They had met several years ago. Before junior enduro Championship, then in the Tuscan League of the same specialty. Were the 1980s.
On one side was the goriška region «a little’ Gascon and always ready to joke», on the other, the Florentine «sloppy and explosive physicist».
Goriška was Franco Zotti. The Florentine, Instead, the name of Fabrizio Meoni, whose life has gone off in the South of Mauritania, in the final stage of the Paris-Dakar. Different characters but sharing the same «passion» for wheels with claws.
"The races were always very hard fought – Remember -. When it got to push, Fabrizio pulled back. He had grit for sale but was also very technical». Zotti barely holds back the tears. "I was born a son. But he died a friend», says. Councilman-biker, In fact, has just celebrated the birth of Ari (in honor of beauty therapy Ari Vatanen) but his heart is broken for the death of Fabrizio Meoni. The two – In addition to racing enduro National Championships – have in common the participation in various editions of the Paris-Dakar. "But we never crossed. He started later and now with official means», Remember sighing.
I remember canned Fabrizio Meoni?
"He was a true sportsman. Loyal, Serio, a professional from head to toe. He also had an excellent technique. Ah, How many challenges in the Junior Championship! Though, even though we were opponents, We have always been friends. In our environment all value and respect all».
The Dakar, though, have you ever crossed.
"No. He started later despite his age is more or less the same (Zakaria has 45 years, Meoni had 47, Ed). Fabrizio, though, He entered through the front door, with factory bikes».
She, Instead, she competed also from private?
"I have taken part in six editions of the Dakar, from 1988 at 1993: four times in motion (riding Honda 600 XR and 250 XR and two Suzuki 800), Once on board a truck Mercedes Unimog and, the last, driving a Daihatsu Feroza. Unique experiences, unique».
The Dakar has a special charm…
"It's a grueling competition and risky. Those who participate must take into account that you might not come home. And don't think that accidents are always spectacular. The Dakar you die, sometimes, because of stupid accidents. I still remember the death of poor motorcyclist giapponenese Nomoto».
As he lost his life?
"We had just travelled from Paris on new year's Eve. Was the 1988. Nomoto, After few kilometers, It was centered in the Middle by a car driven by a drunk. He died instantly: He didn't even have time to see the desert. And then I can not forget the terrible death of fellow travellers: they sleep under a truck, the pilot – the morning after – sailed and li swept. I could mention dozens and dozens of other cases. In 1988 died 10 people among pilots, organizers and locals, the year after fifteen '.
And the experience is not enough. As evidenced by the death of Mahmoud.
"The desert is a traitor. The pitfalls are everywhere. Only where I was sure to find flat desert run, also reaching the 150 per hour. In other areas, the pace was more tranquilla: having no assistance, I couldn't afford to break the bike. The big, Instead, whizzing at high speed. Their goal is to win, My was to arrive in Dakar».
And in Dakar we arrived with the tiny Honda 250.
«Incredible satisfaction. No Rider in the history of the Dakar was able to go to the end with a bike so small. For me it was a victory».
One last memory of Meoni?
"I was impressed her sentence that this would be his last Dakar. A sentence almost prophetic. Hello, Dear Fabrizio».
Interview with Francis Fain