Fennel 1979

Have you ever wondered: because Dakar?

Why Dakar? Have you ever stopped to think about why Sabine decided to end her adventure in the capital of Senegal? Several times we have tried to trace the origin of the choice, looking for certain information. The only things you find are hypotheses.

Certain, Sabine will surely have looked for a city overlooking the sea, with a port that facilitated the logistics of re-entry, a French-speaking city. But Dakar is not the only one. He could have chosen Algiers and thought of his raid differently, making it even easier to return to Europe.

In short, after years of studying the African race the answer didn't come up. Hypothesis only. Sensible, Legitimate, but hypotheses.

As often happens the solution of the problem is found by paying attention to how the question is asked, to spend time figuring out what to look for and what to ask, before you even start searching and asking.

So from asking ourselves "why Dakar" we have come to rephrase the question and ask ourselves: who might know? Who was in contact with Sabine and is still reachable today. With a unique answer that I miss the Storna Horse the name popped up immediately: Jean-Claude Morellet, known to all by the name of Fennel.

Fenouil is a journalist, photographer and motorcyclist French, one of those who participated from the first edition of the pioneering race organized by Sabine and who later was also Director Corsa.

We wrote to him and asked him if he remembered why Dakar, if there was a reason, if Sabine had ever told him about it.

The two met during the second edition of Abidjan-Nice, the one in which Sabine risked getting lost and that made him want to create a race that had the opposite direction, from Europe to Africa.

It was Fenouil himself, according to what he brings us back, to suggest to Thierry Sabine to go to Dakar. Fenouil had already reached the capital of Senegal in 1973 riding a Kawasaki Big Horn (the journey is told in "On a motorbike in Dakar in the sahara hell" Vertical Sea editions).

So the mystery about the choice of destination is this. The will of a restless and daredevil adventurer like Sabine to organize a race that would start in Europe and arrive in Africa and the experience of a photographer friend, journalist and adventurer who suggested the Senegalese capital.

Probably among the ingredients that made this raid mythical and immortal is the intuition to leave Europe, the visibility of the departure from Paris helped make the race legendary.

Text by Nicholas Bertaccini


Peak 87

Dakar 1987 – Belgarda, New, confidence in the mono

After Marinoni's forfeit is Peak the foreman

Yamaha's credentials after Franco Picco's success in the Pharaohs Rally – Belgarda are very high; the value of the pilots is out of the question: they'll go down in the race Peak, Medardo and Fat to replace Andrea Marinoni who won't be able to DAKAR 87 Peakrun because of the aftermath of an accident.

There remains only one mole: The bike is always the 660 Thumper. Light, handy and reliable, complains about the power problem, and therefore the maximum speed, compared to bmw and Honda twin-cylinder bikes and Yamaha itself 900 four-cylinder used by the French.

Lately, Paris-Dakar has been dominated by large. motorcycles that allow you to go to almost 200 Kirih in the immense desert sand straights and gain time against the smaller monocylidrids. The choice of Belgarda, New, Instead, seeks to take advantage of the skills of handling and more simplicity and mechanical accessibility.

A project also linked to the commercialisation of the means: although modified directly by Yamaha racing department in Japan, le Hold 660 reflect the characteristics of the standard product. The power has been increased to more than 50 HP, The capacity of the tanks is 55 while the dry weight barely exceeds 150 Kg.

Peak 1987 Copy

Features that in Yamaha's own plans should allow it to face the various multi-cylinder and recover in the paths of the savannah the time lost on the long straight stretches of desert.
Of the same opinion is also Peak: "To win the Dakar, it is not enough to have so much power. Others Picco_Auriol_Neveu_1987they'll go stronger, but driving a heavier bike also requires more physical effort. After many stages, fatigue can play a key role in not increasing the risk of falls and getting to the bottom.".

You have a little regrets about not being able to run with the FZ 900 bacou and Olivier will use?
"The French have been carrying out the FZ-derived engine design for some years, but so far they have not been able to gather positive results. I hope, because the brand to be defended is the same, whether it's a good year, but I've never tried it so I can't say anything. Let's wait for the Dakar to finish, we'll talk about it for the 88th.


DAKAR 1998 | YAMAHA dominates, but Austria Korps are pressing

PeterhanselAnd’ was the victory race – the number 6 and a record – announced and discounted Stéphane Peterhansel and his Yamaha 850 twin-cylinder. If for the driver French there is the satisfaction of having overtaken Cyril Neveu, standing at 5, for the Japanese company is the number 9. And it will probably be the last since Yamaha has announced its retirement from the “toughest race in the world”.

