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.


The “Bavarian rat” of 1985

Text by Nicholas Bertaccini

The Dakar, the one with a capital w, is full of legends and stories. Some are short stories by "fishers", magnified, enriched and made legendary by word of mouth and since. Stories we've come to love and we hold as true. Other tales, generally those most incredible, real are also in commas.
What we have been told by Claudio Towers (6 Dakar from 1984 at 1991) It is an anecdote that falls into those true events, in those who do not need to be colored and flavored to be immortal.

We talk about the “Bavarian Rat”.

We heard it directly from the towers during lunch. When we told our Already had the eyes lit up, like those of a toddler who has combined a mischief but it was proud and seeks understanding from court, If not one off at least a little’ of sympathetic understanding. A rascally light, who years later still feels that he has done a great little tricksy. Hesitate a bit, before you pull out the drawer of memory details but eventually becomes convinced. She smiles and says "now all will be prescribed".

Towers is one of those riders that the Dakar has studied and understood it, that became biker and mechanic km after km, year after year. Every year a little’ of experience, something new included, a change to be made to the project, an improvement to introduce.

In those years the reference in the race of motorcycle was the BMW with its Gelande-Strasse sailed in the desert.

Towers has always had curiosity and inventiveness so typical of the inhabitants of the beautiful country and one initiative that is in the genes of those born in the province of Bergamo. He always fielded everything you need to get the best without ever backing down pursuing his ideas even when they looked like fools, even when proved wrong. Once again understand where is the solution to an age-old problem that nagged his Moto Guzzi to Dakar 1984, the rear suspension, practically ineffective which forced a constant guide standing on running boards.

Decides that there is only one way to shorten the time of study and development: copy from the best. In the end, if they do so the Japanese because you don't do that, you will be asked. Just a hunch in the eclectic mind, inventiveness and brilliant as that of architect Towers becomes a Pioggiadifuoco. And it won't be the first or last. The easiest way to study the best is getting a bike of the best. The BMW. BMW R80G/S of fresh Dakar winner Gaston Rahier 1985. BMW retained, Obviously, in Munich.

When you're used to solve problems in the middle of the desert, Maybe in the middle of the night, When you're hungry, tired and with still hundreds of km to go without knowing precisely what direction, the thought that go to Bavaria to take a motorcycle can be complex won't swipe. And our breaks down not. Reduced to a minimum the plan presents two problems: need a truck and a pretext.

Finds both and so part of Munich, to borrow the bike of Gaston Rahier from BMW. Ok, condediamoci a little’ time to reflect on what we have just read: Towers wants to go to Munich to get the BMW motorcycles dominatrix of the Dakar. Fantastic. The gimmick is a celebratory event, some sort of rally organized by motoclub. Meeting at which it would be nice to expose the bike champion.

Who knows, Maybe because the Germans they goaded the Teutonic pride. I imagine the good towers that comes with the van and two burly and moustached Bavarian warehouse that load the bike on German engineering and mechanical supremacy blathering about van. Of course along the way the bike will be diverted to Modena to take a break and be admired. Not by a group of bikers at a rally but by towers and who will have the opportunity to steal the secret of that rear suspension.


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Dakar 1997: Peterhansel is from another planet

It was an issue still marred by bereavement: Jean-Pierre Leduc dies (is the 33rd victim from 1979) the 5 January, the second day of competition at a special very hard. The French rider, 45 years, a wife and a son, He fell into a deep pit at km 247 the special and its balise (the device reports a problem and that automatically excludes from the race) was immediately turned on by the crew of a truck arrived at the accident site. The rescue helicopter landed after 13 minutes but could only find the death of French rider resuscitation.

The French Castera on Yamaha was ranked 3rd

The French Castera on Yamaha was ranked 3rd

Despite this year's Edition has had a respectable medical deployment: 35 doctors, 2 helicopters for resuscitation and first aid, a field hospital and one plane for each bivouac. The Dakar this year had to fight against the audience that crowded the route. So in the fourth stage from Nara in Toumbouctou, a path full of sand finissma constituting the fesh-fesh, the special between 2° and 3° check cleared for security reasons. And then there was the change of plans on course with the modified path because of rebel Tuareg guerrilla acts that right in the area of the plateau of the Air have their stronghold. It's been so deleted the “Special” in Niger and the last stretch up to Agadez was done on the asphalt. The “"promise from Auriol, the return to the intuition and the inherent ability of orientation in the desert, in search of the right track in the dunes, was verified by GPS,

II Global Position System, the computer that monitors the Earth coordinates for setting the course of competitors. The actual race

Spanish Gallardo led the Cagiva to 2° place

Spanish Gallardo led the Cagiva to 2° place

own had no history to the first position. Only the certainty of the supremacy of Stéphane Peterhansel and his Yamaha XTZ 850 TRX vs. KTM Squadron and the inclusion of Cagiva Elefant (as private) Spanish Gallardo. After scratching in-the first 4 race days pushing like crazy, the Frenchman has relaxed going literally walking around the rest of the Dakar. At the end of the race he has accumulated more than 2 hours and 30 minutes ahead. A show of force with its bravura (and his 5th win African Marathon) and the reliability of its twin-cylinder Yamaha, a real "official" bike that is updated every year and that has a rated power of 85 HP, a top speed of 195 km/h and a weight of 210 kg.

