Quercioli 1991

DAKAR 1991 | Claudio Quercioli, see Africa and then… Back

Claudio Quercioli he can't say he didn't arrive in Africa, but it went a little further. His race ended halfway through the first transfer, with a seizure that forced him to make the last 160 km towing. The replacement engine has not even been unloaded from the service truck: the next morning he left at a low pace, escorted by a Libyan police car, to return to Tripoli.

"I finished the stage pulled by Savi's truck, also taking a big risk traveling to 110 km/h at night, in those conditions and above all I passed the check on arrival, while the regulation provides that this takes place with the engine running. At the bivouac I unlocked the engine with the starting lever, and I discovered that I had seized because the oil was finished. Unfortunately, even the spare engine that already has several kilo-meters on its shoulders could not have resisted.: I had brought it in case it was necessary to take away the bike after a break in the desert, but we don't talk about doing the whole race».

It is the second retreat for Quercioli, that already last year he was forced to abandon after a daring affair: readmitted to the race thanks to the Italian jury member after the commissioners had prevented him from taking the start, he broke twice the truck with which he was returning to take the bike left to Agadez and could not recover it in time. "I'll be back at the Dakar, but only if I can have a team, so you can just drive. I had to give up already after last year, but doing it is beautiful. I gladly make the sacrifices that are necessary to get started; it's when things like today's happen to me that I don't enjoy it anymore. But it makes me laugh if I think that in February I will return the desire to participate in it ».


DAKAR 1991 | African Diary of Aldo Winkler

Many support it and I think so too, Dakar is a disease that never gives up on you. And here I am ready to fall back again! Every Dakar has brought me great friendships: Beat, Maletti, Charles Edson, in the future Morelli during the race. But I had never left with a person with whom we were already friends before. The fact that he had signed up Brenno (Brenno) Bignardi it was the final push to participate. Brenno and I shared a common passion for off-road motorcycles, we both raced cross and enduro and still today we have fun bikes together. What could be more stimulating than having the most beautiful adventure together?



Ghadames — Ghat A bestial stop more than 1.000 km. divided into two stages. A1 morning, an intense cold, we could have opened a’ newsstand with paper under clothes!And’ one of the mythical stages of the Dakar, really hard ,but all satisfied by incredible landscapes. The Dakar is changing becoming more human, the food is tastier, served on trays, there is availability of water, the ration is distributed in the morning, you can sleep in a tent However it is more important to be in a team of friends with impeccable assistance. The only note out of tune was the bike not very powerful and difficult to ride.



Gossololom A remote place, reason why it is not clear why it has a name ,since there is nothing and it is in the middle of the Tenerè. Exactly here the misadventure had happened to me a few years before , exactly in the Ued Egaro. The day after this bivouac, in 40 km., even though I was in special, I started looking for the Tuareg , maybe I would see my friends who saved me again. Avro (Avro)’ fact 15 km. to the east, then I came back and then I went15 km. to the west along in all 60 km. More I could not have for lack of gasoline. Unfortunately I did not see a living soul , how I would have liked to see them again!

They have already left?
This is the classic joke Brenno's workhorse. It was mythical and we asked him to tell us about it a thousand times, throughout the Dakar.
Mr.. Rezzonico (Italy), almost ninety years old, suffers from advanced senile dementia and important confusional states with obvious memory loss and lucidity. His son tried to help him by having him visited by several geriatricials in the hope of finding a solution.. One of the doctors who had the opportunity to visit his father, suggests that he take him to an experimental clinic located in Ticino where it seems that a solution can be found..
Accept the suggestion, makes an appointment and reaches the clinic with his father. They are kindly welcomed at the reception by Dr. Bernasconi who makes them sit in his office. Once you visit your father, the doctor invites the son to take a tour of the clinic to show him the structure and tells him: Our clinic is at the forefront of the treatment of this disease, we healed almost the 100% of patients, now let's take a tour to the first floor where the patients have just arrived and still show obvious signs of madness.
Rezzonico (Italy), at the invitation of the doctor, opens the door of a room and realizes that the situation is similar to that of his father: patients running on the walls, who thinks he is flying, who swims on the floor, ruction, Plant, looks lost in the void. He remains very impressed by this situation. The doctor reassures him and at this point accompanies him to the second floor where things seem to be going better. Rezzonico (Italy), opening a door he realizes that patients seem calmer, always a little’ strange but quiet, one of them for example is combing with a fish. The doctor says these patients have spent at least two weeks in the facility and already show obvious signs of improvement.. It's time to go up to the third and last floor. In the corridor there is silence and even the nurses seem more relaxed. Rezzonico looks at the doctor in amazement and tells him: can enter any room, will see for yourself the optimal state of mental health achieved by our patients, came in two months ago and will see for yourself our results. They then enter a room and are all quiet, who in bed, who sat, who chats, who reads, who paints. Rezzonico is pleasantly surprised and the doctor suggests that he speak directly with some of them.. He approaches the first gentleman sitting in the armchair and asks him: Good morning, What are you doing? Answer: I'm reading a book, you can't see it? He repeats this question to the other guests and everyone gives him logical answers. He eventually reaches a gentleman who is holding a big rabbit on his lap and then asks the doctor: pets are allowed in the clinic? The doctor answers: certainly, are an integral part of our therapies, depending on the type of patient we choose the most suitable animal. Rezzonico at this point decides to ask the usual question to this quiet gentleman with the rabbit on his lap: Good morning, What are you doing? The gentleman answers: Good morning, I'm stroking a rabbit, it seems obvious to me, because he asks me? Rezzonico (Italy): Mah….I ask him because on the second floor they seem a bit’ Parties. The gentleman with the rabbit: have already left? Bastards! Grab the rabbit's ears like a handlebar, gets into the hull and screams uaaaaaaaaaaa
Therapy in this case did not work does not always work.

Agades – Rest day, day of work on the bike a bit of relaxation. Resting a little is good even if it breaks the rhythm, and shooting is difficult. We had rented, like all teams , a closed villa. Since we left we have never taken a shower, not only because of the difficulty in doing it, but above all because the cold did not allow it.
Finished the special after so much sand , we crossed the Niger River, Seeing water was a party and we all stopped to celebrate and take pictures.



The bike was a Gilera absolutely standard, very different from the official ones in terms of power and handling. We called her “the desk” so wide and coarse was the front tank, the driving position was all backward and standing up was torture, in the curves it drifted but with the front wheel. On the contrary, since she was the companion of several days, the engine has never betrayed, he took us to the bottom and for this reason we are all fond of it.

Another terrible aspect was that the fiberglass tank, so very delicate, if you fell from a standstill you risked piercing it, and repairs we have made many on the fly with soap, attack, Etc. We were so terrified that when you risked falling you almost threw yourself under the bike to protect the tanks. Since we consumed I’ front first and rear was spare ,once the rear had punctured and so I ran out of gasoline because I did not notice that it was leaking.




