interview by Danilo Sechi
The frenetic pace of the Dakar Rally is behind, enduro samples Giovanni Sala and Arnaldo Nicoli – among the protagonists of this year's Race on African Soil that ended on the beaches of Sharm El Sheikh, in Egypt – have resumed their usual activities, their thoughts are already turned to the next appointments provided by their discipline of choice but first runs the obligation to take stock of the last experience lived.
“I just can't say I'm happy with how it went” Sala says, 39 years, Gorle “this was an edition of the Dakar pretty close to my features, where I could do just right, instead I find myself only with a 14th place finish. This time, however, my faults are really limited, I have to take it with other factors. First of all the race was not suitable for my twin-cylinder, too heavy and therefore unwieable among the many stone and sinuous slopes we encountered, and this slowed me down a lot especially in Tunisia, then I was braked first by a tire that literally melted, then from problems to the engine right in the stage best suited to the twin-cylinder and finally also from a power tube that did not get the fuel to the engine. In short, a continuous tribulation that has
– However, a couple of trebles were not lacking. “Yes, two stage wins have come. And wanting to see the glass half full I didn't even run into bad falls, from this point of view it went well. But it must also be said that I got a bad flu and for a few days I ran with a fever and stuffed with medicines… it had never happened to me, will have been Libya's incredible thermal excursion. It means that next time I'll also do the flu vaccine!”
– For the enduro season 2003 what are the programmes and objectives? “I should run in the class 250 4 times but at the moment I'm not quite sure because the new Ktm is not ready yet. I leave to win the world and Italian titles and to deserve a place in the national team that will run in November the Six Days in Brazil, of course I'll see it with very strong opponents and none will be an easy feat. These days I'm going to enjoy a few days of skiing in the mountains, guest of my Dakar mechanic, who lives in Innsbruck, then the first race will be at Arcore on 9 February”.
Even more fictionalized the Dakar than Arnaldo Nicoli that, on a Ktm team fast support truck, he risked his life when a mine, at the entrance to Egyptian territory, destroyed the rear wheel of their vehicle forcing it to surrender. “I then continued my adventure on the car of Fabrizio Meoni's mechanic” explains the pilot of Slate “and we've reached the final finish line, while following easier alternative tracks. By the way, my presence was also very useful at the end of the 14th stage, between Dakhla and Luxor, after Meoni had fallen badly and had semi-destroyed the bike in an attempt to regain ground on the leader Sainct. We worked on it until three o'clock at night, to give it back to the Tuscan champion and at least allow him to attempt the difficult comeback. He tried, but he didn't make it., Too bad”.
– Then what happened? “I returned to Bergamo and resumed my work at Ktm Italia, Gorle, but now I'm taking a week off, I think I deserved it.!” – In the enduro sector what awaits you? “This year I will race with Husaberg participating in the Italian championship in the class over 4 times”.