That of '86 was the most bitter race ever for the Varese team: a few kilometers from the finish line, when it seemed that the great race was over, Giampaolo Marinoni followed Sabine's fate, painting the most tragic edition of the Dakar in black. In his memory, to honor him in the sacrifice of sport, the Cagiva returns with the one that, at least on paper, is one of the strongest teams.
De Petri and Auriol focus on 80 CV of Ducati CAGIVA the most powerful
Four drivers: The two Frenchmen Auriol and Picard and our De Petri and Gualdi, and two staff in tow: one on the track led by Vismara who will also drive one of the four assistance vehicles and another, including a doctor, on the organization's aircraft. Men don't need big presentations: Auriol has already won twice; De Petri last year won six stages and took five successes in the last Rally of the Pharaohs; Edwards, former regularist, debuts in Africa but boasts successes in the European and Italian enduro championships and in the "Six Days".
The Frenchman Picard is the ideal wingman, Always ready to sacrifice himself for his "captain". The bikes are the renewed Cagiva 850. The Ducati twin-cylinder engine with its 80 CV allows them to reach a maximum speed in the desert of 185 Kmh, despite the weight at full load, so also with the 65 liters of fuel distributed in the two tanks, and 230 Kg.
After the last tests, On the part of the riders there is the firm belief that the bike has the reliability necessary to enter the fight between the twins, dominated so far by BMW and Honda. The prototype that participates in the Paris – Dakar of 1987 is profoundly renewed, to power the cavalry of the Ducati engine, the bike is equipped with an integral fairing that also includes the fuel tank. An additional tank also supports the saddle.
The result is a compact and very effective vehicle on African slopes and, while a disqualification soon puts the Italian couple Alessandro out of action “Ciro” De Petri – Franco Gualdi, Hubert Auriol, assisted in the early stages by Gilles Picard, reaches the penultimate stage (in practice at the last, Vera, Special) leads the competition followed by Neveu on Honda.
But a stupid root hidden in the sand of a Senegalese plantation takes "Hubert the African" out of the way., hooking a foot and making the pilot lose his balance, thus, crashes into a tree. The French shows both ankles broken and, after overcoming considerable difficulties throughout the race and being, even in these conditions, managed to cross the finish line, is forced to retire. Television pictures of Auriol pain weeping does the circle from the world and elevate a moral winner of this edition of the race.
Immediately a sort of "Auriol replica" is presented on the motorcycle market, as defined by the magazine French "Motoverte", or an Elefant that, Broadly speaking, resumes the setting of the racing bike. In reality, the bike on sale to the public is nothing more than the bike of the previous year equipped with a low mudguard and Bing vacuum carburetors that soften the delivery. The aesthetic reference to the African bike is entrusted to the integral fairing with the monoheadlight now no longer integral to the fork. An important difference is instead the adoption of the 750 CC.
Taken from Rhombus 1987