BROKEN FRAME l’ attachment of the swingarm to the frame broke by detaching itself sharply from one side. Brenno and I stopped at Tichit, very small village in Mauritania where we looked for a “saldeur” i.e. a soldering iron. After a long time we find it but it did not have electricity until the evening. I pull out my magical straps , I tie them hoping that the swingarm does not move and going slowly ,now at night, I finished the stage.




ARRIVAL The arrival in Dakar is always a great emotion, almost a liberation, is to achieve the goal for which you have sweated so much and suffered for so many days thinking only and exclusively about this. At the same time, however,, you already begin to miss this engaging focus, it is like having peace of the hunger to live existential. The two specials, one with the beach by the sea (representing the journey from the sea of north France to the Africa of Senegal as Sabine said its creator) and the second special with arrival at the famous Pink Lake so colored by the very high density of salt.




Brenno Brignardi and his “troubles” the Dakar 1991

Penultimate stage: Kiffa-Kayes – Tambacounda.
I'm tired and like everyone else, I am consumed by the fatigue and stress of this race. I strongly wanted it, I felt I had to give myself this adventure. I lived it as a way to close a circle opened many years before, in 1976.
A circle linked to a wonderful sport made of nature, engines, friends. A sport that was a world. In this African adventure I was in the company of a dear friend, friend since this sport was called regularity.

His presence gave me strength and serenity. On the eve of the penultimate stage I was happy, after weeks of km, sand and difficulty only one stage is missing. I had almost managed to complete the toughest race in the world. Obviously, like all outsiders, I was sailing in the back of the standings but the Dakar at that time was not only ranking, for some it was certainly important to get to the front but for many it was very important and challenging to get to the pink lake, at the finish line.
Up to that point I had managed to complete all the days of the race without incurring penalties due to excessive delay at the finish line of the stage. This is also thanks to the help of Aldo, great expert dakariano.

In life, as in races, never take anything for granted, all the more so at the Dakar. The stage included 572 total km, 283 km of special stage. At the end of the special stage, the transfer included a route on a very dusty laterite road. We decide to travel separately to Tambacounda to avoid filling up with dust. Each of us leaves alone and we meet on arrival. I remember that I am traveling quietly when 180km from the destination the mono shock absorber breaks. In the midst of such a selective race there can be many types of breakages. Unfortunately my mono broke in such a way that I could not bypass it by connecting the linkages directly to the swingarm.

It would have allowed me to have a bike with a normal set-up, even without the shock absorbing function. Instead, is made: the bike is completely lying down, so I decide to continue my journey in this way hoping that the rear tire will hold up. But in the desert every problem recalls others, the wheel touches the fender and wears out. While traveling I often turned to look back but saw only dust and black pieces of tire. Even today I don't know why, there were not many holds but the same I hoped for a miracle, that of course, it didn't happen.
At some point, as normal happens, I remain without a tire.

Unique feeling difficult to misunderstand. I stop, I get off the bike. I observe what remains, two large metal rings that formed the shoulder of the tire. I have to remove them but among my tools I do not have the right one. At least I was not in the desert dunes but along a road, the Dakar caravan was about to pass by here. I start thinking, to try to find solutions. I'm too close to the end not to try everything. I think I can wait for my assistance, for sure they have a wheel and a shock absorber on the truck that would solve the situation. This means waiting who knows how long. Until that moment I had managed to avoid it, so I decided to make do on my own. I borrowed a tool to shear the two metal rings from a crew in the car who had kindly stopped to help me. Eventually, Somehow, I'm back.

I did the last 60 kilometers on the rim and without shock absorber, trying to drive as much as possible standing with the weight forward, jumping and bouncing at every little hole, trying to sit only when I couldn't take it anymore. The bike was difficult to direct going slowly because it was the side of the rim that controlled the direction and so I had to try to keep a sustained pace. I don't remember the times I fell. At some point I also lost the saddle. I went ahead, supported by I don't know what willpower. When I arrived just fifteen kilometers from the time control, it was dark by now but I felt I had made it.

I arrived, like a comet, to the time control. A comet formed by the sparks caused by the crawling of the muffler on the asphalt, as the astonished eyewitnesses told me: an unexpected fireworks show in Tambacounda. Commissioners, they too have fun from my scenic arrival, they assured me that for a few minutes I did not take the flat penalty for arriving late at the check. I had arrived. I was the happiest man in the world. At the bivouac, where my assistance was waiting for me, not even the time to greet them that I find myself with a cold beer in my hand and I am baptized immediately by the Assomoto Team "le motard de l'impossible".

Taken from the memories of Aldo Winkler on fb


DAKAR 1990 | Gilera, the greatest adventure

by Giuseppe Dell'Olio

Paris and Dakar: names identifying two cities on paper Between them a thin tormented line drawn with ink: it's the line of adventure today, a line that in a handful of centimeters encloses thousands of kilometers of competition La Paris-Dakar is a tough race, a race of men and exasperated mechanical means, super organized teams, but that still leaves room for adventure, sacrifices, hopes and hopes 16836378_326020857794549_5051747352723917819_oillusions of so many who launch themselves head-on into the desert, towards that sea of sand and rocks that hides inscrutable secrets and a thousand pitfalls Gilera wants to prove it by deploying at the start two “RC 600” series entrusted to Luigino Medardo and the very young Roberto Mandelli

The 12th edition of the Paris-Dakar will kick off next 23 December. The great African marathon has now reached levels of competitive exasperation that have fantastic: official teams from the incredibly complex organization, motorcycles that are real prototypes costing hundreds of millions, designed and built with a single lens: win the terrible African desert. But it is still possible to participate and possibly well figure in the classic Christmas with a standard bike and a team that does not look like an army?

The question of whether the Gilera managers have asked it and they have also found an answer. Of course it's still possible. Just make a GileraRA_1990simple cocktails where the main ingredients are a good enduro at 4 sustained displacement times, a couple of riders who don't just look at the possibility of an absolute record, a small but efficient team, a truly sporting sponsor. At Arcore there were the “RC 600”, bike that won the Italian Raid Marathon Championship and that with a couple of additional tanks and a road-book seems born for the Ténéré, Luigino Medardo, who was waiting for nothing but to take her to Africa, by his side the very young Roberto Mandelli who, just to show his disbelief at the possibility that he was being offered, thought well about winning, on his debut in Africa, marathon standings for standard bikes at the Pharaohs Rally.

ready-to-goAs for the sponsor at the Henninger, New10 have well thought that with the African heat who better than them could think of proposing a fresh and restorative drink to the men engaged in the deserts? And so the glorious House of Arcore decided to re-enter the eventful world of world-class competitions by enrolling two “RC 600” the Dakar. A highly anticipated return: many were nostalgic for the red-run Gilera. Maden, technical director and Gianni Perini, sporting director, enthusiastically welcomed the initiative and in a very short time the Gilera-Henninger team was born, in addition to the pilots of five other people including logistics and mechanics. The Gilera RC 600 that will start for Dakar have been prepared on the basis of the indications sca-turite by the victorious participations in the Italian Rally Marathon Championship and the Rally of Tunisia and the Pharaohs.