Missing Edy Orioli, become a journalist for the occasion in an off road vehicle of the press (has consolidated the contracting with Yamaha France and with KTM, but we will try again next year with the bike) the role of prior guidance of Italian team has gone to Fabrizio Meoni. This year has finally become an "official", and exactly in the KTM team along with Heinz Kinigadner,

The first KTM to finish line is to Lewis, 4th overall

The first KTM to finish line is to Lewis, 4th overall

Thierry Magnaldi and Richard Sainct. But already the day 2 our Tuscan rider flew on one of numerous holes while trying to grab Peterhansel. Result: metacarpal fracture, ligament injury and forced abandonment of the race. Others are not as strong Italian Maletti finishers. Honor in Sanna, a Sardinian determined, hard and proud as his land, and first (22th overall) Trai our drivers.

Taken from an article on Motociclismo

edi photos

Edi Orioli, the strategist

The curiosity of the unknown has blood running in Rivulets, given the choices made in his long racing career. But Orioli-1998-1What emerges from the list, long, He has participated in competitions and achievements, is the strategic capability. Without whose talent may not even succeed. Of experience it has to sell: in total she traveled in Africa, in the race, duecentoventimila km. And it is perhaps the only one to have participated in the first eleven editions of the Dakar without ever retiring and closing almost always in the top ten. Inevitable then talk about most known rally, especially considering that dark period of 1998, When he turned up at the start with the colors of the brand with a German team Schalber Thumper. But the story of Edi Orioli is made of choices against the tide, of rationality and passion. Because the DNA is written also a fondness for cars, for perfection. As thirty years ago prepared minutely every detail of his bike, checking that the style, Today she wants to beauty around him.

Edi Orioli, from pilot to entrepreneur. How did this step?
“My story is not that there are steps. My story is made up of many things. As a child I had the passion of bike and then the bike. Went to my bike to the fields and the evolution was taking the Hi my uncle and use it off road. I came back every night with some broken piece. Then my dad took me a Gori 50, the only bike that gave me. From here onwards I started racing in regional competitions and my motorcycle escalation occurred so: I taught myself without following courses and special techniques. You see that I had it in my blood. In addition to racing, over the years I have always remained within the family business, the Pratic, a reality that in recent years has become a leader in its field. See, in 1995 My dad died, the head of the company. I couldn't finish the Dakar anyway, was the issue of 1996, winning it, and then I riavvicinai to the company in which I have always been. In 2007 then I stopped all competitions, Although the bike is always part of my life. But in a different way. The world of events and spotlight doesn't interest me much anymore. I prefer living my passions and my private moments and use the bikes for leisure”.


What are the highlights of your life?
“Certainly the choice to participate in the African raid. That was the change of direction in my career as a sports instructor. I decided to go to Africa even though I had a gig and I had to run with a team Puch Honda Rally Sardinia. I left the gig and went to do a race in Africa: I fell immediately in that way fuoristrada. I had a gig with Honda and from there went my career. Then I'd tell the switch to auto: my other hidden passion were the rally cars. With whom I raced and won. When I ran the Dakar, in the evening I put down the bike and went into the tent of team auto. I've always been fascinated by the car. And then the last editions of the Dakar I did drive”.

In Africa I have walked 220.000 km race!

Face and win the Dakar has marked you?
“I am not one who tease. I always going for the pleasure of running. To let you know what I think of the victories of the Dakar I tell you what I told a friend a long time ago: “EDI, do you understand how do you win”. In these few words in fact it seemed clear my situation. Understand how do you win is something subtle, You can't tell. They are moments that follow a long preparation. Are moments of decision. Is strategy. And once you try it you know how to present it again. Just so you get the results. And I have to say that I miss the adrenaline rush of an event like the Dakar and today I often go looking for emotions like. For example I've just been to the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy where I finally breathed real adrenaline. There it all makes sense: It is not an event, is a rite”.


What is the toughest challenge you've faced?
“For me the challenging time was switching from Honda to Cagiva. I was crushed three vertebrae at the Rally of the Pharaohs and the doctors had given me a six month prognosis. But I had to run the Dakar! Dr. Costa came up to me and started therapies and training. I spent three months hard, where I never resigned to not being able to participate in. Every day I used magnetic therapy and then I was lying on a bench in order not to load your back. Eventually I starting, its not in place. I couldn't really think of not being there to Dakar, I had won the year before. I left and I finished the race in the top ten. But it was really a hard moment”.

Car or motorcycle?
“Watch, I just bought the car: an Audi RS6, and I enjoy every time I light it up. How do I answer that “bike”? Despite everything I did on two wheels I love cars. And then I like the Nice: as in my preparation technique. When I had to leave I was accurate: everything had to be in order, from aesthetics to mechanics. For me this was the basis for a good race. And even now I like to be in place. I have my beautiful bike and my lovely car. And I go looking for adrenaline: the RS gives you adrenaline. If you're not using it you miss and you can't assuefarti. I don't like show me but I like nice things, and sports”.

Well, you said what's your car, now tell me what is your current Bike Park.
“In box I have a BMW R 1200 Gs Adventure, a BMW HP2, a Husqvama 300 enduro, a trial Honda Montesa Honda RC30- Vfr750r. And Gori 50 with that I started”.

And what do you think of motorcycle special, customized ones that are going crazy for a while?
“At first I could tell you that I'm happy in this fashion because so bikes that were abandoned in the stairs come to life. Although customized. And then I appreciate those who customize because it is a little’ an artist regardless of whether one if the face or the face do to other. Conversely maybe sometimes the result doesn't mean just use the bike, but only create an image. Anyway I don't mind this fashion, She's nice. Basically everyone tries the uniqueness of the piece, sometimes with obsessive attention”.

