DAKAR 1991 | African Diary of Aldo Winkler

Many support it and I think so too, Dakar is a disease that never gives up on you. And here I am ready to fall back again! Every Dakar has brought me great friendships: Beat, Maletti, Charles Edson, in the future Morelli during the race. But I had never left with a person with whom we were already friends before. The fact that he had signed up Brenno (Brenno) Bignardi it was the final push to participate. Brenno and I shared a common passion for off-road motorcycles, we both raced cross and enduro and still today we have fun bikes together. What could be more stimulating than having the most beautiful adventure together?



Ghadames — Ghat A bestial stop more than 1.000 km. divided into two stages. A1 morning, an intense cold, we could have opened a’ newsstand with paper under clothes!And’ one of the mythical stages of the Dakar, really hard ,but all satisfied by incredible landscapes. The Dakar is changing becoming more human, the food is tastier, served on trays, there is availability of water, the ration is distributed in the morning, you can sleep in a tent However it is more important to be in a team of friends with impeccable assistance. The only note out of tune was the bike not very powerful and difficult to ride.



Gossololom A remote place, reason why it is not clear why it has a name ,since there is nothing and it is in the middle of the Tenerè. Exactly here the misadventure had happened to me a few years before , exactly in the Ued Egaro. The day after this bivouac, in 40 km., even though I was in special, I started looking for the Tuareg , maybe I would see my friends who saved me again. Avro (Avro)’ fact 15 km. to the east, then I came back and then I went15 km. to the west along in all 60 km. More I could not have for lack of gasoline. Unfortunately I did not see a living soul , how I would have liked to see them again!

They have already left?
This is the classic joke Brenno's workhorse. It was mythical and we asked him to tell us about it a thousand times, throughout the Dakar.
Mr.. Rezzonico (Italy), almost ninety years old, suffers from advanced senile dementia and important confusional states with obvious memory loss and lucidity. His son tried to help him by having him visited by several geriatricials in the hope of finding a solution.. One of the doctors who had the opportunity to visit his father, suggests that he take him to an experimental clinic located in Ticino where it seems that a solution can be found..
Accept the suggestion, makes an appointment and reaches the clinic with his father. They are kindly welcomed at the reception by Dr. Bernasconi who makes them sit in his office. Once you visit your father, the doctor invites the son to take a tour of the clinic to show him the structure and tells him: Our clinic is at the forefront of the treatment of this disease, we healed almost the 100% of patients, now let's take a tour to the first floor where the patients have just arrived and still show obvious signs of madness.
Rezzonico (Italy), at the invitation of the doctor, opens the door of a room and realizes that the situation is similar to that of his father: patients running on the walls, who thinks he is flying, who swims on the floor, ruction, Plant, looks lost in the void. He remains very impressed by this situation. The doctor reassures him and at this point accompanies him to the second floor where things seem to be going better. Rezzonico (Italy), opening a door he realizes that patients seem calmer, always a little’ strange but quiet, one of them for example is combing with a fish. The doctor says these patients have spent at least two weeks in the facility and already show obvious signs of improvement.. It's time to go up to the third and last floor. In the corridor there is silence and even the nurses seem more relaxed. Rezzonico looks at the doctor in amazement and tells him: can enter any room, will see for yourself the optimal state of mental health achieved by our patients, came in two months ago and will see for yourself our results. They then enter a room and are all quiet, who in bed, who sat, who chats, who reads, who paints. Rezzonico is pleasantly surprised and the doctor suggests that he speak directly with some of them.. He approaches the first gentleman sitting in the armchair and asks him: Good morning, What are you doing? Answer: I'm reading a book, you can't see it? He repeats this question to the other guests and everyone gives him logical answers. He eventually reaches a gentleman who is holding a big rabbit on his lap and then asks the doctor: pets are allowed in the clinic? The doctor answers: certainly, are an integral part of our therapies, depending on the type of patient we choose the most suitable animal. Rezzonico at this point decides to ask the usual question to this quiet gentleman with the rabbit on his lap: Good morning, What are you doing? The gentleman answers: Good morning, I'm stroking a rabbit, it seems obvious to me, because he asks me? Rezzonico (Italy): Mah….I ask him because on the second floor they seem a bit’ Parties. The gentleman with the rabbit: have already left? Bastards! Grab the rabbit's ears like a handlebar, gets into the hull and screams uaaaaaaaaaaa
Therapy in this case did not work does not always work.

Agades – Rest day, day of work on the bike a bit of relaxation. Resting a little is good even if it breaks the rhythm, and shooting is difficult. We had rented, like all teams , a closed villa. Since we left we have never taken a shower, not only because of the difficulty in doing it, but above all because the cold did not allow it.
Finished the special after so much sand , we crossed the Niger River, Seeing water was a party and we all stopped to celebrate and take pictures.



The bike was a Gilera absolutely standard, very different from the official ones in terms of power and handling. We called her “the desk” so wide and coarse was the front tank, the driving position was all backward and standing up was torture, in the curves it drifted but with the front wheel. On the contrary, since she was the companion of several days, the engine has never betrayed, he took us to the bottom and for this reason we are all fond of it.

Another terrible aspect was that the fiberglass tank, so very delicate, if you fell from a standstill you risked piercing it, and repairs we have made many on the fly with soap, attack, Etc. We were so terrified that when you risked falling you almost threw yourself under the bike to protect the tanks. Since we consumed I’ front first and rear was spare ,once the rear had punctured and so I ran out of gasoline because I did not notice that it was leaking.




BROKEN FRAME l’ attachment of the swingarm to the frame broke by detaching itself sharply from one side. Brenno and I stopped at Tichit, very small village in Mauritania where we looked for a “saldeur” i.e. a soldering iron. After a long time we find it but it did not have electricity until the evening. I pull out my magical straps , I tie them hoping that the swingarm does not move and going slowly ,now at night, I finished the stage.




ARRIVAL The arrival in Dakar is always a great emotion, almost a liberation, is to achieve the goal for which you have sweated so much and suffered for so many days thinking only and exclusively about this. At the same time, however,, you already begin to miss this engaging focus, it is like having peace of the hunger to live existential. The two specials, one with the beach by the sea (representing the journey from the sea of north France to the Africa of Senegal as Sabine said its creator) and the second special with arrival at the famous Pink Lake so colored by the very high density of salt.