“They're standard bikes – confirms us Ing. Martiniand as such they don't want to aim for absolute primacy. We at Gilera just want to show that it is still possible to be at the Dakar even without super sophisticated prototypes that have nothing to do with the bikes we use every day.” “We are convinced – continues the d.t. Gilera – that a hard and exasperated race like the African rally can give very useful indications on the technical solutions and materials used in the production of series. And’ with this goal that we stand at the start of Paris: extreme testing of our production to offer customers an increasingly reliable and secure product. We set out to get to the bottom and well figure, but above all to know how far the bikes coming out of our factory can go.” To the expert Luigino Medardo, to roberto Mandelli's very young promise and to the “RC 600” the task of confirming these expectations at the Dakar finish line.


It's called “RC 600″ the Gilera that will be the protagonist of the 12” Paris-Dakar among the standard bikes of the class “Marathon Amelioré”. And’ was developed by the technicians of the Arcore House to show that, despite the exasperation now achieved by the prototypes that run in the desert, it is still possible to participate in the great Dakarian adventure by simple and inexpensive means, directly derived from normal-production motorcycles.GileraRA_1990_2 Starting from the bike that everyone can find from the dealer, Arcore have made some, however very limited, technical changes to strengthen some details that during a grueling race such as the Dakar, are exasperatedly urged. Other improvements relate to the accessory equipment, integrated for the special needs of the race. The Gilera RC 600 It's a decidedly sporty enduro but not exasperated, designed to give the user real multi-functionality features.

And’ equipped with a single-cylinder powertrain 4 times of 569 CC. with two-sided distribution in the head controlled by tooth belt and four valves. The power supply provides two carburetors. The cooling is liquid with pump and three-way thermostatic circuit with electrowind and mixer. The ignition is electronic with capacitive discharge with variable automatic advance device. The cycling setting of this enduro spinner did not require substantial changes to the exasperated use in the race: a confirmation of the basic goodness of the Gilera project. The frame is a single-wheeled chrome-molybdenum steel with sheet metal reinforcements. The back is disassembled. The rear suspension adopts a lightweight alloy fork and a single-depreciation supported by the progressive cinematisms of the exclusive Gilera system “Power Drive”.

Few changes to deal with the terrible Ténéré.
One of the most difficult problems to solve in the preparation of a motorcycle for the Paris-Dakar is the arrangement of fuel. Add a lot of gasoline to the bike load – Gilera technicians reveal – creates many weight-sharing problems, especially in relation to the progressive emptying of the tanks. The Gilera RC 600 Paris-Dakar adopts three tanks: the main one in the classical position is doubled and con-holds GileraRC_1990anti-debate bulkts. With the two sides positioned behind the sides, the overall capacity reaches 56 liters of fuel. Of course, the tanks power the carburetors with the help of a membrane gasoline pump. The driver follows in the race a particular criterion for the use of the tanks: the first to be exploited so-no the two sides.

These are partially emptied and stored in each of about four liters of gasoline. Then the power passes on the main tank while the eight advanced litres in the side ones come to form an emergency reserve. Another aspect of African raid bikes that completely differs from the large series models is found in the instrumentation.

“Navigate” in the desert it's a little bit’ how to navigate the ocean and in fact the Gilera has equipped its bikes with special electronic compasses similar to those adopted by the boats that are facing the regatta around the world. These special compasses are able to signal any deviations from the route set by the pilot and also take into account the possible variations of indication induced by the magnetic tilt of the place where the measurement is made. Eliminating this margin of error, which is called magnetic declination, makes orientation much safer.

The compass is flanked by two professional trip masters and a road-book door that help to make the handlebars of these bikes a real cluster of indicators and tools that in the eyes of the non-experts appear a little’ strange and bizarre. Desert means an incredible variety of funds: from sharp rocks to softer sand. Tire hoops are therefore among the most stressed organs of the bike. The Gilera RC 600 adopts special alloy wheels with Michelin tyres equipped with the special “mousse” anti-drilling. Other minor changes were necessary to adapt the Gilera RC 600 extremely harsh features of African tracks. In particular, the calibration of the suspension has been retouched, have been adopting more durable pads for brakes, the exhaust marmist has been replaced with two freer trombones, the filter has been adapted to mitigate the major problems due to the dust. The engine shield, Finally, has been replaced and supplemented with an emergency drinking water tank. In define-va changes made to the Gilera RC 600 have been extremely limited. A wonderful confirmation of the goodness and reliability of the standard bike.


Luigino Medardo reveals all the secrets to driving in the desert
Getting to the bottom is the biggest challenge in the Dakar. And’ a terrible and beautiful race, decidedly unique. It is not easy to describe the sensations and emotions of a rider during this incredible race, Where – forgive me the rhetoric – the unexpected is the daily bread. The typical day of the Dakar starts with the alarm clock at 4,45. In a quarter of an hour you'll be (but this term when it comes to Paris-Dakar has a vaguely euphemistic sound), you dress up and devour breakfast. There are teas, Milk, Chocolate, Jam, Cookies. At 5 at this point the briefing of the race director who makes aware of any changes in the track and quickly summarizes the road-book of the stage. Then immediately to check the bike.


Every African racer has a very special relationship with his mechanical vehicle. I am not ashamed to say that during the race I speak with the (my bike, I have followed its birth and development and I think I know it even in the most hidden. For twenty days the bike is the most 1 Important. You may depend on the result of the race, but even more may depend on the pilot's very survival. I care about her very much, I take care of it personally, I always want it in the best shape, also from an aesthetic point of view. I think my wife is a little bit’ jealous of this red Gilera… But back to the day we're living in the desert. Contrary to what you might think of one of the problems of the Dakar is represented by the cold. In the first stages, up to Niger, the temperature is definitely low. In the morning in front of the tent the ground is frozen.

We leave for the first transfer with padded suits and undercoound, some are funny, look like the Michelin man… The transfer takes place in a group, without forcing. Departure of the special test: alignment and then every minute the commissioner sets off to a competitor. And’ the GileraRA_1990_3moment when the pilot forgets everything and everyone. Now there's only the bike, sand, the desert, the tracks of those in front of you and the road-book. The roar of the engine is like the throbbing of your heart. Concentration is very important: don't be fooled by the thousand pitfalls of the desert. The orientation is very challenging. You help each other by all means. You have to recognize the different types of background, the fresh traces from those of past years that remain imprinted on the sand as happens on the lunar soil. You have to dose your strength sparingly, resist hunger and thirst.