Today in which reports are under the brands with which you took?
“I'm one of the few who has endeared him to all my sponsors. I had my philosophy: If someone gave me I had to return at least as. I have also maintained excellent relationships with journalists”.


And your story with BMW?
“With BMW I have a strange relationship. I have been more hondista, for the beginning of my career. But I had a strong liking for BMW. I did the development of their single cylinder for a year, In addition to race to Dakar. After this came a youngest, Richard Sainct and Monaco I was offered terms unacceptable. I left then. Today, however, I continue to love and appreciate this brand. The rest I could never do without a motorcycle BMW in box. And my philosophy I believe in line with that of BMW: I like things minimal, but well done, solid. I believe in this motto: the desert brings out the most solid things. He told me a tuareg when I stopped after a long layover. Seeing me in motion asked me where and when I had started: I described to him the path, that day I had six hundred kilometers route. He asked me: “How is it possible? I put in two and a half weeks, with camel!” The tuareg made me much thinking. But as former BMW I've never had a relationship like I had with other brands. For example with Cagiva and Honda Italy I had direct relations and engaging: I spoke directly with whoever had decision-making power. With BMW the relationship was cold, I have been dealing only with executives who often changed and so it never created a relationship, all very impersonal. I must admit that the Organization was impeccable: from pilot had everything I could possibly need and I was treated very well. The human connection was a little’ less satisfactory. Thinking about it I'm sorry I didn't try to be part of the myth of Gaston Rahier and Hubert Auriol, and you can even write my name in albi d'Oro di Monaco. I would have loved to try the boxer”.

What was the single driving?
“When I raced with BMW was official but unofficial: my contract was with Monaco but I strongly supported Orioli 1998at the start of the Dakar team Schalber. BMW did not want to appear because it was the first edition and did not want to risk a fool. I retired for a break just incredible: He had slipped a rock between the sump and the paramo-tore. And I noticed that the engine was already melted. All singles were nonetheless moto more fragile compared to twins. Slower even though it had no however reached a good level. But we were forced to use the Thumper for regulation, for-because in those years had been forbidden to bicilindrica. And with the mono were always hang-to instead with twin you had margin of power and speed”.

Bicilindrica, then?
“Twin life. Although it weighs more the pleasure of a twin-cylinder configuration has an unmatched delivery. The single cylinder at the call “vibrators”. Speaking of GS off-road, I have to say that the main limitation is the cardano”.

And what were the greatest difficulties for a motorcycle racer at the turn of the years 80 and 90? And now what do you think are the greatest difficulties?
"Then they could not know Africa. It was organized ,in bullfighting as regards the territory: they put wheels on ignore and constantly changing. Dune, fesh fesh, rocks, Africa is unpredictable. And then you face fatigue less prepared: for example, we knew we had to drink a lot more than we. There was the difficulty of saving the head and the Middle: who didn't came with the air ambulance. And you had to learn navigation and strategy. For the drivers of today's difficulties are not these. There is navigation, There is the saving of the medium: the evening l bike is redone from scratch if it requires shorter milestones and it becomes hard to get lost. Now the fix is take all the trait in focus; the race is tighter. Here's, I could say that today is a real race, So instead it was an adventure: It was only by your own car. Today there are many people who support ".

You traced routes, crossed uncharted lands, organized raid around the world. Today what is the travel for Edi Orioli?
"The journey for me should be interactive. When I leave I have to enjoy the country from traveler and not as a tourist. I face a trip last year. More can't I miss the time. You think that if it were up to me, After this interview, I'd put a shirt and a pack of Tan in a bag and I would start in motion. But I also like to play it safe: having little time I want my outputs are certain to enjoy myself. When childbirth so plan well the trip because I also want to have fun. Motorbike trip fully charged on the dunes wouldn't: This would wipe out the driving fun”.

Of Dakar yesterday and today's developments have broadened quite a bit in the interview appeared on volume of February 2018 Motocross. I wonder: If I could arrange it your way, what would be the key points of competition?
“Definitely would go back to basics. Of course you can't return to Africa, today for various reasons will not be able to organize the race there. But speaking of regulation I ispirerei to adventure and navigation, the nature of the place and safety. For security today we come to very advanced levels. I'd then geolocation systems. But stay here as much as possible to the roots, with camps far from the villages, stretching, and then decreasing, the stages. I would reduce the comfort, leaving more room for adventure. Of course we must reckon with the budget, with sponsors and visibility. I should think about this. At the bottom of the race gave rise to, so I think it might be appreciated by many. It would be a real challenge, I think. Because those who tried, just look at the Africa Race, struggling to take off because the official teams go into making the new Dakar. With respect to Africa Race should be able to invoke multiple teams that differentiate a little’ the set of drivers, results and solutions. Even for journalists today I think it's hard to tell the Dakar. The technology then has a little’ distorted this competition”.

Difficult, however, to imagine a race out of time: banish the technology can?
“Difficult Yes, but maybe it might work. I wonder if the pilots would agree to leave home on cell phone?”

Taken from: About BMW
interview by Lisa Bailey
Photos of Orazio Truglio & Web

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Ermanno Ban preparation for the Dakar 1989

The preparation of my Yamaha in my usual basement 3×4 meters. Whenever I try a test, to bring out my Yamaha had to disassemble all the tanks and put them back!

