The robust racing jacket protectors are comfortable especially after arrival. The back of Luigino Medardo is sorely tested by a storm of friendly Pats, a whirlwind of congratulations that overwhelms him leaving him breathless. Thanks to him the Gilera won again in category silhouette, won a stage win to Tumu and one in marathon Agadez-Gao. But mostly he struggled for almost the entire race with prototypes, custom built motorcycles for Dakar and weight well over 558 cc of his RC 600, change, except in some special.
More than a victory, a triumph. It's not a question of parochialism: the all-Italian match doesn't miss a beat, much success in silhouette isn't even an argument. But this time Liam and his teammate Mandelli have outdone themselves. The seventh place overall in punta, for an hour and a half behind the winner, is more than you could hope for. But he disagrees.
"To tell you the truth we wanted to get into the top five — protest smiling — and I think we could do it, It was within our grasp. However we should March always regularly, without problems. Instead I broke the shock in the final part of the stage Ghadames-hydro, and since it was a marathon I could not change it that next day, on the runway, losing an hour.
In Dirkou, Instead, discharged battery: a stupid inconvenience which cost me half an hour, because the bike would not hear of rekindling after refueling. Are trivialities, that occurred because we didn't have much time to work on the bike. But overall it was better than good».
Of this you can be sure. Very few times the blood type Gianni Perini, team manager, had reason to fret about the delays of his men. A fortune, given the intensity with which it lives the events of his bike, despair and exulting as if he were in the saddle. When Ghat, After just a couple of days, He saw that none of his three men came, he risked heart attacks. Instead they had stopped Assembly to replace the shock broken by Medardo with that left along the bike by a car out of the race.
A cunning out regulation not ready the service truck, Since it had not been possible to remedy the trouble the night being a marathon stage, those in which it is prohibited to assistance at the bivouac. Despite the fear passed, the best memory of Medardo is related just to the marathon.
"They are very difficult, just a nothing to blow this. But for me the best memory of this Dakar is precisely the marathon Agadez-Gao, where I won the overall rankings of the two days. Were two tough stages, very difficult. I have done everything perfectly, and I won. An enormous satisfaction».
One of the many stages now, Since Medardo and Gilera continue to monopolize the category. If they dominate, though, It's not for lack of opponents.
«The Cagiva tried to run a motorcycle in silhouette at the Rally of the Pharaohs, but he declined to repeat the experiment at Dakar. Even the Suzuki tried in our category, and he did it not, as well as Honda Europe with Africa Twin. I think we want a bike, but very competitive to beat the Gilera. There were hardened pilots, Yet we have fought several times with prototypes».
Medardo humble, pretends to forget himself. You need to call it directly concerned to have his opinion.
"The pilot? It's already pretty old, with 31 years and several Paris-Dakar on the shoulders. Not just a young man to beat». The question now arises in opposite direction: is Medardo that will have to go to beat the others, given that next year's Gilera debut amongst the prototypes.
"I think there will be still even in silhouette, but I'll be on the prototype. I know it will be a difficult undertaking, but I'm going to win: otherwise I wouldn't have ambitions. A pilot must always have a clearly defined goal especially in these races so tough. Otherwise you will not find the strength to go on».
If there's one thing that has never been lacking is the determination Medardo, the will to arrive at all costs. He succeeded last year with a sore leg to a distortion, He did it again, with one hand swollen from a fall.
"It was right at the end of the stage of Kiffa, five kilometres from the finish. There was a hole marked on the road book, but there was so much dust. I only found when I got upstairs and fell». A venial sin; the only rider who Besides going strong is wrong no. A pilot for the Gilera is worth gold. And to think that when Perini approached him, offering him the spot on the team, Medardo was pondering thoughts of retirement…