The PS (special test, Ed) of a rally like the Dakar is one of the most challenging tests ever for a driver. Sometimes you find yourself in two or more competitors running together. In the high rankings the competition is exasperated. Opponents study each other, you constantly check. There is no collaboration when you fight for the record. In the reinforcement positions, on the other hand, solidarity is found, you help each other, consulted to check the direction to be taken. Hours and hours like this, always very close to the physical limit of the rider and mechanic of the bike, without ever risking more than you should, not even in direct comparison (when it happens) near arrival. If this is near the bivou ac is the first person you look for with your eyes as soon as you see the finish line is your D.S.. which is a little bit’ a father and a guide for each driver.

If, after the ps there is still a transfer the friendly face is that of the timekeepers who give you a little’ and often have a word of encouragement. In this case, you'll stop a little’ nearby to control the positions of opponents, to pull a little’ breathless and refuel. Upon arrival at the bivou accom, you immediately look for your team and the first thought is for the maintenance of the bike. Meanwhile comes the sunset, that in the desert is very fast. At 18 it's sunny, After 5 minutes the darkness is absolute. Time to wash (always the particular washing-Dakar, that is, a little bit’ water on the face…) and eat the appetizing (!) Africatours and immediately to prepare the road-book for the next day's stage with the enigmatic (not to say mysterious) content of the box heated to bath-mary that meanwhile. goes crazy in the stomach.


After the road-book operation that needs to be done very carefully the pilot allows himself a few minutes of relaxation before going to sleep in the tent. You have to sleep as much as you can and, restn certain, in a race like the Dakar no one suffers from insomnia! Here's, this is Paris-Dakar. But it is also the outstretched hand of a local child who greets you in the middle of a desert, giving you that human warmth that's an indescribable push to move forward; it's the beauty of fairytale landscapes that you'd like to frame; it is the friendship that emanates in the evening around the fire. There are no normal things at Dakar. Everything is exasperated: peeing can be a little drama, resist the temptation to stop to eat-king the ration of muesli a sadistic torment. Great, magnificent Dakar, in the heart of the pilot only lacks the magical vision of that beach “damn” on the shores of the Atlantic. At least once in your pilot's life you have to get to the bottom. And then start dreaming again the time to start again for the next magical Dakar.


Dakar 1988 | Gilera R1 125 Paris Dakar

The discovery of the only surviving specimen of the two Gilera 125 R1 who participated in the 10. the Paris-Dakar edition, which took place in January 1988, gave us the cue to tell a forgotten story. A story that is all the more important considering that with this participation The Gilera wrote for the first time her name in the register of the grueling African marathon, starting in fact a presence that would have seen her among the major protagonists in the years to come.

We thank the Moto Club Carate Brianza for this opportunity, in the people of its president, Guido Fumagalli and the collector Mauro Gibellini, motorcycle owner, that to celebrate the important find, last July they organized a small party that saw the main architects of that adventure reunite. In addition to the rider who drove the motorcycle at the time,. 2, French Gilles Valade, and his mechanic Michel Duhalde, arrived the first even from New Caledonia (that's on the other side of the world, above Australia), and the second from France, The Italian part of the story was also present, mechanical historians who over the years 80 and 90 constituted the nerbo of the Gilera Racing Department, Emilio Locati and Romolo Ciancamerla. Silvano Galbusera was missing, another key figure in the set-up of the bikes, but unfortunately unable to participate.

The team French who sign up is called Le Defi 125 (The challenge of 125) to undertake the small displacement in relation to the enormous difficulties to be faced.

It was in fact these men who built the bikes at Arcore, with Marco Riva, present at the event, in those years at the Project Department of the House of Arcore, who took care of the livery and graphics of the two R1s that started at the Paris-Dakar. Briefly introduced the protagonists, we leave the memory of that adventure to the pilot Valade and his mechanic Duhalde.

Fascinated like many off-road drivers from Paris-Dakar, In January 1987, immediately after the conclusion of the 9th edition of the race, I get in touch with Jean Marc Lambinon of Peugeot Cycles in Paris. I have an ambitious project to present to him: participate in the next Paris-Dakar, with four Peugeot XlSEs 125 Lc, standard bikes using Gilera engines, and I know well because I've been using one for two years to participate in the Peugeot Enduro Trophy. The small displacement, in relation to the hardness of the race, is in itself a challenge, and that's why the team I founded is called Le Defi 125 (The Challenge of 125).


The team already has four drivers, a mechanic, a preparer, a simple but effective communication plan, and a few small sponsors. Manager, pilot and 'PR’ It's me; Christian Grelaud is the rider of the second bike that brings us in dowry the sponsor Aurora Confection; Marcel Meriguet and Chirstian Izaire, pilot and sports journalist of South Radio, I'm the third and fourth driver. Michel Duhalde is the mechanic. I realize that participating in the raid with a 125 it's a gamble, the dream is to end the adventure in Dakar, but it would already be a success to get to Agadir, the finish line of the half race.

Peugeot's management is convinced that The Challenge 125 can be a good advertising vehicle, recalling interest in his bikes; it doesn't take much time in fact that Lambinon calls me to announce that they have agreed to entrust me with four bikes, ten spare engines and many spare parts. It's a great start for me and, with the support of Peugeot, I turn to Michelin to get Desert tyres with Bib mousse. If the four Peugeots, in their basic set-up, may be good for Enduro races in France, they're certainly not adequate to face a Dakar. A little’ experience in fact I have it because I ran the edition of the 1986 from private with a Suzuki. First of all, we need to increase autonomy, which is reduced by the tank by 10,2 liters.


At that time, Acerbis made plastic mega-tank kits, plus an extra tank to be placed under the saddle, different brands' bikes, but all of which are large, therefore not adaptable to Peugeot. The solution comes to me from an ad published in Moto Journal by Michel Assis offering a carbon monocoque 45 liters, with two indestructible aircraft tanks inside, placed one in the traditional position and the other behind the saddle, in the tail of the bike. Contact Assis and ask him if you can adapt this kit to my bikes. The answer is positive, so I send him a motorcycle so he can work on it calmly and accurately in his workshop. But even the Peugeot bike is not up to par.

In particular, the fork, who will have to support the overweight of more than 45 liters of fuel and the various accessories needed for theGilera_R1_36 desert navigation. Stock Express, specialist in forks, maybe seduced by my enthusiasm (and my sponsors…), agrees to procure me four more Marchers, bulk-up and 'up-side-down'. At the Doumencq Motos workshop, at Saverdun in Ariege, where the Peugeots are already being modified, the forks are mounted on the canvases without any problem, and soon the four Peugeots are ready for the first experiences in the mountains of the Pyrenees and the beaches of Narbonne, that offer multiple types of terrain and similar difficulties to those of Africa.

The tests are fine, motorcycles convince us. A pilot French, occasional spectator of our trials, and already a contender for the Peugeot Enduro Championship, asks us for information and offers his experience for any advice. Among other things, I tell him we're going to change the chain size, crown and pine cone, but that we don't know yet what to adopt between 420, 428 or 520.