The front wheel and the fork I was kindly lent by my girlfriend who had a Suzuki 125 RM. To operate the trip of Yamaha TT it was necessary to modify a deferral of Cagiva 600 with the wire inside a square section of Moto Guzzi V35, the whole thing was calibrated to perfection. In the second stage Tozeur Gadames following a major fall I tore off the wire and goodbye to trip master.. I terninato the Dakar tracking, dust and much did my instinct!

Note the cap on the head where was placed the tachometer, the radiator under the tail and elongated tubes with unique support from me designed!

Arrival 1990 correct

The 16 Italian heroes to Dakar 1990

No one would dream of calling them Blues, Why after twenty days of competition much blues are no longer. They tend rather to light brown, covered with mud and sand far beyond the limits of the imagination. Though they arrived too in Dakar, Maybe with some risk in less of the officers, but a lot of, so much effort in more. Are our private, those who have had to rely almost exclusively on their strengths in order to succeed in the enterprise, leaning to the maximum the complacent friend who was promoted airborne mechanic. High Office for a scary amount of work. Ambitions of a few, However, closed again in the drawer after the first stages, Once found that no official bike is like going hunting for elephants with the Slingshot. Without being David. He also discovered Angelo Signorelli, that officer actually was but could only have a bike derived from number and not the prototype arrived from Japan. So he was concerned only about making quick assistance Franco Picco, not forgetting though to get any satisfaction in the difficult stage of Nema: second behind De Petri, with the wrath of a damper broke out. In the overall standings is 16, right in front of Max Malik, the first Wild men's Team: three of the locals started with home-built bike, with Yamaha and autarkic chassis. Mechanics had not, but their problems are over to Agadez, Since the truck on which they were loaded their auto parts has stopped. A true "blessing" which has finally stopped Montebelli, Fabio Marcaccini and Giampaolo Abbasi to stay awake until morning to replace the bike.

Are sixteen brave Italians who have completed the race.

Yet even so they did, and with very good results: only Gauri snatched the Herculean Montebelli — 17th — the primacy of the best private, and with much higher transport. As for Marcaccini, repeating problems have stopped several times in special, but the former sprinter has gone anything but unnoticed once solved the main trouble:IMM paris dakar even in the stage of Agadez remained in command until mid day. With a Thumper is saying. He finished thirtieth, just two positions behind Abbasi which, for its part, He managed to get to Dakar to first participation: he deserved it, not least because it has managed to build the bike in the last 20 days, working around the clock with David Garcia and Luke Elements. Suffered sleep also Beat Gargate, that of Dakar had already some experience: the only "survivor" of the GR Team (After the forced arrest of Qadri for breakage of the frame) He performed in a 48 hours no stop between Nema and Kayes, jumping on foot par NAP and dinner. Persosi like everyone else in the tremendous stage to Tidjikja, In fact, arrived at its destination only to 7.30 the morning after. The departure time 8.00. How to assign three stages from the end? The poor Grassotti doesn't nor taken off the gloves, He drank coffee and is divided. A real hard, who deserved way down the Pink Lake Beach. Franco Zotti, twenty-third, distinguished for skill and tactics. Now a veteran of these marathons, friulano is party with regular step and kept till the end, minding well to save a bike that — despite some spare parts delivered by Team Rahier – was private for all purposes. It is arranged by only managing to get well in long stages and harsh as Tidjikja who massacred the bulk of competitors. The result also rewards him resigning to cover with the liquidation debts incurred last year to join the race, a practice already experienced in the past. Now remain to cover the holes of the Dakar ' 90, Maybe with the sponsors of that ' 91.

The most vivid image that we have of Luigi Algiers, Instead, you on arrival in Agadez: destroyed, tired and hungry, but at the finish in good location. The mechanic had not, and its parts have disappeared almost immediately, along with the truck which had paid for the carriage of a case, retired. Thus it remained also without sleeping bag and he slept in the cold for 15 days, dress; but he did it, even managing to get the occasional discreet placement. Had a great willpower, and it was really good to get to the bottom only, I just can not. Thirty-third. Antonio Cabini Instead he could rely on a mechanical, but not on auto parts they did end up like those of Algiers. So if you did how could, with much imagination and adaptability, that allowed him to get forty-first in Dakar. He did it for the second time, After six attempts, one of which in car. Close the row Ettore Petrini 42nd and Carlo Alberto Mercandelli forty-fourth. The first, Toscano, It wasn't just a rookie already used to: It is also the first experience off-road after going into speed, and he really had a lot of nerve in throwing in an enterprise like that with such a reduced experience. But with prudence and sense of proportion did it in turn, smoothly. Exactly the opposite of Mercandelli, man-this year's adventure: problems of Agadez and his daring I arrive by camel, trucks and buses have already read in previous numbers. It would have been enough for anyone, but not for him, He replied with 48 hours of non-stop with Gargate, and she then exhibited in the grand final to St. Louis, When has centered in the Middle a mule who had cut the road, in 120 km/h. Results from war report: the Mule died instantly, the bike was destroyed and Mercandelli k.o. 10 minutes, with a fracture to the right pastern. But the indomitable has yielded: He did fix from a machine of your care arrived on site and is remounted on the bike, who had been rearranged to best the mechanic of Villa-Dolphin, on truck Perlini. And with a bandage stiff steered until the next day, arriving in Dakar. More than deservedly.

