Hello Fabio, Maybe you can be described as "motorcycle rider" in the broadest sense of the word, Since you took both offroad and on the track. Which of these disciplines gave you the most satisfaction?
I started in cross at the regional level for a couple of years, later on the track for several Italian championships and a couple of Europeans in Italy Team. Then the Dakar and Pharaohs. I also played the role of test driver for Bimota for a short time. We cannot say what has given me more satisfaction, because everything is tied to a very specific period of my life, I've always liked change, take on new challenges, I'm not a nostalgic, I like to look ahead!
How many Dakar you participated? How many of these were you able to complete?
I attended five Dakar, the first time at the 1987. We are talking about the last century. I remember every single day and all of the sacrifices made to be at the start for five consecutive years.
In the first edition have remained without gasoline causes a failure to supply. The supply trucks to motorcycles is reversed on the runway ... 10 hours in the desert begging a few litres from moving car; I tried in every way to reach the bivouac and departed on the next step but when I arrived there the following morning was too late, There was no one left and I had to withdraw.
The last I've finished for breaking off the bike. Three times out of five have finished the race on Lake Rose.
Did you run strictly by private, your bike you prepare alone?
I ran always with home-built bike, Yamaha based. With Malik had founded the Wild Team and the name says it all ! I can safely say that our motorcycles were among the finest and attention to detail, Sturdy and well built. How many nights spent in the workshop to prepare the bikes, in an old farmhouse ... people would arrive at all hours, There were friends who on Saturday night accompanied the GF at home and come back to get their hands dirty at three in the morning, We were always late ! If I think about it now, as we were without internet and phone I don't know ... There was a kind of Tom-Tom, the things we knew by hearsay, Africa was really far away and be the first of the year at the start for us was already a success, everything else, He lived intensely minute by minute, winging it. The mechanic by plane ... who has ever had. By day and by night mechanic motorcycle racer.
Which bike, among those with whom you have competed, gave you the most satisfaction to ride and you are most fond?
In the eleventh edition we left with three home-built bike Yamaha TT-based 600. We were in the same team I, Maximum Montebelli and Giampaolo Abbasi. All three have finished the race and as a reward, Racing Department Manager Daniele Papi at the time Byrd, for the following year gave us several pieces officers and the opportunity to spend a few days in their Office in Gerno di Lesmo.
The result was fantastic! We built everything in the House, frame, rear tank carrier, linkages, swing arm, fairings. The bike was very similar to the official single from 750 cc of the previous year, on which we mounted the engine 660 slightly revised ...
That bike was nice to see and drive was awesome, the Pharaohs with more than 20 official bikes, absolute 13 stools; as usual without any assistenza...se no that Wild Team was?
Have you been buddy of the unforgettable Massimo Montebelli, How do you like to remember him?
Maximus was a mechanical genius and also a nice handcuff, more the challenge was great and was great the desire to deal with it.
It all began so: one August day I rang the doorbell of his apartment and he appeared at the window of the kitchen, I asked him if he wanted to come with me to Africa to see some stage of Dakar and Most replied that us the Dakar was better if we used to go as competitors than as mere spectators.
In December we were in Paris at the start as competitors nr 174 and 175, without a penny in my pocket but with energy to spare. A dream come true for me and for him.
With the maximum time had become a reference point for those who wanted to participate in the Dakar or just take a trip to Africa, a true specialist. Built works of art. The Aprilia who made the third place with Chialego Lopez a few years ago in Argentina was a realization.
One day a couple of years ago I went to see him in the workshop and speaking of Dakar from overseas told me: “try having a problem in Argentina and have the same problem in Mauritania… I say that is not the same thing”. Loved Africa and she was right.
With him I think he's gone a piece of history of Dakar, the real one as he liked to call him, had won the Marathon class at Paris le Cap on the same team with Meoni, the Yamaha Byrd. I like to think that we have found ourselves up there and continue to talk about racing sand dunes and special stages.
In your opinion, which one do you think has been the most complete rider of Dakar "African"?
If we speak of the times when I run I, definitely Edy Orioli.
Your "mal d'africa" How's it going, everything under control? 🙂
When I stopped racing I began to travel by motorcycle, I made several long intercontinental travel, India, Africa and South America.
But there is no place in the world to do in motion comparable to Africa. A few years ago I did Cairo Cape Town with the GS, in Africa going back there ever again. In short, everything under control!
Once upon a time ... can you tell a curious anecdote related to Dakar?
I think like all those who participated in the contest in those years I could write a book about the anecdotes of Dakar.
I always thought about the folly of so many people leaving with the aim to arrive at the end of a grueling and difficult race like the Dakar. Madness that makes you do things that normally you wouldn't have even dreamed. For example,, at one stage in the Ténéré ... I lost my headlights, When night came I drove 10 MT before the truck to try to see something ... then by dint of fall I broke the top plate of the fork and in those conditions at night I finished the stage.
Roaming at night there wasn't any kind of assistance or food and having contracted with local on tank of gas in total darkness, I went to my friend Massimo del Prete which was the Copilot of the mythical Clay Regazzoni. I was exhausted and disheartened, resigned to retirement.
Clay gave me something to eat .... and Max took a ratcheting strap from their car and I tied any way the fork.
The following morning at the start I tried to hide in order not to see the Commissioners what condition I was leaving.
The stage was 870 km and the Dakar that year I ended!
Now what do you do?
I deal with design, developing new ideas and product industrialization. Special parts or project bike conversion kit,, prototypes commissioned by the client or company, Let's say that I combined work and passion.
Then a few years ago I built the R1200 GS/S, a kit to transform in a few hours the GS 1200 in a replica of the old R80 PD.
I opened my site selling online and after a couple of hours started to get orders from all over the world.
Now my site is a point of reference for all those who want to customize their bikes. Seeing is believing www.unitgarage.it