The endurist expert strongly advises against this intervention, because he's seen too many engine carter breaks caused by the reports and the increased chain that, going to rub on the carter, wear it and break it quickly. Not to mention the increased power absorption, sensitive in engines like ours 125 who don't already have as much. Given the seriousness and competence of the person, we then decide to supersede this change, keeping the original transmission. Meanwhile, the four special carbon shells are finished and arrive at the Doumencq workshop, where the technical preparation takes place.

You just have to mount them and give the finishing touches, after which I organize a first presentation of Team Le Defi 125 on TV, on the France channel 3. Another key presentation, with exposure of a motorcycle, at the Peugeot stand at the Paris Motor Show, held by the 14 at 23 November 1987, where I also meet the well-known journalist Guy Coulon, which assures me of a wide service on the major newspapers of specialized printing and on VSD (widespread French magazine). On the same occasion I contact and get support from other important sponsors: Segura for clothing, Answer for helmets and Carrera for glasses. However, there is still no sponsor who can cover the transfer costs of motorcycles and spare parts, by Georges Groine's trucks, at the time the most introduced in the services of the Paris-Dakar.

Always at that Salon, Lambinon, New, guest at the Gilera booth, where I too find myself intrigued by the new R1 from Enduro, and in particular by its powerful engine, significantly better performing than the Peugeot, introduces me to some executives of the Italian company. A meeting follows in which I explain my project and mention the problems still to be solved related to the expensive transfer. But above all I ask if you can get the engine of the R1 to mount it on the four bikes. The 14 December I receive a phone call from Italy inviting me to Arcore: my request is accepted, and in addition the Gilera will participate through my team at the Paris-Dakar in official form! That's why they ask me to send to Arcore two bikes on which the new R1 engines will be installed. Before accepting, however,, it seems to me correct to inform and ask for permission from Peugeot, that sportingly does not place constraints on the fact that motorcycles also carry the Gilera brand.


This does not go unnoticed by the specialized press, and a new article appears on the pages of L'Equipe magazine. But also contacts with the organization of the Paris-Dakar, in the person of Renè Metge, they're fine: given the value of sponsors, Peugeot, Michelin, Gilera, etc., I ask and get my bikes to have race numbers from 1 in 4. A nice shot for the image! The two Peugeots arrive at Arcore on 18 December, and are disassembled to fit the new engines, but the first difficulties also begin. Not only is it impossible to mount the engines and their accessories on the Peugeot, but a crate sent from France, which contains all the material you need to mount the shells on the bikes, is stolen from customs. My Mechanic, Michel Duhalte, Gilera to follow and collaborate with the work, he's seriously concerned, also because it's already the 18 December, and it's just over a week before the start of the race. So it prompts my return to Arcore, where I'm made aware of the technical difficulties i've encountered, considered insurmountable given the little time that remains if you want to line up at the start.

At this point, Gianni Perini, the historic Director of the Racing Department of Arcore. Perini decides to take two R1s from production and modify them with Peugeot parts. I accept the decision, also because I don't see any way out. Save time, the approval of the lawings will keep the Peugeot one… removing the Gilera tag and refilling the, and the two bikes will have French documents and license plates, with the identification number 25 Besancon district, where the Peugeot plant is located. 1119 December work begins on the 91, but there are more difficulties soon. In particular, you can't adapt the shells, so much so that in the end the Gilera mechanics cut them into two parts, using only the rear one that is attached to the frame with special brackets, while the front is deleted, adopting an increased capacity tank made in record time and tailored, and that retains a similar look to the original.

Unfortunately, this way they are lost 10 liters of fuel, which will have to be recovered absolutely by fixing over the back of the tail two canisters from 5 liters, with the consequences of impaired stability that result. You can't even mount the Marzocchi forks “up-side-down, keeping the original R1. The decision is made to use a reinforced and enhanced final transmission, despite my contrary opinion. In fact, in no Enduro competition held by Gilera in Europe has the problem of the chain breaking the carter, so you don't see a reason to give up this change.

The two bikes are so complete and tested by Gilera testers. Among the changes you made, removing the mixer, battery, whose compartment under the saddle is occupied with a small reserve can of oil per mixture, gas and clutch spare cables already in place and ready to hook, levers of the spare controls fixed with rubber bands and plastic straps to the head of the fork, second spare coil, special stand with wide base that does not sink into the sand, wheels with pins equipped with a fast disassembly handles, and any necessary changes to the handlebars (plate and bindings) to mount the road book and compass. A huge effort by mechanics and technicians, working day and none, in a week they practically built two bikes capable of facing a Paris-Dakar! The 26 December 1987 Grelaud and I, the other pilot, we are in Milan where the pre-departure from Milan-Flowers takes place.


On our shirts is the Gilera brand well highlighted, and so on the tank of the two bikes, where Gilera towers over Peugeot. From Milan we leave for France by car and arrive in Reims where Perini and the mechanic await us Silvano Galbusera gilera's service truck and the two R1s. In Reims we also find Marcel Meriguet and Christian Izaire and their two Peugeots. this is where the technical checks take place. As for numbering, unfortunately the number 1 is moved to Jean Claude Olivier's Yamaha (the powerful importer French of the Japanese house), So the team's four bikes will have the 2, 3, 4 and 5, with the first two numbers assigned to the Gilera. The 30 December '87 we are in Cergy Pontoise (on the River Oise, a few miles northwest of Paris) where you run the first special test under an infamous time. Rain and mud make the special a true Dante's group, but the Gileragos go perfectly. Unique care, a tall front fender is mounted so as not to get clogged with mud, which will then be disassembled because it is useless in Africa where the low one is preferable. At the finish line the result is really encouraging, with Grelaud 39th, and first in the class 125, and the others well placed in high places of the qualifying.

On 1 January S8 begins from Versailles the transfer leg to Sète for boarding for Africa: the two Gileras in the straight touch the 145 km/h, deserved the admiration of Jean Claude Olivier, working alongside us with his Yamaha 600 inciting us with the familiar motorcycle gesture of the handcuff all open. In Sète we embark on the ferry that takes us to Algiers. We're in Africa! From Algiers we reach EI Oued, where the mechanic following the shipment, Michel Duhalde, provides motorcycle maintenance. Only on my Gilera there is a serious problem: unfortunately it's happening what I was afraid, that is, the pine cone and the increased chain kneaded with sand are a grinding grinder on the left-hand casing of the engine that has a slit of 5 cm, allowing the sand to penetrate the ignition case. In addition, unexplained fact, the clothespin of the false chain mesh is found inside the case, while my chain is not lacking. Maybe a mistake in the assembly phase? The next stage EI Oued-Hassi Messaoud, is of 594 km, of which 250 special in the desert. what to do? Change the entire engine, or just the broken carter? The regulation stipulates that each bike has two spare engines, the first one to use, In the event of a rupture, in the first part of the race, that is, up to Agadez, the second later. In the end we decide to change only the carter thus saving the first spare engine, and Michel works all night to complete the operation. In the morning the bike turns perfectly and I take the hopeful start. In fact, the Gilera, small and light compared to other bikes, large and heavy, sails very well on the dunes.

