only physical problems, down easily overcome, but also of mental and physical problems that underlie a marathon long and exhausting as the Dakar. "

Supports Rinaldi :"in Paris in the prologue I also managed to enjoy myself convinced that this was already the real race. The best to remain aloof, I wonder why? I found out at my expense, they knew that the real race begins after Tamanrasset. I rather like a good freshman staring already and committed my promo big mistake. We would have thought Africa to calm down ".

"I still remember Balestrieri, winner of the second stage, tell me – You Michele did not understand anything about this race ".
Unfortunately the 9th stage, a fall left shoulder dislocated already in 1984 and Michael gave his salute to Dakar.
The experience of Suzuki at the 1987, was not completely negative, as one of the motorcycles he saw the finish line, in an Honourable ninth place in the absolute with Marc Joineau.

IMG 042 copy-XL

My Dakar 1996 by Aldo Winkler

“On the last day, two special, so much tension, the goal is to get. The bike poor thing doesn't make it more.

The last stage which leads to pink Lake there is a sand chestnut, and hear you screaming in agony of my Kawasaki engine sucks and anxiety, I will always remember the poor Cavandoli that broke the bike 3 km to go.

The arrival is a liberation. Arrived! It was now an obsession, do 20 days with this sole purpose filled with joy, but at the same time feels a void interiore is lacking something.
The feelings after arrival in Dakar are contrasting: You must retrieve a weariness that stays for a while and I get a little existential crisis.
Thanks to Team Assomoto, Bruno Birbes, and thank you because in this Dakar I met a wonderful person, Alberto.”

Ed: In 1996, Aldo will bring his Kawasaki in Dakar at the 19th place.
Source (FB Aldo Winkler)

Maletti 1987-1

My Dakar 1987 by Guido Maletti

Guido Maletti, Reggiano, join the Paris Dakar 1987 in 29 years. Runs for passion, driven by a passion for motorcycles and adventure. Running with a Yamaha 600, little cared for under the area's look, so much so that friends of Team GR remind him of, often riding the bike more ugly than the entire Dakar. In Tahoua, under the starry sky, for the wing of a Fokker for airport runway asphalt mattress chat before bed.

Guido what is for you the Dakar? «A great adventure that I think is within my reach for which I decided to break the piggy bank of my savings to be here, struggling to get».

And the high score list you don't care? «Little».

Though the Italian rider never fails to make me notice its good positions behind the officers… Inevitable, then, the question on relations between individuals and officers.

«Great respect, they are very good but they have too many advantages, think my bike on sand "fly" around 115 timetables, their far greater speed whizzing instead. In addition they simply have to think only to run, Instead we always arrange».

Maletti has just put its ugly and indestructible Yamaha, eating a hot chicken in sauce fantasy to Africatour and lies down in my sleeping bag with the sky as a roof and the asphalt as mattress.

Guido Maletti will conclude the Paris Dakar at 12° place, third Italian at the finish line.

(On the web photos and info on Guido Maletti is not very, a private from the "handcuff" heavy. If you have any material we invite you to publish it and share it).

Source MotoSprint

Gargate 1987

My Dakar 1987 by Baloyi Grassotti

The Team G. R. Yashica to Paris Dakar 1987 host two pilots, Aldo Winkler and beat Grassotti which will race starts with a’ Honda XL 600 and a Kawasaki KLR 650, both completely standard.

The 31 December the race from Paris. The 4, 5 and 6 January after moving to Africa, you do the first three specials: Ghardaia-El Golea, El Gholea – In Salah, In Salah Tamanrasset. Gargate, with the KLR 650 always hovers around 36° – 37° postor. During the Tamanrasset – Arlit, in Explorer's adventure in the desert happens Gargate, taking the wrong road on the border with Niger.