Leave space for single-cylinder, KTM and BMW, Probably, Honda's return. In fact, the supremacy of this fantastic duo has been very evident since the beginning of the race. Let your spirits in Europe, stages in France and Spain where the approach to Africa was a routine fact rather than a real race, “Peter” has quickly accumulated a considerable advantage, a detachment that he was able to administer with the usual intelligence in the second week.

Only small uncertainties in a triumphant path: some fall, slight technical problems with the fast-moving twin-cylinder Yamaha XTZ 850 Trx; In short, nothing that really could worry this great champion who could, though, no longer lining up at the Dakar with a motorcycle: "If Yamaha leaves – so he said on arrival – abandonment too. I'm too tied to this House to accept another offer. I could only go back to Africa by driving a car.".


He tried to undermine this overpowering KTM squadron.: a kind of motorized army run by the former pilot Heinz Kinigadner, made up of ten official pilots and a large number of private. The KTM LC4 660 they couldn't withstand the same pace as the Japanese twin-cylinder but they defended themselves very well by winning most of the special tests (12 on 19). On 55 pilots arrived on the beaches of Dakar well 31 they were riding a KTM.

Although Peterhansel was unapproachable – the same men of the Austrian House say so – having placed Fabrizio Meoni behind him, with a not-so-impossible detachment on 18 race days, it was a great performance. The Italian driver was the real opponent of the French: careful in navigation despite the continuous malfunctions of its GPS, a real hard man in enduring his 40 years and then the injury to the left shoulder, able to find the right way in a sandstorm and to be able to get to third and fourth place in the Dakars of '94 and '95.

And even he may no longer be kicking off next year since, despite being a “Official” to all intents and purposes, doesn't have a contract with KTM that protects him for the future. Returning to Italy he found his everyday life and a motorcycle dealership to run. Behind him, always with KTM 660, Andy Haydon, New York an Australian driver definitely used to the big spaces and already at ease at the first Paris-Dakar. And then a South African, Alfie Cox, already a valuable pilot in the enduro. These two pilots, beyond their very good ranking, demonstrate how even novices of the African marathon can assert their skills in off-road driving.


The lack of real tra traps in navigation has therefore brought out those who really go strong outside the asphalt, that is, enduro pilots. Let us not forget that Peterhansel himself is a protagonist of the World Enduro. Even our “Giò” Hall, several times iridescent in the category, went very strong, turning the race into a very long mule track. He placed 17th due to some road-book reading errors and some Ignition problems in his KTM. He also risked not finishing the race alone 2 km from the arrival in Dakar for a fall that left him unconscious for a few moments and with the bike almost destroyed.

OTHER ITALIANS Honour also to the other Italians who finished the very hard race: 24th Guido Maletti (Ben 11 Investments) With the Maletti 1998-1its Kawasaki KLX 650R, but he could have been higher in the rankings if he hadn't taken the nine-hour flat penalty for the electronic ignition malfunction. He did not lose heart and continued to rise in the positions. Gian Paolo Quaglino and his Honda XR400R ranked 29th. Quaglino is at Dakar Number 5 and it's the third that ends. Right behind, Aldo Winkler with the KTM 660. And’ one of the veterans with his eight holdings. The Turiner wins the fair-play award because, like a gregarious old, he generously gave to Giò Hall, blocked by electrical troubles and “Official” KTM, the spare electronic control unit of his Kappa.

And then it comes Roberto Boano (38but with 47 years behind), once a well-known crosser and now known as jarno and Ivan's father, much more than young hopes of the enduro. Made the Dakar with the trusted Honda Africa Twin, which is still a twin-cylinder but is light years away from the performance of the Yamaha that won; were nothing more than for the greater weight, the lower power and the different, and less sophisticated, suspensions. In 50th place Lorenzo Larry with his Suzuki DR 350. He did it all by himself, without a mechanic-co to help him, coming sometime late to the bivoiacks, but always spin-to from the solidarity of the other pilots.



Nouakchott (Mauritania) – “Africa I made it practically by myself and this more than a merit is a trouble, the biggest trouble that can happen to those running a Paris-Dakar. I still don't know if I'll be the winner, I hope for the Cagiva, for the Italian public who expect to see their own bike for the first time win this race, but it's good for everyone to know how things are”.