But the joy is destined to last little: after three hours the engine is muted. I look at the left carter and see that it has broken again, with the sand that penetrated inside and blocked the ignition. I don't lose heart, and with the tools I've unmasked the engine from the frame, confident that the assistance truck will be by me shortly. Instead I'll have to wait 11 hours in the desert before it arrives. The truck leaves me the new engine still packed and starts again immediately, on the other hand, he's in the race too! Nobody helps me, nobody stops to see what's wrong. We are in a special test, and Paris-Dakar is not a walk in the desert! The new engine starts immediately, I can resume the march. I miss them 350 km to get to the stage finish line.

The track is made almost impassable by the passage of more than five hundred vehicles, and it's now evening, with the night looming. I turn on all the lights and proceed with caution. Suddenly, after a moon, I find a gathering of vehicles: bike, cars and trucks are stationary with their headlights on in a sort of encampment where the first bonfires are already red-hot. I'll stop too, despite having nothing to spend the night, but I experience the famous brotherhood of the Dakarians: they offer me a drink, to eat and to shelter me at night. In the morning we all leave. I miss gasoline, and a Land Rover now out of action, gives me his reserve. So I arrive at the stage finish line of Hassi Messaud with well 10 hours of delay.

here I learn that the two Peugeot, that mounted the older engines with the pinion and the smaller chain (from 428 instead of 520), they had passed this test, but they had retreated anyway because they had run out of oil for the mixture. In that Paris-Dakar, thirteen 125 entered, no one will be able to finish the race. Soon after I joined Christian Grelaud, Truck guest in the company of many other drivers. He broke the body at the spot where it had been fixed to the frame and he too withdrew. Besides his motor was breaking exactly like my. My bike, By the way, begins to report the same problem to the carter after six hours of march not even pulled. Discouraged, I just have to abandon the race, also because the service trucks don't arrive, and by regulation I couldn't mount the second spare engine anyway. But I decided to go back to Algiers on a motorcycle, because the transfer is all about asphalt.


My Paris-Dakar ends here. The other members of the team also reach Algiers, Where, thanks to Michel's skill, we manage to board a cargo plane in the company of motorcycles and… what's left of it. Meager consolation is then to know that that stage had been too hard for all: overturned or out of action cars and motorcycles destroyed or stuck in the sand, a total of 147 Abandon, And with all 125 Withdrawn. Perhaps the organization had not well assessed the difficulties, but the malignant whispered that it was designed specifically to reduce the number of competitors and therefore the overheads… Anyway, maybe to make up for it, at the last moment the race management had granted a bonus of 10 hours for laggards. Gilera returned to Arcore, I explain the causes of the withdrawals to the technical staff. Gianni Perini listens to me, recording every detail, which will certainly serve as an experience.

Immediately he proposes to me to participate in a marathon that will be held shortly in Spain, Aragon Bay, relay race for two riders to do with an R1 prepared. I accept and choose Christian Grelaud as my companion. Unfortunately Christian will be the victim of a car accident a few days before the race. I will also participate, also to honor his memory, but again without luck. So I'm going to close with the Gilera, not without my merits being recognized as the promoter of a participation that will bring to the Italian House so many sporting satisfactions".


No less interesting also the memory of Michel Duhalde, the mechanic French in charge of the assistance of the gilera in the land of Africa, and who was invited to Arcore for specific preparation. “I know Valade thanks to my BMW that I turned into Paris-Dakar style. He likes the bike and asks me if I'm willing to follow him in the Defi enterprise 125. His enthusiasm immediately infects me, and my involvement skyrockets when I'm chosen to go to Arcore at the Racing Department. Arrival at Linate airport on the evening of 17 December 1987 and I'm taken to Arcore on a Lancia Thema Ferrari 8.32! First contact with Gianni Perini and the mechanics of the Racing and Experiences Department. Especially with Silvano Galbusera I immediately establish a good relationship, also thanks to the fact that he speaks well French. We immediately get to work on the two Peugeots to equip them with the R1 engines. It's not an easy job: the muffland, The silencer and air filter are incompatible with the Peugeot frame.

So Perini decides to use two standard R1, equipping them with components removed at the two Peugeots. In the evening I call Gilles Valade, and I inform him of everything. The carbon shells are if they are sifted in two and only the back of the shells are used, while the Marchcchi fork of the Peugeot is preferred the standard one of the R1. The work proceeds quickly and I learn a lot from these professionals in the Racing Department. At lunch I am invited to the canteen of the Gilera and in the short moment of relaxation, I ask Silvano for some news about the factory and the bikes. I have in mind the cross twin-cylinder used by Rinaldi only for a few races and then discarded because of the regulation that prohibited this engine. They also take me to a warehouse where there are no less than eighty motorcycles of all ages. They are dusty and abandoned: it's a shame that the history of the Gilera is treated like this! But time is running out and work looms.


Every night I go back to the hotel where I sleep little and bad, assailed by all the technical and mechanical problems that continually arise. In Gilera they really do their best, Perini even gave me two all red with the inscription Gilera, so that I can get even more into the environment. We work tirelessly and with great precision. So we can solve all the problems, from the tank, approval tags, air filter, paramotor plates, two water radiators. In the same way we brilliantly overcome the difficulty of installing the electric road book and compass on the handlebars. Then we weld to the wheel pins of the sticks for rapid disassembly, and we even out the hexagon to that of the candle so that with a single key you can also disassemble the wheels, we modify the easel and eliminate the battery, also mounting a spare coil. The saddle is also made on purpose with a very durable special foam, and I propose to mount cables and spare levers in an accessible and ready-to-use position. In addition, the handrails are reinforced by aluminum bars. We remove the starter and the mixer.

What unfortunately we can't solve, and that will prove fatal, it's the question of the pine cone too big, which will eventually break the carter because of the sand. Not even Perini can find someone to make us a smaller pinion. The only result we get is to receive from the Queen a high-quality 0-R chain from 520 (Peugeot mount O-R Sedis 428), like the Cagiva 900 Official. The days pass very fast and my week at Arcore starts at the end. However, my contribution is not marginal, in fact, I'm crucial when it comes to fitting the Bib mousse in the Michelin rear wheels because here no one has ever done it before. After this operation my quotes go up to the point that I wonder if I am not a technician of Michelin… I also ask that the rays be replaced with more robust ones, not without Perini's interest, however, who also chooses new DID rims from the Bike Warehouse from Cross.