Source Motosprint


Irish adventure to Dakar 1998

There will always be those who argue that the real Dakar rally took place on the African continent. They are right, Since this was, after all, the original concept – the love of founder Thierry Sabine for the Saharan region and motorsport, gathered together in one spectacular event. And while African rallies have never been days of innocence, those were the days when the organization focused more on competitor in the media. It was not possible to finish at 15:00, then all the end-of-day interviews could be conducted in the light of the Sun, in comfort. The first priority was to help the competitors and the media had to simply do their best to adapt to this. And those were the days when a bivouac was exactly that, only a handful of tents in the desert, not an expanse of camper, Suite for media and VIP Hospitlity.


“There was a spell in African events” Remember Nick Craigie. “The loneliness.”


Craigie, an avid enduro (then and now), He had decided that he would run for the 20th anniversary of the event. He had run the 19th Edition, in 1997, but it had been forced to retreat after eight days with engine problems.

"We thought would work best with Rotax engine Castrol CCM-R40, a vegetable oil. This was probably true for short-term events [These engines were used extensively in American flat track racing] but with the prolonged hot operation in Africa has led to the accumulation of carbon in the engine, especially on small terminals. This has stopped my bike, and those of Adrian Lappin and Vinny Fitzsimmons. A disaster, but the lesson is complete. ”


With the edition of 1997, always understood as a rally warming 1998, Craigie learned his lesson and returned the following year as a member of a team of four men all Irish on CCM.
Craigie still remembers that the first two days – still in Europe – were hard as none. The departure was a Place d'Armes, Versailles, in France, 937 km on the first day, below zero until the end. On the second day were other 1182 km course in freezing temperatures, before the third day finally competitors arrived in the Mediterranean port of Almeria.

“I made the mistake of thinking that at that point the cold was over. I gave up my cold weather kit, is his cry liberating was "hot Africa, arrival!”


Only that Craigie had neglected the small matter of the Atlas mountains…


“The third stage, for Er Rachidia, was probably my worst day ever on a motorcycle. I had already ridden for hours at temperatures of -4 ° C through France, but now I had the same temperatures while trying to cross the Atlas mountains in Morocco. I no longer had my equipment warm and with high winds the effect of wind chill cold was huge. I spent six or seven hours, riding all by himself, relying solely on myself, trying to ignore my fingers numb and shake your body, trying to move on. I was lucky, We saw a little’ of Sun in the afternoon and this was like heaven. The soft warmth that offered me made me continue. In all it was a stage of 14-15 hours. I would have made a very tough ride in the desert in the days to come, but mentally I would judge that day, as worst by far. “


The fifth stage would be the final test. A super long day, 1050 km in length with many sand dunes, competitors resorted to cross the famous Erg Chebbi.

“The deep sand was really hard and forced the bikes to consume as much fuel, on average one litre for 7 km, that supported, would have reduced our effective autonomy from about 450 km only 300 km. The organisers had anticipated this problem and set the point too far from where we were ashore. There was no fuel on loan from another competitor – everyone was trying to conserve every drop that had.ccmrear2
“Our Dakar would have ended there – as has happened to so many – but we found a solution by three of us, team riders CCM. We have combined effectively our fuel, putting it all in one motion (Adrian Lappin) and he went to the supply. There he filled each tank he had and went back, along the route in reverse, to break down the fuel. It was a high-risk strategy – He could easily get lost, collapse, crashing, certainly not us – but it was all we had. Fortunately we found, but it took four hours and other amazing 350 kilometers to Adrian.
“And it is at that point, towards the 17:00, in the late afternoon, that our Dakar changes. Dusk comes fast, and it's pitch black before you know it. This changes everything. A distance that you go in an hour in daylight you will turn four in the dark. You can imagine that browsing is a nightmare. At 18:00We calculated that we still had 450 km from runs until the end of the stage. “


When we got to check the Sunrise, We reached the bivouac, even as the first participants were leaving for the sixth stage. For teammates of CCM there was scarcely time to refuel, take a snack to eat and make the line-up to start the next phase.

“We were together after the departure. It wasn't easy we ran all day and we wound up running again at dusk. At some point Fitsimmon Vinny lights came on. We were each on our sand dune at that time. I stopped, I went to him to help him, When I returned to my bike I sat and I immediately fell asleep. I just woke up only when Vinny came in and kicked me, telling me. “If you sleep now not going to wake up ever”.
“The stage ended up towards the 4 or at 5 in the morning ', says Craigie. “Then, an hour or two after it was already time to leave.ccmstat
“We had two precious hours to sleep that time, but were essentially 72 non-stop hours in the saddle – We just get a day of rest.
“So many things happened, during the race. Always happened. On that last stop before the rest day we found You Pavey [He also on a MC], He had crashed very hard. We were with him for a while then we loaded up and we escorted up to a roadblock and we told him to stay there until morning; with the next day which was a rest day, would come back in the morning and participate in the demonstration. It was the day nine with 11 still to do!
“Obviously the rest day was anything but. We spent the day changing the engine of my bike ".

