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”.


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”.


Dakar 1985 | La Cagiva gives itself Hubert Auriol

If anyone can judge BMW and Ligier-Cagiva, it's definitely Hubert Auriol., the thirty-French winner with the BMW of two Paris-Dakar, this year at Cagiva to develop the 750 Elefant. Of course Auriol admits the superiority of his current bike.

Auriol 1985

"I can't get that unbalanced – says – because I tried the Ligier-Cagiva only in the Rally of Algeria whose route is very different from that of the Paris-Dakar; the initial impression is that the power between the two bikes is more or less equivalent; the rear suspension of the Cagiva is much more efficient, as for weight I believe that the Ligier-Cagiva is about fifteen kilograms lower than the BMW, so...'

For the former BMW driver and 'king' of African races, the Cagiva is better

Malignants say you left bmw because of rivalry with Rahier, the former Belgian cross-countryman who was hired to back you up two years ago and in the last edition blew you the victory…

"And a simplistic explanation this: i changed teams for several reasons. After so many years spent with BMW I was looking for new stimuli, and collaborating with an enthusiastic team like that of Cagiva to realize a winning bike from nothing is a huge stimulus".


"No, he wasn't the cause.".

Auriol 1985 Copy

The Ligier-Cagiva team is actually Italian or French?

'Marinoni, Member of the Commission.. one of the pilots, it's Italian; two mechanics in tow are Italian, everybody else is French. We split up our homework: La Cagiva built the bike, modified it following our directions after the first tests; I, who have more experience of African racing than them, organized the team..

At the Rally of Algeria the Ligier-Cagiva suffered a current failure: the breakage of the gearbox bearings and the burning of the clutch discs. For the Dakar the problem will be solved with new bearings and with the adoption of an integral oil cooling circuit that lubricates gearbox and clutch.

Taken from Rhombus



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 Azzalin, 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.