Hubert Auriol, a nice big boy French, always cheerful, elegant in manners and in speaking, looks more like a fine theatre actor than one of the “Beasts” who face every year this walking madness that is the Paris-Dakar. Auriol is a veteran of this speed race along deserts, savannas and mountains, Saharan Africa knows every stone, every dune, every mirage and every arcane deception. Yet the other day he too fell into one of the thousand and unexpected traps of the desert.

Auriol 1987-2 Copy

In northern Mauritania runs an old mining railway. The world's heaviest train passes through: five locomotives of over 3,000 horses each and 10,000 tons of iron on the wagons. And every time it passes, small shards of track, sharp as swords, squirt at the edges of the mass. Auriol, Vatanen and many other competitors for fear of getting lost in the desert wanted to follow the railway route. But the punctures came in bursts one after the other.

Since traveling in solitude, due to the questionable disqualification of the other two Cagiva drivers, poor Auriol lives with the nightmare of punctures. Because in this race l’ racing assistance can only provide it to teammates or other good-hearted competitors. So those who are further down the leaderboard end up slowly cannibalizing the poor bikes of their comrades. Today a wheel, tomorrow a clutch, the day after tomorrow a carburetor.

But Auriol is just. In the previous days he had also tried to mount the magical Michelin tyres, that instead of the inner tube have an expanded rubber doughnut. La Michelin, though, had studied them for Japanese motorcycles having not paid much attention to the Italian motorcycle company. So on Auriol's bike that donut got too hot, until it becomes a mush. And then the pilot French not if the’ is felt more than risking. He put on his shoulder a little’ of chambers d’ Air, like old cyclists, and went on alone to fight the battle with his rival Neveu.

He had a’ hour advantage over him and with five punctures if l’ it's eaten almost all. “In hindsight – he said – it's easy to choose, but the night before I didn't feel like taking a risk”. Yesterday, in a’ other hard stage all to the compass, managed to get glued to the rival with a little trick. Charged more gasoline, determined never to stop for refueling. And there’ he did. Neveu, on the other hand, stopped, he started on the attack but at the finish line he had only a handful of seconds.


A win by Auriol for a house like Cagiva would be a boon. “What can make a Dakar – says Roberto Attalin, head of the Italian team – I wouldn't know how to quantify it but one thing is certain: a victory at the Dakar is spoken in every remotest corner of the world and we have against all the’ Japanese industry. Just over a hundred people against thousands of specialists”. Right now 9 poor minutes divide Auriol and Neveu, Dakar is likely to end at the end of the year’ last moment.

Today c’ it's a very difficult stage, still all to be “Navigate” compass in the savannah of Senegal. The two are too experienced and too big to resort to tricks, but this year in the face of the hundreds of bewilderments in the desert, there are even competitors who have opened the hunt for the little boy to run for cover. Small, Light, son of blacks or Bedouins doesn't matter as long as he knows the slopes well. If they load it into your backpack and off to 180 per hour.

Better to have some’ weight extra but safe driving, so so at least they tell them. In cars, a’ other victory of Tambay, New1, which, however, does not bother Ari Vatanen's Peugeot that is the leader of the. The Peugeots are technically unbeatable for the power they have, but in the last few days they have risked several times to lose this race for the’ African inexperience of the Finnish pilot and the contrasts between him and his navigator, French Bernard Giroux, Tf1 commentator.

Before the morning start Vatanen sits at the wheel and in religious silence reads a passage from the Bible. He makes many good intentions but then in the race he does not trust his navigator and makes his head. After all, even his old fellow rallies had had had enough of him and his bad temper. On Sunday, Vatanen got lost in the desert, carrying other 104 cars hoping to smash it following the likely winner on a safe road.

Result: all stopped until late at night, they got caught 10 penalty hours. On Monday, he lost an hour on his direct opponent due to a puncture, French Zaniroli aboard a Range Rover. The ranking still says Vatanen, but it takes little to devil a victory that the house French has built with months of hard and skilful work on a car that, after being the queen of the rallies she is about to become the queen of Africa, as are the old ones today 504 where many of these countries continue to trudge overcharged on tracks where there are no other means of transport.

But the Dakar is not only the’ adventure of these dumbbell or steering wheel dies. And’ Also, and more often, the antechamber of death for many others. Yesterday came a poor wretch of French who had lost himself 10 days ago in the Niger desert. Two days and two nights still, sleeping at the’ I'm going to have no more water trying under the sun to repair his bike. Death was now there at a pace when luckily he was sighted by the “truck-broom” of the desert. A vehicle that travels with days and days of delay and picks up the damned of this race. To the poor, without needing to read the Bible, we offered a shower and a bed because he didn't have even a franc in his pocket. We asked him if he would ever do a Paris-Dakar and he answered: “And how could I live without?”.