Gargate 1987

“I realised I was on a wrong path – tells the biker – I tried to go back and find the right references. So I wandered up to finish the fuel. Descended the darkness, with the cold that was beginning to take its toll, I could only hope for a miracle to be found before the next day. Suddenly came out of two lighthouses.

Were those of a car driven by two Tuareg who view my situation, They told me to wait. Are broken down, and with them my hopes. However soon after they came back with gasoline from a vehicle abandoned by another competitor withdrew. The tank is full, directed me to a star and they told me to follow her always. So I did and I arrived at Arlit just in time to see share the other competitors.”-

Ends so the 7 January 1988, for arrival after the maximum time,

Terruzzi 1988

Claudio Terruzzi, a nice “manetta”

"Obviously I raced the Dakar to win it; full throttle from dawn to dusk and I was well prepared to run and going strong. The first year I won the rookie of the year award – best newcomer – but I had no idea it was so hard.

When I arrived in Dakar had a sense of having lived 15 years in 15 days, for the experience, for voltage, the thrill. I swear to the finish I got changed, If you know what I mean!

I lived the experience more extreme dShe my life: often alone, No civilization around for hours; hundreds of kilometers without technical assistance, with stops maratahon from 900/1000 km.

In that issue, the 5 stage, Michele Rinaldi has forfeited because he deemed too tough. I remember people crying at camp, stages finished late at night, pilots arriving at 5 in the morning.

You do realize that for six months in Milan I had nightmares, I woke up suddenly, I saw the red light on the tv and I thought it was the encampment. "

Photo provided by Claudio Terruzzi
Honda 1988

(source red-live.it)

Lorenzo Tumblers on his Honda XR 400 the Dakar 2005

My Dakar 2005 by Lorenzo Buratti

My name is Lorenzo Buratti and childbirth for Dakar 2005 After gaining experience in minor races but still tough as the Pharaons rally or the rally of Tunisia, I feel ready, physically I'm in super good and my little Honda XR400 not no problem.
We cannot count on any assistance I sought an easy bike mechanically, on which to do maintenance at night in the shortest possible time, during the day can I use only my ability to navigate well, certainly not the top speed.

Anyway if you are a private pilot that aims only to finish the race seems fairer strategy.
Throughout the first week the facts give me reason, Let the nonsense to others, every day they withdraw more than ten motorcycles, I I never miss and surplus of just doing my honest work and trying not to fall for not having to work all night on the bike to fix it, were still years where you could face a Dakar that way, now I don't know, It all seems too fast in South America, in Africa people are leaking really ...

Esco absolute from the 57th sixth stage, Zouerate-Tichit, journalists present the will describe the next day as one of the toughest stages of the history of the Dakar, one hell of soft sand that no one had imagined, arrival at the bivouac at midnight and 45 after more than 16 hours in the saddle, I thought I had screwed up and I'm lost, Instead the Park closed there are only 56 bike, at 4 the morning had come only 22 car, the next day they had to cancel the race because all helicopters were out looking for all those who have had to spend the night in the desert, they are proud of me and when I get a day of rest in the middle of the race I feel really happy. I feel that I can do.

When do I need to withdraw because of a problem in the carburetor causing the spill of all petrol are at the end of the tenth stage, approximately in 52nd position absolute on 250 motorcycle games, stuck on a dune floury of Mauritania, two kilometers from end stage. An Italian pilot whose name I can't remember refuses to give me a litre of gasoline that would allow me to get to the finish line, He was afraid of losing is too long.

Tiredness and night was coming they send me into confusion, for a number of reasons I still doubt that it can also be an electrical problem, I remove the fairing and check all wires, the XR has electric start so I try to restart the bike to pedal until collapse, I recover the medical helicopter which I dropped! next to bike and leads me to the end stage where the truck would pick me for fucks at the bivouac ... end.