The dangers in rallying come from all directions. A danger particularly unpleasant is what arrives by car drivers. Since every day the bikes start at first, It happens that faster machines that follow will exceed a good portion of these few along the way. Be overtaken by a car on the road is not a big deal, but in a rally in the desert is an experience much uglier …



“If there is a safety regulation that I pleasantly shared was the Sentinel system to warn the bikes for a car that is overtaking. When the cars you pass is definitely the most dangerous time of the event. Roll up so much dust that for so long drive practically blind and that's when you might hit a rock or fall in a hole – I mean to hurt you. You may also slow down, but this only increases the danger that the next car lashes out against you and you will be a target very slow. Mentally the stress of knowing that they were coming, waiting for the sudden explosion of noise and blinding powder, was extreme, very very scary, and a fear that we would have faced every day. The only bike was going out from the track, literally a half a kilometre from the path, until you were gone. Certain, This will slow you down in a clear manner.
“Eventually it happened that I too have been invested! We were in a section of the dunes where you make your way to zig zag. I saw this Schlesser Buggy to get, He saw me, but as I passed on a dune, he literally passed over. Me and the bike were completely under him, I was looking at the cup of his car. Obviously I wasn't very pleased, but he didn't stop, leaving me there. I found it at the bivouac that night and I told him my feelings about!


The 1998 was the first year that the GPS has been adopted across the Board for Dakar. The organizers have provided a GPS system ERFT.

"Too bad my never worked. Or better, It worked in the bivouac, until about five minutes then no longer worked for the rest of the day. The technical team of the organizers tried in vain to restore it: eventually they thought it was the frequency of the electrical circuit of the bike to stop him. Never mind, I drove by scrolling notes on roadbook and tracking on the ground or the clouds of dust. I admit that I've never been a great Navigator. “

Even with a GPS running wouldn't go better. One day Craigie recalls that his roadbook had a message that said “Next 358km – Navigate by sight”!

“Another day we were suffering what I imagine was a form of snow blindness. Even with tinted glasses, sand sunshine burned your retinas. I was riding with Adrian and we had to take turns one to lead while the other rested eyes focusing on the rear fender of the rider in front of him. When the pain became unbearable, I exchanged.

And when the camp was finally reached – in the dark – not always we found what we needed.

"We had a mechanical support and even the girls were, but we met with them every three days because we followed by plane and then they needed some form of airstrip. There was no way that i could keep up with the support truck rally and reach every night the bivouac. It was too difficult. So for most of the rally we did our maintenance at our bikes.
“At the bivouac awaited us a big tent with rugs, but when we got all the top riders and drivers were already in their sleeping bags – so no room in the Inn! So did maintenance work, and we would in our sleeping bags next to our bikes with a mosquito net over our heads. However there was never much time to sleep ... "

Craigie was lucky he'd had only one serious accident during rally.

“It was late. I was going too fast on some whoops, When all of a sudden I went down and the bike launched by air. While I was flying in the air I thought: “This will hurt, very bad ". But I was lucky. I was raised without nothing broken, I was fine. The bike was a bit bruised and lights pointing in the wrong direction. But I was still in the running, again behind Vinny [Once again in the dark] to reach the finish line. “



Reach the finish line of Lac Rose is the dream of every pilot that kicks off in Dakar. Just getting there was a nightmare …

“Don't you ever from the obstacles of the Dakar. Recover a bit right on closing day. But from there on we became increasingly tired, If you don't sleep you don't get. Are you riding ignoring kilometers, simply counting the days. Often it happens that you're running in a haze, you're not very connected, aware that sooner or later something's going to happen to scare you, so at least the adrenalin would come around and you'd be vigilant for a while.
"At the end I was in a State of total collapse. I had been full two stones and it took me a long, a long time to get back to normal. Over the race for the next eight months I was physically exhausted. My hands and my arms were in tatters. Some might recover quickly but for me it's been a long time before I felt normal again. “



Rotax engine 600cc dual start air cooled, single cylinder, with a power of about 50 HP, with a top speed of around 130 km / h.
Standard frame with gussets for extra double welding CCM but resistance. A total fuel capacity of 45 liters. Weighed about 240 kg



Dakar 1989 – The unforgettable Guinea

TAMRACOUNDA – Top view Guinea is an emerald set in the desert. For the crews of the 11th Paris Dakar, though, is a green hell, furrowed from the red laterite trails are treacherous roads, fast but slippery. On his third impact with the jungle the most grueling rally the world has rediscovered that isn't just the Ténéré to suffer. Guinea if will remember long Clay Regazzoni, Claudio Terruzzi, but Spanish too Prieto, and the two good Samaritans from team Assomoto Giuseppe Cannella and David Parks.

Special inhuman: running for 24 hours in the Green hell

Were the latter, in fact to pull away from his Mercedes partially destroyed by a lump of Clay didn't take penalty rollover.
We were about a kilometre 270 of the Special – tell these two guys in their thirties, of Brescia – When on a fast track to hump hump, We saw a wheeled machine for air. It was in a pool of gasoline and Navigator who was already out, He was bleeding from his arm. We recognize him: It was Dane, Clay was still inside and was trying to get rid. Careless that time flowed, Joseph and David they accommodated Regazzoni outside of the machine, leaning on a Boulder because his wheelchair was destroyed, medicated and Dane.
No one stopped to help us out – remember the two – one threw us bottled water out the window.
Past people who had no problem of ranking… We do not understand, When everyone feels special samples.