Source Republic


Dakar 1986 | Franco Picco, two hours for bullshit

The stage is Agadez-Dirkou. It crosses the Desert of Ténéré on a fairly flat bottom and all of sand. It's a fortune, because the day before I dislocated my shoulder and I have a small fracture in my hand. I can drive with one hand, for some traits. I have overcome the moment of greatest despondency, 150 miles on the “tole ondulée”, with a shoulder out of place, that at the camp a doctor French managed to get back on the move with a masterstroke, a tight bandage and a “swallowed up” of pain pills.

Peak 1986 Copy

The bottom today is very tender, because of a sandstorm that hit the track. Last year was much harder and faster. Our replenishment plans, based on past experience, plan to fill up the Ténéré tree, After 200 kilometers, and then to do a whole pull to the finish line. I'm about 400 kilometers. But because of the soft sand the speed is much lower than last year, you can't get over the 110, 115 Km/h, consumption is higher than expected.

Initially I think it's a problem with the engine…

We travel together, Me and Andrea Marinoni, my teammate. When we are in sight of the oase of Bilma, well distinguishable even in the distance by the presence of a lighthouse that, just like those of the ports, serves to point the way to caravans crossing the desert, my Yamaha stops. Devil, I broke – I think – and instead I just ran out of gasoline.

Luckily Marinoni still has a litre, so we start to beam from his tank to my, with a funnel that we brought with us to fill up. We just think we're going to get to the oase, where we can refuel before we start again. From there to Dirkou, end of the stage and the special test, there are twenty more, twenty-five kilometers. As we tinker with funnel and tank come the first competitors with the cars.

Peak POWER1 1986

Porsches outperform us fast. We sign a Mitsubishi Pajero to stop and the driver, Strangely, because they don't usually dignirate us with a look, stops in a cloud of dust. Is Zaniroli… who like me ran out of gas right there. We just have to finish our transfusions.

Let's leave to stop, with my Yamaha back dry, right at 100 meters from the lighthouse. We are waiting for only soldiers with jeeps, but all diesel. I'm standing still, It's up to Andrea Marinoni to slip into the village in search of the sifirst gasoline. Go back in no time: In anticipation of the rally' passage, locals have prepared canisters; he bought one and retraced the track driving with the tin on the tank that slipped on all sides.

Peak3 1986

I start to empty. It's a nice clear liquid, Transparent, even if a little’ Oily. I immediately come to mind the words of our sporting director: “don't do gasoline in Dirkou because it's not good”. While Marinoni fills up his bike, who left with the engine running, I try to start my, but without success. Andrea tries to help me, but you don't need to, so we stop Gauri and Spanish MAS who have reached us, to help us out.

Nothing to do. The only result is to lose quite a bit’ time and Marinoni, who in the ranking is put better than me, decides to go ahead so as not to accumulate further delay. But when he rides, he also turns off his bike, and history repeats itself. Gualini tries to pull it with a rope, but once he falls and once Andrea, with no results. So that as they move away that way I begin to disassemble the candle and the filter, thinking there's some problem with the gas pump.

Peak 4 1986

I just approach the fuel to smell strange. I also make a military man around me smell and I have confirmation of my doubts : it's diesel! There's nothing else to do but look for gasoline. A soldier helps me and with his jeep we go looking for her. Of course Marinoni is still a little further ahead : I tell him to disassemble the tank and wait for me.

I wander empty until right down the village I find an old man who outside the house has a bin with gasoline in it.. The price is a friend: to give me a can she wants 500 Franks. From that moment it's a race in the race. We clean the tank, let's change the candle, let's throw a little bit’ gasoline in the carburetor and once all over with three pedals the Yamahas go into motion. I'm in a sweat bath, and after drying out hastily Allotment. Two hours late for bullshit! This, too,, though, is the Dakar.

From Dakar Dakar 2
Text Paolo Scalera
Photo Dune Motor


Dakar | Survival in a briefcase

In the two briefings that institutionally opened the Dakar, Paris and the one on the ship that took him to Algiers, Thierry Sabine never tired of repeating it if you get lost never abandon your vehicle. Never. Man's instincts, In fact, in these unusual cases it betrays : pushes you to seek help, but the first help a Paris-Dakar runner knows, Instead, who owes dice to his rescuers.

