Text by Nicholas Bertaccini
Stories about the Dakar are never single stories, they are never isolated events, there is always a plot, a domino effect that creates different legends. The Paris-Dakar over the years has had different forms. Even before we get to the latest versions, between South America and the Arabian Peninsula, the routes were different.
In particular, the edition of the 1992 was characterized by the arrival in Le Cap, Cape Town.
It was decided to arrive at Le Cap to avoid potential dangers. Africa has always been a restless continent and in that year the father of the late Sabine decided that the classic route, to the capital of Senegal, did not give guarantees. It was therefore decided to cross Africa, the caravan pushed along a coast to coast North-South. This created many difficulties, also because southern Africa has completely different characteristics, is wooded. Then the pilots found themselves running on trails through the woods, in addition to the classic desert slopes.
That year Beppe Gualini obviously participated as a private individual. But he had an agreement with the team. Belgarda, New to act as a fast support. Beppe had to guarantee the team a first assistance in the field. He therefore had the same bike as that of the team's riders but did not have the same colors, his was yellow with livery Camel.
At the end of the fifteenth stage, Gilles Lalay, pilot Belgarda, stumbles upon an accident, amazing and dramatic. The pilot French in fact loses his life by colliding with an ambulance that proceeded in the opposite direction on a track in the middle of a forest. The clash was terrible. The Belgarda team decided to retire, as a sign of condolence. The team manager, however, told Beppe that he can continue, that can bring the bike to Le Cap and that indeed, it would be a nice tribute to the deceased colleague. In return, the Belgarda leaders tell him, you can keep the bike, once the race is over.
Beppe makes it, driven by his incredible and inexhaustible fortitude arrives at Le Cap. The winner of the race was Peterhansel, right on Yamaha, while Beppe ranked sixteenth, an unthinkable result. Then back to Italy, carrying the bike with you. After some time, Yamaha officials knock on his door and ask him for the bike back.. Beppe replies that he has an agreement with Belgarda and that the bike is his. Unfortunately Belgarda has finished his race, the books are in court and nowhere is it written that the bike is gualini's. The bike is by Yamaha. Beppe reluctantly detaches himself from it. But the worst is yet to come.
After some time a carriage smasher contacts him. And’ back to Beppe from the number door table that was on a bike that had to press. The Japanese, In fact, they used to press all their bikes, all their prototypes. So Beppe just has to admire a cube of yellow Camel sheets that had once been his African companion. A note about this Japanese custom: in the Yamaha museum of IWATA a couple of Peterhansel motorcycles are on display. Looking at the color of the frame of one of the two, however, you can see that the bike is not his but it is a private bike, recognizable by the white frame instead of the canonical blue of the officers, Stéphane's was probably pressed.