The front wheels, on the other hand, retain the original wheels of the R1, and that explains why they're anodized in gold, while the rear is aluminum. The bikes are almost ready, they are developed by a Carburatorist of Dell'Orto and then are entrusted for the first laps to Gilera testers. Finally they are loaded to take them to Milan for the pre-departure. And the 24 December. I've had seven exciting days at the Gilera Racing Department, a very important experience for my life, not only professional. Romulus Ciancamerla, for ten years in Gilera at the Racing Department, adds more details to the story.

Every night I go back to the hotel where I sleep little and bad, assailed by all the technical and mechanical problems that continually arise. In Gilera they really do their best, Perini even gave me two all red with the inscription Gilera, so that I can get even more into the environment. We work tirelessly and with great precision. So we can solve all the problems, from the tank, approval tags, air filter, paramotor plates, two water radiators. In the same way we brilliantly overcome the difficulty of installing the electric road book and compass on the handlebars. Then we weld to the wheel pins of the sticks for rapid disassembly, and we even out the hexagon to that of the candle so that with a single key you can also disassemble the wheels, we modify the easel and eliminate the battery, also mounting a spare coil. The saddle is also made on purpose with a very durable special foam, and I propose to mount cables and spare levers in an accessible and ready-to-use position. In addition, the handrails are reinforced by aluminum bars. We remove the starter and the mixer.

What unfortunately we can't solve, and that will prove fatal, it's the question of the pine cone too big, which will eventually break the carter because of the sand. Not even Perini can find someone to make us a smaller pinion. The only result we get is to receive from the Queen a high-quality 0-R chain from 520 (Peugeot mount O-R Sedis 428), like the Cagiva 900 Official. The days pass very fast and my week at Arcore starts at the end. However, my contribution is not marginal, in fact, I'm crucial when it comes to fitting the Bib mousse in the Michelin rear wheels because here no one has ever done it before. After this operation my quotes go up to the point that I wonder if I am not a technician of Michelin… I also ask that the rays be replaced with more robust ones, not without Perini's interest, however, who also chooses new DID rims from the Bike Warehouse from Cross.


The front wheels, on the other hand, retain the original wheels of the R1, and that explains why they're anodized in gold, while the rear is aluminum. The bikes are almost ready, they are developed by a Carburatorist of Dell'Orto and then are entrusted for the first laps to Gilera testers. Finally they are loaded to take them to Milan for the pre-departure. And the 24 December. I've had seven exciting days at the Gilera Racing Department, a very important experience for my life, not only professional. Romulus Ciancamerla, for ten years in Gilera at the Racing Department, adds more details to the story.

Thank you for the article: Motorcycling, Vintage Motorcycling and Motorcycling Suv.


Gilera RC 600 Dakar 1991

That the Gilera RC 600 It was a good bike Nobody doubted. The victory in the previous edition and eighth place overall (only sophisticated prototypes in front of him), constituted an excellent calling card for the Thumper Arcore. The Gilera and Medardo have gone beyond expectations with a performance very similar to that of the prototypes. With only 560 cubic centimetres, the RC has been successful on many occasions to keep keep strong rhythm imposed by two cylinders and Medardo has also won the stage of 5 January from Tumu Ghat, the “Special” longer than the Paris-Dakar.

Not all was well for Gilera: tears of the rear tank fuel overflow and poorly secured, broken starter post on the bike Mandelli who requested the change of engine (automatic change of category) and an experimental power that made a tantrum when starting engines, Apart from a shock absorber destroyed by Medardo. The Gilera are satisfied also because they feel that the Dakar is a great help for series production.


Ing. Maden
, Technical Manager, is absolutely convinced of the validity of the formula Silhouette of Dakar. The fact that pushed us to compete in the marathon in Africa and particularly in this category, is the specific regulation. Run the entire Dakar without changing engine and chassis is a highly reliable message to the audience. An engine that can withstand more than 10,000 kilometers of continuous torture without problems, is a guarantee for a series.

In category Silhouette engine and chassis are standard while the rest can be changed. To improve cooling we used larger radiators with upper heat exchange 30%. The control unit until halfway through the race was different from that fitted to the RC 600; an ignition that gave very few advantages in terms of power but that was useful to decrease harmful emissions. Sounds strange to mount a similar trigger without essentially cut out some advantages but also this choice is made in anticipation of using the RC standard if ignition resists Dakar means that will fit into any other conditions.


We replaced by half-way onwards once reliability data. Electrical problems have come from an incorrect choice of batteries and an electrical system that during the tests was perfect, While in Africa it was not such a. This particular unit determines the ignition timing according to the speed and diversity of pressure within intake pipes. downstream vacuum carburetor throttle. — Where you changed the bike than the previous Dakar? Last year's race had given us important information: We were in place as engine and chassis, While the handling had to be improved. Since we were unsure in terms of engine reliability, We went to increase performance. We resumed the changes introduced on the RC series propeller 91.

New camshafts more motivated, revised piston design, oversized valves and larger diameter Carburetors (30 mm). We work a lot on intake and exhaust systems rato to extract from the engine to its full potential. Despite the compression ratio was lowered to use low-octane gasoline, We found seven horses more than the previous motion. Now we are about sixty horses to the tree with a consumption that varies greatly according to the conditions of the competition site. They range from a maximum of 6,5 liters on soft sand up to 9 the hard ground. Does not consume little, It's true! A single cylinder must always be squeezed at most to stay close to the performance of two cylinders and then throttle always wide open; extreme conditions also for consumption. In total, the fuel capacity was increased to almost 60 litres, ten less two cylinders.


Not a great advantage. Is a little’ the legend say that mono is easier and lighter of the two cylinders. The weight difference is a maximum of ten pounds in favor of mono and so it's not outstanding. To improve handling and ease of driving we revised weight distribution and placement of fuel tanks. The suspension is new, the Kayaba Japanese, also mounted on the RC-series. The shock is just what standards changed only three internal lamellas to match the increased weight of the bike dakariana, to ease that we used some lightweight material” but nothing special. Kevlar and carbon fabrics for the cowl – Rc17rear tank and to the fairing, titanium for engine and rear suspension hardware platforms. For the hubs machined from “full ".

We also broke, and even this drawback we expected, the forward beam where you fix the engine. Between expected and now we solved, because to increase ground clearance we removed the retaining frame which passes under the engine. In this way the engine actually works as element stressed lifting quoting frame. That is why we have strengthened the bolts of the engine by increasing-the diameter up to 10 mm, attack fins simultaneously beefing up on engine. We broke more rods and crankcase, meat instead happened last year; by contrast has almond wafer with a small crack in the frame. This made us realize that the engine can work as an element of stress and probably will use the same solution even in series, Front chassis beam and properly structuring that is another effective information appearing on the series production.