That is, it must make it easier for him to find. The first commandment, Therefore, is don't abandon the car. The corollary of Balise_2this doesn't paint it preferably yellow, color that makes it invisible in the desert by a helicopter. The second rule prepare to wait. A wait, it's clear, of a rescue that will not be immediate. Only after 12 hours, and anyway never at night, you can start with the first operation, the simplest, but also the most important. The ignition of the radio-balise.

In the equipment of each runner, In fact, there is a Samsonite briefcase that contains what is needed to facilitate the sighting. The heart of the equipment is a radio that operates on a single frequency band. His charge lasts 48 hours and signal, Continuous, it's a thread of Arianna for rescuers. But at night the desert is an immense unreferenced blanket and boundaries. It's time to fire the colorful rockets that with the vivid light of day would be invisible, while a smoke bomb can be launched when an aircraft, Maybe, crosses out of our reach.

A trickle of smoke, In fact, it's visible from afar, and it was thanks to the realisation that he had burned the tires of his car one by one, Simonin, Mauritania in the 1984 was found after three days of searching. The rubber in fact makes a lot of smoke and burns slowly. So the last resort, as it was at the dawn of man, it's the fire. For this reason, among the many recommendations for new members is to always have with them at least the matches, a knife and survival cover.

What is the latter? simply a very light aluminum foil that on the one hand reflects the rays of the sun, repairing from heat, while wrapping it on it island from the cold. Folded, it's in a pocket. But it's very easy to get lost? Sounds like a foregone question, instead, with small measures it is possible to reduce this risk to a minimum. The first, Of course, is that as soon as you realize you've gone the wrong way it's more prudent to retrace your tracks. Even if this takes away time.

Schott HardenIn the desert, any zip code, that is, compass course, you're following, will make a backward 180 degrees. It is imperative to resume the main track. And one of the tricks, simple but vital, is that when circumstances require constant deviations to avoid, Maybe, traits of track too ruined, you always know which way you leave it. If left or right. It's not hard, Intact, that by intersecting it in search of the strongest ground you can no longer remember which side it was on the last time. The “Track” African is not a paved road, it's just the route of custom from village to village.

It can get ruined and become impractical, at one point. A new custom will trace, then, a new track, Parallel, that will go back to the main one. And so dozens, hundreds of times. So much so that in the savannah more than in the desert the ground will sometimes appear as an inextricable maze of paths. We always talk, the Dakar, of competitors who have gone the wrong way by taking, for that, penalty hours. Well, that is, it almost always happens when the rally leaves the desert for the savannahs.

In the boundless expanses of the Ténéré, in fact, to help us there is the compass, and then the position of the sun. They mainly serve strong nerves. When vegetation forms impractical screens, there's no compass or sun that holds. Cards can be useful at most, possibly the military ones, very detailed, to realize your position. Your scant best crews have, and they're not just useful in times of emergency, Indeed, it's not uncommon to see pilots study them before the start. Make a note of the bivi, villages. As always, also in Africa, the best safety comes from prevention.

Source Dakar Dakar2

Text Paolo Scalera


Dakar 1992 | The premiere of Patrizio Fiorini

It was my first Dakar, my best. I left at the bottom of the Ténéré, and there, I was loaded onto the balai truck, abandoning and losing my bike forever. The next stage was neutralized in a transfer that went down in history as more dangerous than the special, N'Giugmi to N'Djamena.

After that stage, no more no retreating (among the bikes). I was so that I didn't want to hear anything about Le Cap anymore. I managed to get to an airport between taxi passes and makeshift vehicles, and catch a flight home from Niamey.

I arrived in Italy that the race was already over, still dressed as a motorcycle with boots, suit and helmet in hand. Learned of the death of Lara from the friend who picked me up at night in Malpensa. I have such a beautiful but devastating memory of that edition that makes me say today “I was there”.

But in those days I cursed myself. Never edition so ramshackle and unlucky. Very few subscribers. In its approximation, organization Gilbert Sabine gave me bivacchi in contact with the champions, where they themselves had little assistance. An edition where private and officers ate together. Nice people. Good memories.

Dakar 1996 | Edi puts the fourth!

And’ been the rally of adventurers, the outburst of the sick of “Mal d'africa”, the expensive showcase of the international jet-set, the impossible race for real professionals and ended up creating a real fashion on which our industry has lived for some time. Following his example, desert competitions have begun to make themselves known and to grow in importance.

