Hubert Auriol… “l African ’” King of Dakar

We continue to speak of Dakar and its characters…. We deal with emotions and among the many pilots who have donated great emotions we want to mention one in particular. A pilot who maybe got more poignant emotion in African raid. Perhaps the most nostalgic people have already understood, others recognized him from photos, He is Hubert Auriol a Centaur capable of heroic deeds and sports a great man especially for choices that still is pursuing.

Auriol was born in Addis Ababa in 1952, in 21 He is struck by the passion for motorcycles motocross and enduro specialties approaching but later his heart was stolen, maybe even for calling back to its roots, from mythical races in African deserts becoming a specialist earning the nickname "the African" .

Hubert takes part in his first Dakar Rally in 1979, Second Edition of this event, winning then twice while riding a BMW R80 GS in 1981 and 1983. In 1992 collect three of a kind, This time not riding a motorcycle but winning the Raid in the car category with a Mitsubishi Pajero.
It will be the first driver to win the Dakar motorcycle and car categories. It is the unfortunate fate which imposes the passage to cars. During the penultimate stage of the dispute 1987 the Dakar Auriol, aboard his Cagiva and under the command of the general classification, Decides to take a shortcut by leaving the beaten track. This decision the catapult to a bloody injury: Hubert does not notice some tree roots investing in full with feet, being so grounded with both ankles "destroyed".

Fortunately, is found by a crew drive which asks you to put it back in motion: Auriol will last tragic 20 km of the stage with broken ankles, without being able to move up a gear and trying to tame his bike.

A reflection arises: Why finish the stage? I had found, they could call for help, you could call them.. What inspired you to make a gesture so heroic?

Perhaps only Dr coast with one of his "parables" may explain such courage and determination. For the record, the victory of that Edition went to Cyril Neveu riding a Honda, but the business of Auriol will be remembered as the best win moral of Dakar. The same Auriol said on Italian television, in a message directed his team managers and Cagiva employees: "Roberto (Roberto Azzalin, Ed), tell him that we beat the Honda ".

Currently Auriol with his more than thirty years experience in the African raid, from 2008 organizes the Africa Race after being Director of Dakar from 1995 at 2004 When even this transiting from the lands of Africa. It is an international event which takes the initial values of the great Raids, open to professionals and amateurs and that retraces the old paths of "noble" Dakar "has humanitarian purposes, involving Governments, industries and populations of the regions crossed. Perhaps in those values that have led him to make those last 20 km today Hubert wanted to turn as organizer, following l ’ example of Sabine and not succumbing to the lure of media or commercial. Because the true spirit of the Dakar is what Hubert is pursuing in its manifestation.

  • Gianluca Ferrini


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  • A Giant. Goodbye, Hero.

    • iron

      true, a great Dakarian!