The morning after the caravan leaves again and am only Italian at the bivouac to await the repatriation flight for Paris, comes the news of the accident to Fabrizio Meoni and the organization is looking for me to communicate that, everything is surreal, all cry, the helicopter arrives with the black sack hung out on the stretcher, I just want to go home ... Hello Fabrizio.

follow me on www.lorenzoburatti.com

Alberto Mercandelli DAkar 1990

Alberto Mercandelli Dakar 1990

As for Carlo Alberto Mercandelli, very nice VW dealer and Audi of Alexandria, his journey to Dakar 1990 was even more daring.

"I was together with two other pilots says we were advised by a helicopter of the organization that we were on the wrong track, but doing a stretch off piste to get to the right path I stop mo-to maybe for breaking a valve.
It was impossible to hope for a rescue as far out of the way that I should go and I didn't know where I was. But I did not even crossed my mind to turn the balise didn't want to drop out and I didn't want to finish my race.

"After five hours when I started to calculate water and food in my possession I saw from a distance of tuareg with camels. We tied the bike to animals and they pulled me off the soft sand where I had planted, then one of them has gone to get a pick up and I was loaded with the bike. Paying means.

«Looked it over, but after a while’ the driver dumped me saying I had to go to work. So I stopped a huge truck locally but led by an Italian. Took out of me and the bike but after 3 km also added that to get me to Agadez wanted 10 millions of lire, really too. Replied that if I had accepted I would have downloaded.

And did. So I got a row of other means of transportation including eventually a bus. It took a million to convince the driver to contravene regulation and charging me and especially the bike, but in the end I did it. And between chickens, native hens and I managed to get to Agadez».

A beautiful adventure, but it told only half. Because the irreducible Mercandelli obviously was not content to arrive at your destination: Once in the city he has tracked down his team and did repair the bike, While a shower, even finding the time to shave.

Then, washed and scented, occurred at the stage finish around midnight, Having phoned home to reassure the family that the next day would have read of his failure to find; a story dating back to many hours before. That way you're able to present «regularly» when the engine is running and continue the race, the flat-rate penalty for late burdened, a further three hours for the jump control to stamp and a large detachment of General; but he still continued on to Dakar.

Not inconsiderable relief: Since there are no witnesses to all these events, the Organization could not take sanctions against Mercandelli. The word gets around, but no tests, to the delight of Team Assomoto that after Dakar four pilots last year are trying to repeat the feat with three, saw the unexpected withdrawal of Caldwell, that along with Gao completed the team.
(source motosprint)

Alexander Depetri Dakar 1992

Ciro De Petri and his Dakar 1992

Paris – Sirte – Le Cap 1992: the southern border of Chad marks the entrance of black Africa, but not for everyone. For Alessandro De Petri the black Africa has become many kilometres before, in Niger. He managed to get into motorcycles in Dirkou, but he did it with the right clavicle fracture. Unable to start the next day.
So, One more time, «Cyrus» seen escaping from the hands a race that he felt could win, and his anger is almost palpable, made even stronger from the amazing dynamics of incident.

«I arrived to refuel before everyone — is unleashed but km after being broken down I removed one hand from the handlebars to seat the road book, because the paper flowed. I've never done!
I was taking it easy, but I took a hole and the bike went sideways. I haven't even had time to bring the handlebars, and with one hand I really couldn't hope to check my Yamaha, Moreover, with full. Threw me in the air and I hit hard. That stupid incident!».

Dalia freewheeling talks, without stopping. Fails to accept the withdrawal, can't imagine the bad luck that continues to haunt him.
"You can't explain how you feel when something like that happens to you. You can't accept stopping so after 8 months of preparation.
Hours and hours spent in the gym every day and a team of people working to prepare your race. Immediately after the fall I couldn't keep my eyes open, and i blacked out. When there I shot I felt like I was waking up from a bad dream, as if everything were to end there. Yay, I thought, but when I put on the helmet of Peterhansel, I had stopped to help me, I understand that unfortunately was not just a dream».

«Cyrus» however did not want to resign himself to retire. Not yet. (source MS)