Then fashion is a little’ Changed; the cost of participating in these races has become unsustainable for private individuals and it seemed that they should disappear permanently from the international scene. But the African rally par excellence had the strength of “redo the trick” and re-propose itself as a driving example for other raids. Abandoned the frills and the useless, has returned to being concrete, engaging and spectacular and above all at your fingertips for everyone.

The new edition of the African Marathon hailed the fourth success of Edi Orioli, about Yamaha. The new formula is widely supported and brings this race back to discrete levels of interest. The duel between single-cylinder and twin-cylinder continues.

But unfortunately also tragic. The toll of human lives sacrificed by the Dakar, also for this year, it's sta-to heavy: two dead. Laurent Gueguen, 27 years, married and father of two children, behind the wheel of the Citroen assistance truck jumped on a mine (in all likelihood), during the fifth stage. Marcel Pilet, riding his KTM, crossing the village of Terambeli, in 30 miles from Labé, invested a little girl, killing her.

A breeze, 3 stages won and second absolute: Jordi Arcarons

A breeze, 3 stages won and second absolute: Jordi Arcarons

It goes on like this, Unfortunately, the long list of nefarious days that indelibly marks this competition, as if she were forced to pay a real toll for violating pristine lands. Always fatality or bad luck are the companions of the Dakar and in some ways have often had the upper hand over show and spirit of adventure, positive rally constants.

Over the years, the organisers have been looking for more suitable formulas for the needs of the pilots and the whole caravan that for a fortnight and beyond 10 thousand kilometers of pistes, faced this experience. Unfortunately, the choices have not always been right and often have the purpose of betraying the expectations, without guaranteeing that spectacle related to the adventure that remains the driving reason for this race.

Today, of that billionaire caravan that crossed the desert until a few years ago there was no trace left. Who would have thought. After hitting rock bottom in the years '93/94, almost forgotten, the Dakar, adventure for a few unstoppable lovers of confrontation with “the impossible”, has returned to arouse some interest among fans. And above all, motorcycle racing and motorcycle competition are the new driving force of this race.

The Spaniard Sotelo, third in the absolute

The Spaniard Sotelo, third in the absolute

Merit? Certainly of Hubert Auriol, ex-dakarian of the first hour, winner of two editions riding a two-wheeler and the last one sitting behind the wheel of a 4×4. The only driver capable of imposing themselves in these two categories. The French, current director of the TSO, seems to have guessed the right formula, referring to the rightful role of the queen of African competitions. He took hold of the sceptre of the Dakar in the 1994, after Gilbert Sabine's failed experience.

And soon he managed to give a new identity to this rally, following the principle of return to basics. The race has always lived on the presence of private individuals and those who were basically attracted by adventure and Africa. The current formula, In fact, allowed with an expense “Modest” compared to the recent past of signing up a little bit’ everyone. The experience gained by Auriol in these years and his own great passion for Africa, allowed the Dakar to return to being spectacular, charming and, as much as possible, Safe.

Especially the new director and his staff were able to identify and solve the problems and errors that in the past have conditioned this race. He needed a man with an iron fist, that he could decide for everyone, with responsibility for the lives of hundreds of people. A commitment that is no small feat, the one auriol hired, the newfound leader of this race. This year, the number of enrolments has increased by 25% compared to the edition 1995, reaching a record-breaking figure of almost 300 pilots, 140 bikers.

Competitors, In addition, they were able to discover an untold journey in the 70%, suitable for both the twin-cylinder and the new “Fashion” monocylinders. Few transfers, which according to Auriol deconcentrate the pilots and are often the cause of accidents and especially a particularly varied route, with 15 stages one different from the other. Particular attention has also covered the part of television coverage and press. with over 80 countries interested in live links with the stages of the raid.

Despite everything, the ineffable organization set up by the French ended up clashing with the fatality, the unexpected and the unavoidable event. But the rallies, as indeed all motor racing, i'm unfortunately also this. It is certain that this Dakar seems to be heading towards a new cycle, as well as all the rallies of this kind. La Desert Cannonball, The Tunisia Rally and the Atlas Rally are proof of this; have renewed their formula, taking into account the needs (also economic) of “Private” and having a fair amount of success.

The Houses have organized to sell in affordable numbers prepared bikes, ensuring adequate assistance in the race. This could be the “Track” right to return to give definitive interest to a spectacular motoring discipline.