Taddy Cagiva 1989-3

It stopped, Instead, Claudio Terruzzi and Klaus Seppi. A history of Dakar, a snippet that, along with other, Rebuilds one of the toughest days of the rally.
É was a special inhuman – says bluntly Terruzzi, got to camp at night – before meeting Regazzoni I had seen all the colors. I ended up in a Ford at km 130 I was walking because my Cagiva went to a cylinder. Suddenly, While I was with the water for life. the engine is ' taken ' and slid to the bottom slippery. It took me an hour to draw out the bike from Ford, Thanks to the help of some guys who came from a nearby village, and with them I started to disassemble the bike to try to make it restart.
There are finally managed, but a flashback set fire to makeshift air filter and one of my helpers, afraid, threw a handful of Earth in Carburetors… Luckily while I was busy to disassemble everything again and got Sad, my assistance, with the car, that pulled me out. I was sad when he left behind say all these kids who had been busy to help me, but I more think when, in the dark I found myself having to do the track behind the car.

Terruzzi Orioli

In a fuss that limited visibility to a few meters Terruzzi fell, hit a cow, and rebooted again pulling blindly, but he couldn't avoid the penalty.
And say – Remember – that was a great start… before me I only had two tracks. I must have been third before falling into the damn Ford… the road book was done by dogs, for a coat I have risked my dry skin in left turn, which then tumbled Magnaldi.

Sabri, that helped him in the evening with him at camp. Another piece fits into the puzzle of special Bamako – Labè.
We all had a deep Ford, us machines – fast assistance tells Cagiva – theno water there was the Nissan with Prieto. He couldn't go out. He was driving, While his second had dived to fix the slides under the wheels. Came and went, in that muddy water, when suddenly I heard him shout. Li per li didn't understand, then I saw him hold Prieto, that was in the water unconscious, for underarms. The muffler sfiatava inside the body and he, breathing carbon monoxide, He had fallen asleep, slumping driving. He had barely had the strength to open the door before you go wild in the water. Fortunately that, in all the confusion the Navigator if you noticed.


It's the day after tomorrow when, with a machine of doctors, get Regazzoni at the bivouac. Dirty, unshaven, is almost unrecognizable, but not tired, nor unpacked. The longest day of the Dakar will close in his story.
I can't figure out – He says shaking his head – We were fresh off the hardest part of special when in a straight Red Earth, the car got sideways. I checked for a while, but then I shot off. It stopped after four spins with the wheels in the air. Smelt of petrol and a priest moan. Then came the two Italian riders who helped me to get out.

While people continue to leave the special Clay speaks. Are the trucks that didn't made it in the night. Let's review the bivouac dark, devoid of light generators, and those few trucks arrived as a foothold for all. The special Bamako – Labè lasted exactly 24 hours. Nobody saw it coming so hard.

1985_ JCO_Dakar_kl

Jean Claude Olivier and his Sonauto

Around Thierry Sabine had created a Cenacle. Adventure. A posse of followers that you accodavano the Messiah. There were “Fennel”, Neveu, 1390481_ 10202247482058581_718400453_nAuriol, Comte, Vane… All bikers, the well-beloved. Who stood out in the Group was Jean-Claude Olivier. Personality and intelligence, a natural predisposition for organization. And, as not enough, Centaur himself. Gave a big hand to Thierry in the months leading up the first edition of Oasis Dakar.

They weren't missed tips and promise to field a team. Born in Croix on 27 February 1945, in 33 years had already done everything and more, starting from scratch. Already, a life as it was a century long. At the age of twenty had been hired by Sonauto, Porsche importer in France from 1950. He was sent to clean the stores, that his first job. Reddish hair, clear eyes, intense look, intuitive, the upward path began when business owners decided to work alongside the German gran turismo the sector devoted to motorcycles.

Yamaha, the Japanese brand, to raise awareness and spread on the French market: The problem was how. Jean-Claude came up with the idea of going straight by mechanics in France to show some yet unknown brand models. The project was approved. You did assign a van, painted with Yamaha in large letters, loaded within four bikes in production: a 50, a 80, a 125 and a 250.

He hit his belt France. A difficult job, had to with-win, create points of service and sell. Sell, the imperative. In the first year, 1966, He succeeded in perfecting arrangements for 28 service points and place 177 bike. Three years later struck a thousand units. A rapid growth for a brand still without history in Europe. Volumes increased by importing scooters, another his intuition. However did not neglect his passion.

Kept running and when Sabine staged the first Dakar, JCO, It was named after this acronym, supported the first training Sonauto Yamaha-BP. Four 500 XT lined up for Gilles Comte, Christian Rayer, Rudy Potisek and, Of course, Jean-Claude Olivier. His team dominated, winning six stages out of ten. The Agadez-Arlit and Agadez-Niamey, among the toughest were initialled JCO.

05_ ym50_doc-16-12

The Sonauto was meanwhile became the “boss”, the company continues to grow. As races. RAID and track. He participated in nine Dakar, taking second place Yamaha FZ 750 4 cylinders in 1985 (Ed actually brought to the podium a XT600, the FZ750 debuted only a year later). Behind the Bmw of Rahier. Also on track, with the team that had set up, There were satisfactions. Was he the strategist who managed to bring Max Biaggi to Yamaha in 1999.

JC Olivier_neu

But above all was the discoverer of Stephane Peterhansel. Six centers in the African desert. The 24 February 2010 He passed his hand at Yamaha Motor France, become an empire. After 43 years of work. His life as a great Star ended tragically. In a weekend of January 2013 a truck invaded the lane of the motorway Paris-Lille, which is-is proceeding. The crash was inevitable and terrible. Alongside traveling the daughter who managed, miraculously, saving grace. Not him. The legend of JCO ended so. A cursed fate.

