Nouakchott (Mauritania) – “Africa I made it practically by myself and this more than a merit is a trouble, the biggest trouble that can happen to those running a Paris-Dakar. I still don't know if I'll be the winner, I hope for the Cagiva, for the Italian public who expect to see their own bike for the first time win this race, but it's good for everyone to know how things are”.

Hubert Auriol, a nice big boy French, always cheerful, elegant in manners and in speaking, looks more like a fine theatre actor than one of the “Beasts” who face every year this walking madness that is the Paris-Dakar. Auriol is a veteran of this speed race along deserts, savannas and mountains, Saharan Africa knows every stone, every dune, every mirage and every arcane deception. Yet the other day he too fell into one of the thousand and unexpected traps of the desert.

Auriol 1987-2 Copy

In northern Mauritania runs an old mining railway. The world's heaviest train passes through: five locomotives of over 3,000 horses each and 10,000 tons of iron on the wagons. And every time it passes, small shards of track, sharp as swords, squirt at the edges of the mass. Auriol, Vatanen and many other competitors for fear of getting lost in the desert wanted to follow the railway route. But the punctures came in bursts one after the other.

Since traveling in solitude, due to the questionable disqualification of the other two Cagiva drivers, poor Auriol lives with the nightmare of punctures. Because in this race l’ racing assistance can only provide it to teammates or other good-hearted competitors. So those who are further down the leaderboard end up slowly cannibalizing the poor bikes of their comrades. Today a wheel, tomorrow a clutch, the day after tomorrow a carburetor.

But Auriol is just. In the previous days he had also tried to mount the magical Michelin tyres, that instead of the inner tube have an expanded rubber doughnut. La Michelin, though, had studied them for Japanese motorcycles having not paid much attention to the Italian motorcycle company. So on Auriol's bike that donut got too hot, until it becomes a mush. And then the pilot French not if the’ is felt more than risking. He put on his shoulder a little’ of chambers d’ Air, like old cyclists, and went on alone to fight the battle with his rival Neveu.

He had a’ hour advantage over him and with five punctures if l’ it's eaten almost all. “In hindsight – he said – it's easy to choose, but the night before I didn't feel like taking a risk”. Yesterday, in a’ other hard stage all to the compass, managed to get glued to the rival with a little trick. Charged more gasoline, determined never to stop for refueling. And there’ he did. Neveu, on the other hand, stopped, he started on the attack but at the finish line he had only a handful of seconds.


A win by Auriol for a house like Cagiva would be a boon. “What can make a Dakar – says Roberto Attalin, head of the Italian team – I wouldn't know how to quantify it but one thing is certain: a victory at the Dakar is spoken in every remotest corner of the world and we have against all the’ Japanese industry. Just over a hundred people against thousands of specialists”. Right now 9 poor minutes divide Auriol and Neveu, Dakar is likely to end at the end of the year’ last moment.

Today c’ it's a very difficult stage, still all to be “Navigate” compass in the savannah of Senegal. The two are too experienced and too big to resort to tricks, but this year in the face of the hundreds of bewilderments in the desert, there are even competitors who have opened the hunt for the little boy to run for cover. Small, Light, son of blacks or Bedouins doesn't matter as long as he knows the slopes well. If they load it into your backpack and off to 180 per hour.

Better to have some’ weight extra but safe driving, so so at least they tell them. In cars, a’ other victory of Tambay, New1, which, however, does not bother Ari Vatanen's Peugeot that is the leader of the. The Peugeots are technically unbeatable for the power they have, but in the last few days they have risked several times to lose this race for the’ African inexperience of the Finnish pilot and the contrasts between him and his navigator, French Bernard Giroux, Tf1 commentator.

Before the morning start Vatanen sits at the wheel and in religious silence reads a passage from the Bible. He makes many good intentions but then in the race he does not trust his navigator and makes his head. After all, even his old fellow rallies had had had enough of him and his bad temper. On Sunday, Vatanen got lost in the desert, carrying other 104 cars hoping to smash it following the likely winner on a safe road.

Result: all stopped until late at night, they got caught 10 penalty hours. On Monday, he lost an hour on his direct opponent due to a puncture, French Zaniroli aboard a Range Rover. The ranking still says Vatanen, but it takes little to devil a victory that the house French has built with months of hard and skilful work on a car that, after being the queen of the rallies she is about to become the queen of Africa, as are the old ones today 504 where many of these countries continue to trudge overcharged on tracks where there are no other means of transport.

But the Dakar is not only the’ adventure of these dumbbell or steering wheel dies. And’ Also, and more often, the antechamber of death for many others. Yesterday came a poor wretch of French who had lost himself 10 days ago in the Niger desert. Two days and two nights still, sleeping at the’ I'm going to have no more water trying under the sun to repair his bike. Death was now there at a pace when luckily he was sighted by the “truck-broom” of the desert. A vehicle that travels with days and days of delay and picks up the damned of this race. To the poor, without needing to read the Bible, we offered a shower and a bed because he didn't have even a franc in his pocket. We asked him if he would ever do a Paris-Dakar and he answered: “And how could I live without?”.

Source Republic


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.