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In memory of Hubert Auriol

Taken from GPONE the memory of Carlo Pernat

“Hubert Auriol was a gentleman and a friend, a person who taught me so much, especially in external relations. He was always smiling and with the joke ready”. Carlo Pernat remembers the king of the Dakar, the first rider to have won it both on a motorcycle and in a car. One of the myths of that raid surrounded by legend.

The relationship between Pernat and Auriol had not only been professional, on the slopes of Africa was born a friendship that lasted over the years. “I was in Aprilia when and I had been invited to a TV show in Paris, the Monday after the Le Mans Grand Prix – says Carlo – Finished recording, were towards the 23, it occurred to us to call Hubert to go and eat something all together, in those days had a restaurant. He replied that he was already in bed, he got dressed and came with boredom to eat a pizza”.

Their relationship began when the French rider was hired by Cagiva to race the Dakar.

“They introduced me to Auriol ne1 1985. It was already a myth and was important to get sponsorships – continue Pernat – I remember Ligier telling me to go to the Tour Elf in Paris, guaranteeing us that they would give us the money for sponsorship. I didn't believe it, but we went: they offered us lunch and then we went to the private cinema to see footage of the Dakar. Finally they told me: here is a billion for the race. It was thanks to Hubert that we got them”.

Hubert, born in Addis Ababa, he knew the secrets of Africa and jealously costudied them. ” His ace up his sleeve was Mauritania, although I never understood why – confesses Pernat – Practically there, in each stage, had half an hour advantage over all. I asked him how he did it and he replied that he followed the tracks of the animals”.

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The adventure with the Cagiva lasted 3 years, but fate would have it that it was not crowned with success. In 1987 faded when it seemed obvious. “We had practically already won the Dakar, we had an hour and a half of advantage at the beginning of the last stage, which is usually a boardwalk on Lake Rosa – the memory of that day is still vivid in Carlo's mind – Everything was born the night before at the bivouac. During the last stage we passed on disused rails and Roberto Azzalin, the crew chief, and Auriol argued over whether or not to use tire mousses. I don't remember what they decided, but that it was Hubert who won it, but then during the stage he drilled 3 times”.

The bad luck was not over.

“He then told me that he had beaten with his ankle against a kind of hidden sapling, on the other side there was a stone and went to slam even against that. The two ankles were open, we couldn't even take off their boots, I never understood how he managed to drive for others 30 kilometers in those conditions. One thing has been particularly impressed on me. We had loaded him on the helicopter that would take him to the airport from which he would then leave for France.. Hubert cried and repeated to me: “by’ in Castiglioni that we beat honda”.
That was one of the few times in my life when I couldn't hold back my tears.

Even after that defeat, Hubert didn't break down.

“Auriol was very professional. Claudio arranged a private flight to Paris with some journalists to visit him in the hospital. Hubert received us with the team shirt, not with the gown. He is one of the people who have counted the most in my life and career, I learned so much from him’ concludes Pernat”.