Lake Rosa greeted the “Poker” by Edi Orioli. The 33-year-old ceresetto driver from Martignacco hit his fourth Dakar. A success that came a little’ to surprise, but explainable by his long experience in rallies. Edi from these races he inherited everything, Success, Money, professional accolades, as much as even victories in international enduro had assured him.

Orioli 1996-4

The latter was one of the toughest editions of the Dakar. The new route was particularly difficult and although the GPS gave a huge hand to the competitors, navigation and especially tactical and race intelligence have had their decisive weight. The return of the route along the slopes of Mauritania, Iguekkateme's pitch, always in that area, and the hard track of Guinea, were decisive.

Only 50 pilots on arrival on 140 motorcyclists who kicked off. The 6.000 miles of special tests have left their mark. To get to the goal it was necessary to save the means and the energies. And then the contestants presented themselves with an unusual scenario, l’“herbe à chameaux” or infernal bushes among the sand and the dunes that broke the rhythm, but above all the arms. In the first and last part of the route, especially, abundant rain has allowed this type of vegetation, literally translated into “camel grass”, to grow lush, creating an additional obstacle.

Many stage covers, it starts with Heinz Kinigadner, the first favorite to leave the stage with his KTM, retired to fifty kilometres from the finish line of stage six. The Austrian had to return home with

Unlucky Heinz Kinigadner, forced to retire

Unlucky Heinz Kinigadner, forced to retire

a success and two second places. Different fate for Jordi Arcarons, KTM Lucky Strike team, the only one able to chase the wild Orioli, even though he finished second in over an hour from the Yamaha rider. Unlucky performance of the Italian team Cagiva CH Racing by Roberto Azzalin. Three official Cagiva Elefant motorcycles under the Kremlyovskaya brand were deployed, rely on David Trolli, Alexander Nifontov and Cyril Esquirol.

Unleashed the Italian Trolli, two specials won, but unfortunately forced to retire

Unleashed the Italian Trolli, two specials won, but unfortunately forced to retire

The Italian was in the race until the third stage, capturing two partial successes, two second places and two thirds. Unfortunately, he had to give up due to engine problems when he was back in the top flight. The turning point of the race took place during the stage leading to Zouerat, when the favorite Stephane Peterhansel had major problems with his twin-cylinder. The complaint

presented by Yamaha Motor France spoke of diesel in the tank instead of gasoline; the findings were not able to fully ascertain the cause and therefore the organisation rejected the complaint. Peterhansel, with almost three hours late on the first, had asked for the trial to be annulled; not satisfied he decided to abandon the race in the form of protest.

At this point began the solitary gallop of Edi Orioli, become the new leader of the general classification. Controlled Trolli and later Arcarons, with a sufficient margin of advantage to drive loosely. A small power problem, probably dirty gasoline for him too, made him lose precious minutes, as a problem with the rear shock forced him to slow down considerably in the last stage.

A win apiece also for Kari Tiainen Husqvarna and Thierry Magnaldi by Yamaha. As for the Italians, In addition to Trolli he has behaved well Fabrizio Meoni riding the KTM with two personal successes and a 39th place finish. There is also good evidence of Guido Maletti Kawasaki, sixth in the absolute, Maximus Church eighth, Emmanuel Christian 13th, Aldo Winkler Nineteenth, Angelo Fumagalli 20th and Alberto Morelli forty-nineth.


Taken from Motorcycling
Text: Biagio Shirts
Photo: Gigi Soldano DPPI

towers 1989

Dakar 1989 – Towers and its unexplained retreat

Text by Nicholas Bertaccini

The problems that can happen during a Paris-Dakar are countless and of all kinds. Some are egregious, predictable but others are difficult to predict and diagnose. Refueling has always been a delicate moment. There are all kinds of stories, travains made with shopping bags, negotiations with the locals, top-ups made from glass to glass.

And gasoline was certainly not of first quality. Sometimes, linguistic misunderstandings or cunning, some locals sold diesel to participants, leaving them on foot after a few miles. What happened to Claudio Torri in 1989 is one of the problems that are difficult to understand and diagnose. Those times when the bike plants you, get tited up and doesn't make you understand what the problem is, like a capricious companion who doesn't want to reveal the reason for the anger.

Towers drives a KTM 620 LC and we are at the end of a Libyan stage, on the border with Niger.

When you're going to start again, In the morning, the bike is unresponsive. Towers tries a, Two, Ten, hundred times but the bike doesn't hint at starting. Nothing. The bivouac slowly wakes up and prepares and the Bergamasco is still fierce against the start of his bike. Every kick accumulates anger and nervousness. But the bike doesn't care. Property. Helpless.

