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.

BMW GS  800 1981-3

The official BMW Dakar team 1981

Official BMW team at presentation of the Dakar 1981: Fennel, Auriol and Neimer.
Special tsk

Auriol Rahier 1984

Gaston and Hubert Dakar 1984

Authentic matadors of the Edition 1984, Gaston Rahier and Hubert Auriol


ADV Campaign Champion 1987

Champion spark plugs ADV Campaign 1987 with testimonial Hubert Auriol.


Magazine Cover – Moto Revue 1981

Cover of the French Magazine Moto Revue with evidence of of Merel (3°), Bacou (2°), Padou (6°), Auriol (1°) at the end of the Dakar 1981

1984 BMW

BMW 980 Dakar 1983

The 3 BMW 980 officers of Auriol, Fenouil and Loizeaux in a moment of rest to Dakar 1984

Auriol 1982

Hubert Auriol Dakar 1982

Hubert Auriol fixes the tire of his BMW during the Dakar 1982.

Photo of Alexander Casnedi

Cagiva Ligier 750 1985

The Cagiva debuts in his first Paris Dakar in 1985 with this Ligier 750 riding Ducati Pantah engine from 748 cm ³, power supply: Dell'orto PHM 40 that was providing approximately 70 HP and pushing her at a rate of about 175 km/h. Pilots: Hubert Auriol – Racing, Giampaolo Marinoni and Gilles Picard.

Photo of Alexander Casnedi

1984Paris Dakar3

BMW GS 1000 Dakar 1984

And’ the 1984 and the BMW is the bike to beat, strong also the victory of Auriol in the previous year! The same applies also in Germany, never change a winning bike. The engine is the classic 1050 CC. from 80 HP, dry weight 173 kg, maximum speed 180 kmh.

The Starter is electric, and it's a nice convenience on a bison like. The tank, designed to lower the center of gravity and improve handling, has a capacity of approximately 56 Lt (!) portando the bike fully loaded in almost 230 kg!!

Further innovation for those times, the development in collaboration with Michelin, a mixed cushion-air Chamber (a kind of inflatable mousse) that allows you to use the very low tire pressure.

On this bike is experienced for the first time rolling road book Double roller for classical with sheets “to lose” in vogue at that time, with significant benefits in the event that the pilot wanted to check old notes in case of loss of the track.
As predicted, the GS hits, upon arrival in Dakar, first Gaston Rahier according to Hubert Auriol.

Aubert Auriol 1987

Hubert Auriol, When the pilot becomes a myth

A root, a root to break both legs.
A root to 20 kilometers from the finish.
A root on the road to victory at the Dakar.
A root in his fate and that of Cagiva.

Marc Joinea found Hubert Auriol just metres from that root prey to cries of pain he was trying to get back on bikes, helped him get back in the saddle, started the bike and agree to his will: getting back on the bike, continue to get to the finish line.
At the start of the stage was seven minutes ahead of second. Seven minutes..
His direct rival for the win, Neveu arrived to the finish line and from there began the count.
Neveu and cronomesti watching them l ’ horizon, to wait for the arrival of Hubert ’.

Seven minutes.
The first in the standings at the end of the stage, having regard to the short transfer to the next day's Rose Lake,would win the Dakar.

Seven minutes.
Seven minutes and that root.

It was Wednesday 21 January 1987 and Hubert Auriol cut the finish line of stage after five minutes of arrival of ’ Neveu: He still had a little less than two-minute head start. Was still in first place.
The motò stopped. Under the helmet you could hear screams and a desperate cry, l initial adrenaline ’, the one who restarted, After those 20 kilometers of suffering may have vanished.

None of all who ran meeting could imagine her condition and the reason for those tears.
Helped him get off the bike, the stretched themselves on the ground and took the helmet. The drama of his condition recur as soon as they were taken off the boots: ankle bones right out of the skin!

Rene Metge, the race Director, squeezed his hand while his doctors injected the morphine attenuated the pain.
Rahier approached him saying something, for his reply Hubert in form of lucid sincerity I drove out with my hand: He had suffered too much in the past.
While it was uploaded sula stretcher Hubert made the victory sign with their fingers while a smile was born out of that mask of pain.
Pernat in an interview with us issued told us that l ’ stronger and intense emotion in his long and intense career the ’ lived on the helicopter carrying Hubert to ’ hospital.