Taken from Dakar hell of Sahara by Beppe Donazzan


DAKAR 1987 – Disqualification challenged by Dalia

NIAMEY – Is the hot afternoon of 14 January, in the morning the competitors of Paris-Dakar have abandoned the comforts of the capital of Niget, sharing a breeze for Gao. The pool at the luxury Hotel Gaweye only riders withdrawn from the year's toughest race and some reporter; in a dozen of the many rooms of the hotel injured people complain about waiting for flight scheduled for the night of the following day that will bring everyone in Europe. Among the Palm trees and the cool pool water, in a scenario worthy of Simon Le Bon, We will have a long talk with Alexander «Cyrus» Dalia, one of the fastest men ever seen in action on African roads, in the limelight, Unfortunately, to be one of the riders disqualified from TSO at the start of the stage Agades-Tahoua.


De Petri is much more relaxed than the morning of 13, When Patrick Verdoy not handed him and Gates the roadmap, putting them so out-of-competition. That morning at Agades I had almost afraid to interview the pilot of Cagiva, furious about the exclusion of the race. By the pool, though, the tension inevitably Saeed and Cyrus proves to be more talkative and quiet at the microphone of my recorder. The first question is of course dedicated to the "situation" in the stage of 5 January.

Then Cyrus, the bike has been replaced?
"No, I had a problem with the clutch and I had to stop. Shortly after they arrived Gates and Picard and, together, We started working on the bikes. The Cagiva has the clutch handle of type De-Petri-1987-2plumber and work on it is very laborious: There is also to bleed. Let us not forget that it was the first special stage and we were quite nervous. In that moment time seems to fly when reassembling the hulls of confusion and we did three bikes».

But don't you have noticed that the helicopter of the Sierra (the company that films the exclusive Paris-Dakar) you ran over your head?
"Certainly,, and there was nothing wrong, even we noticed that the operator was leaning out to recover». You have been disqualified based on photographic evidence and filmed, but your motorbikes have been verified in the evening, the stage finish? "No, Neither night nor on subsequent days».

What exactly happened on the morning of 13 on departure from Agades, When you have been put out of the race?
«I was presented, like all day, the briefing, but before this started I realized that the compass does not work and are then returned to the “Villa” Cagiva team had rented in Agades, to remedy this problem. Made the replacement of the instrument are returned upon departure, the briefing had already ended and I noticed that everyone was looking at me. Before you ask me the reason for so much attention I came to meet Gates, I said we were out of the race and that they wouldn't deliver the roadmap. I thought he was kidding, but then came the confirmation of Auriol. Anyway I told Gates to follow me until the start of the special stage. Arriving at the departure Verdoy told us that if within two minutes hadn't returned to Agades would also disqualified Auriol».

How you react to this news?
«By disappointment at a decision which I define shocking that ran counter to what I thought of the TSO, an organization that I respected and in which I had the utmost confidence. The Dakar has become a big business for homes, the sponsors and the drivers it is necessary that these interests are protected by a Federation».

Maybe from international, I say mischievous.
"Of course, the Dakar is an international competition and it is essential that such decisions are taken by a body that protects all these huge interests».De-Petri-1987-3

Speaking of the race has changed after Sabine how and the environment after death of the great inventor and soul of Paris-Dakar, What do you think?
"Even with Sabine, or better under his direction, questionable decisions were made, as the penalty imposed on Peak two years ago. Last year during the stage Ouargla-El Golea, There was a complaint against Honda France for a supposed change of bike, but they were not carried out verifications. In any case, this ninth edition of the Dakar is beautiful, great technique with special tests to no end and no nighttime stages: a beautiful and well organized race. What I don't think would have happened at the time of Sabine's do run a pilot for six days, leave to rest one day and then ban him, What happened to me».

You have been put out of the race on the basis of evidence filmed and photographs, you have probably tried to save the situation and continue the race. What happened and, especially, What will happen?
"Our athletic director Azzalin asked to do share Gates and me maybe letting us run sub-judice until Dakar, but Verdoy is still on his decision (wrong for me) and did not accept. Meanwhile, to protect the interests and image of Cagiva, sponsors and also my (Let us not forget that a professional driver prepares for Dakar for about 8 months) you will end up before a court».

You want to maybe the head of Verdoy?
"No, I don't care, We want only to know that disqualify me and Gates was a mistake and especially that in the future there is greater protection for Homes, sponsors and drivers».

The future of specialty care to many and inevitably to Ciro we asked the question that you feel in your environment, as a world rally championship?
"It would be beautiful — answers — and us drivers often talk, a World Championship under the auspices of the International Federation would be a big step forward, but on our part, there is still the need to deal, While Federal environments has not arrived yet effective intervention. Even when we had, After the tragedy of Giampaolo Marinoni, requested that two doctors follow us Italian pilots flying in giving us the necessary security, even psychological».

We talk about safety, for you the Dakar is a safe race?
"The Dakar is a dangerous race. Is the actual product to be, almost a cross between speed (for medium to high) and cross (for the ground on which it runs); In addition nobody knows exactly all the pitfalls of the path: It's a cocktail very dangerous especially if you get lost. If you become injured off piste the risk is so much».

There is solidarity among pilots?
"Yes, Despite the difference between official and private pilots all stop if they see a colleague in distress. In this respect I feel very safe. There is a lot of humanity in this ruthless contest and solidarity on the track is so much».

Interview by Marco Masetti for Motosprint