The bivouac is now active and does not go unnoticed that private so frustrated and fierce against the Austrian monocylinder. They also offer him to try to pull her with a truck, to help him start again. Nothing, you don't need brute force, The KTM of Torri doesn't want to know about it.

Nobody has an idea, nobody understands, no one has a suggestion that can make you understand how to intervene. It all looks perfect. It just doesn't start. There is no diagnosis, there's no cure. Towers decides to surrender. If the bike doesn't start and you don't understand why, needless to insist. The vehicle is loaded onto a truck to Dakar, where he will have to be repatriated, to be withdrawn.

As soon as the mechanic arrives, he unloads it from the truck, look at it again and then try to do as we do with appliances: we do the same thing after time, to see if it's true that time fixes everything. Maybe it doesn't always work but that day, in Africa, at the first half-pedaling of the mechanic the bike started again and resumed singing, how nothing was.

After the astonishment came also the diagnosis: at the last refueling the gasoline was watered down like the cocktail of an aperitif game of a tourist village and during the night the water had become ice, preventing the engine from turning on.

Because at night, the Dakar, he could do a lot, very cold. Did you know that.?


The last kilometers are always the worst

Text by Nicholas Bertaccini

All travelers and all motorcycle enthusiasts know the adage that the last km are always the most dangerous. Because when we hear air at home or at the end the tension eased, our attention spans lower and at the same time increase the perception of fatigue. As soon as we lower the level of the guard, the accumulated fatigue becomes more pressing, pains and traumas emerge.

Apparently even for the participants of the Paris Dakar the last km are not free of danger and many have run into accidents just during the stage on Lake Rosa.

Of all the most unlucky was surely Giampaolo Marinoni. And’ the year 1986, already marred by Marinoni 1986Sabine's disappearance, father master of the Franco-African event. Marinoni is completing a good race, thirteenth overall with Cagiva, a stage won. Just during the last stage the fall takes place that caused its disappearance. Two specials were planned and Marinoni was determined to complete the race with a victory. In the second of the two special part decided but already after 20 km falls ruinously. He manages to get on his bike, helped by his companions, and it reaches the finish line. What happened next is chronicle, it is a sequence of events in which superficiality and lack of professionalism are mixed that lead poor Giampaolo to lose his life to an internal hemorrhage.

Things have been better for others. The same Gio Hall, at the end of his first participation, Thurs Hall 1998-1stumbles into the trap of the last km. He too was swallowed up by a good stage result that could be the icing on the cake of a beautiful first participation. Unfortunately, galvanized and dazzled by the possible placement, you don't see an embankment and it flies for a few tens of meters, losing consciousness. He will recover surrounded by the faces of some Tuareg staring at him. Mestamente will be back on the bike, with the tail between his legs, with his breath suspended for fear of breaking something that would prevent him from getting to the bottom. He's going to make it., will manage to cross the finish line and not to throw away the beautiful result of that first participation.

Even the volcanic Claudio Terruzzi falls a few miles from the arrival, at a stage that had been teterNeutralized, who didn't rank. A crazy flight that cost him a broken nose, a dislocated shoulder and the momentary loss of the use of the legs, consequence of the fall of the bike right on the back. In those moments El Teruss realizes the risk course and swears and perverts that he will no longer ride a motorcycle. Obviously, after a few minutes, when the legs are back up and running, rises on a motorbike and with a bloody nose, slain back and dislocated shoulder, comes to the bottom. But we know it, along with sailors and fishermen, motorcyclists are the most in-reach category to disprove.

Even one of the undisputed kings of the race fell into a trap in the last km. Let's talk about Stephane Peterhansel, one of the strongest drivers who ever put their wheels in the desert, at the end of the edition of the 1993 who sees him victorious, ends up on the ground ruinously destroying his Yamaha, so much so that he got to the finish line without the saddle and forced him, forcibly driving on his feet. up to the podium.

Watch the video of Peterhansel's fall on facebook at the second 0:50 clicking here.

These are some but who knows how many others have had to deal with the difficulty of the last km. When you add up km and days of running when the emotions, held firmly until then, melt and throughout the body aches and traumas resurface. At that moment, when the brain thinks it's done it, when it seems that all you've been able to pass on is enough that there's a new and fearsome risk. For some the price to pay was very high, the highest. For others, Fortunately, there was only the fear of having sent days and miles of running for a small, trivial imperfection a few miles from the end.