More tears were those of posterior composite tanks. They were all new parts, ended up at practice the day before leaving the tanks have had mechanical problems. The rear suspension dabbed a little’ Too much, so as to touch the disc brake caliper with the inside of the tanks. In the design phase we predicted a game 20 mm between the clamp and tank at full travel of the rear wheel. In bolder touched caliper infill; with inevitable breakups. This means that both the swingarm is the retaining frame that sustains them yielded, sagged slightly. Modified suspension settings, the problem is gone. Conversely decreased comfort of riders and motorbikes squirted a little’ too much on holes.


You are marked for small cracks on the front aluminum tanks because of the numerous welds, the bodywork is broken is broken only for falls, While we can't explain the reason of the break up tree M., why this particular had been thoroughly analyse it. It was also changed the engine in Sotelo, because he was burned out the clutch lever play for lack of. All material of friction discs has spread in the engine and a piece went to lock the pressure relief valve of the oil system. Result: Cotto bearing on fro di bella. For the rest no other mechanical problem except the cushion Pan hastily fastened on the bike by Medardo. —

Your bike aesthetically was the most reused. among all those who have raced, and maybe even more aerodynamic.
"We treated very aesthetics but also the protectiveness of the pilot. We left date filter box dimensions, and we built around the whole bike. We tried to protect the pilot to give him greater comfort. Less tired, stronger you go and commit fewer mistakes. The bike had to be the smallest possible depending on the size of the pilot. The height of the windshield and the de: plexiglass has had the sole purpose of protecting air pressure the pilot We instead chose the headlights omofocali to lower the whole area of the dashboard and Instrumentation, and ensure greater visibility. Also these headlights made even better brightness and then more security to those who remained at night in the desert. The latter form is due to the tradeoff between greater capacity as possible and require less space for the rider's legs. In codon had set the compass, and a back up battery. The shape of the entire casing is designed without the comfort of a wind tunnel. Now we will try the bike in these conditions; We want to be ready on time.

Can you quantify the cost delta operation Dakar?
Only pure material exceeding one hundred million for motorcycles, but the entire organization has quite different and higher costs. We are considering whether it is possible to build a small number of replicas of the RC Dakar. The figure is expected to be around 60 million and it would still be a political price. The difference in costs will be absorbed by the factory»

You will be also present in the next Dakar? "Definitely Yes. The conditions encountered in the Paris-Dakar is practically unrepeatable, both instrumentally both under normal measurement conditions of motorcycle. With the African race we can verify many parts of production motorcycle» though next Gilera RC doesn't compete more in Silhouette. We will build a prototype with a capacity close to 650 CC though probably the reliability cannot be guaranteed one hundred percent».

Source Motorcycle Racing April 1991


Franco Picco Gilera RC 750

One of the most beautiful Gilera, the RC 750!
Special thanks to Clement Canino for the photos provided.

Anita-gilera 1989

Lalay and Gilera together in 1990?

There was a time when Gilles Lalay, winner of Dakar 1989, and the House of Arcore were very close. In these pictures the French paid a visit to the factory and the Gilera Racing Division, accompanied by d. S. Snow Panda, staunch supporter of African rallies. Come to Italy to provide advice right on the Dakar, Anita during those months was still under contract with HRC.

History unfortunately told a different denouement, as Gilles agreed with Suzuki and ran the Dakar 1990 with DR BIG Thumper.

Medardo_ROSSO -8

Dakariani. O.: interview with Luigino Medardo

Meanwhile, Louis or Luigino: Luigino is my first name.

You started in regularity where you won several six days per team, a European Championship and several Italian titles, then you decided to go to the world of rallying, why this choice?
On the occasion of "six days of San Pellegrino of 86" I was contacted by Daniele Papi, the then manager of Yamaha Belgarda which asked me if I was going to do some rallying.
I said immediately to you, the attraction for Africa I had as a child and being able to see riding a motorcycle which was my great passion was the crowning of a beautiful dream.
I started the adventure committing myself for Tunisia rally, Morocco, Pharaohs and the Dakar, the same races that I faced in 87.

In the ' 90 brought to debut the Gilera getting in two years good positions 8th and 7th overall, running in class silhouette. What was acting not compete in this class?
There were 3 categories, the series, where you couldn't change anything to the bike, the silhouette, where they were to remain the standard chassis and engine, While the rest could be replaced, for example the drains and tanks but not the wheels, Finally the class prototypes where the bike was built in pilot measure and the type of race and in the event you have a maximum of 3 spare engines and could change anything, with the exception of the frame.
I went to Gilera because Yamaha was not the team for me, i.e., When I was called to run, the team already existed and had Franco Picco as reference driver.
He was from the cross and I the regularity, two different driving styles, motorcycles in Japan were tested by him and when they came here to run were not suited to my riding style. So I suffered so much, I was hurt and in the end I decided to leave the Yamaha.
I wanted to prove myself to be able to do something good even in rallying and thus arose a bet. I met with Gianni Perini (Gilera) at the salone in Milan and I told him about my project and fired the spark.
Starting from the base of the bike which already ran in cross country, We started the development and we presented ourselves at the rally of Tunisia. The results were not egregious, but the project had already started and we drove by participating in the Pharaohs and further to Dakar.
The following year, always in Dakar, We obtained 3 stage wins with our bike from 600 CC against the most powerful prototype class. Great results but many personal satisfaction, How to arrive in this moto Gilera and there was practically nothing, start with the mechanics to build it for me, following my directives. Anything I asked, It was answered, even the tanks were shaped by the stylist on the print of my leg!

Then came the prototype, the RC 750 and everyone thought it was the year good to see an Italian bike with an Italian pilot in command of the Dakar. Instead what happened?
The prototype was built in record time and we debuted at the rally of Tunisia with a win.
Meanwhile reached the peak and also team, the Pharaohs I retired to a glitch on my bike. Peak instead, After the retirement of De Petri through injury he won the rally.
All presaged that the direction taken in the development of motorcycle, was the right one. We left for Dakar believe we can do great things, but unfortunately Spike got hurt after a few stages and I had to retire due to a technical problem the clutch, a defect never encountered previously in tests. The following year, all official teams, Cagiva, Gilera, Honda etc.. due to the economic crisis, the resulting drop in sales and interest for this type of motorcycles, decided to withdraw from competition.
Then I had 32 years and I didn't have the tenacity to start again with a new team. I decided to abandon the races. It was a mistake because then came KTM bringing new energy and interest in this type of competition and if I had stayed as did Mahmoud, most likely I might have had some other satisfaction.

Franco Picco's arrival on the team created rivalry? Are leave them both with the same chances or there was a top driver?
No there was no rivalry and both were leaving with the same chances.
My problem with him was just a technical question, already in Yamaha wanted a motorcycle other than that I could use I or grease that was on the team with us, He had a way to fine tune the bikes that were in my opinion too extreme, Motocross bike, with calibrations harsh and difficult to drive. He eventually, When we were about to leave for the race continued to work on settings. Try to sitemare the bike on the field for me was something impossible to play.
Only this was our discord, nothing personal.
Gilera in the deal were clear, the tests and adjustments on my bike I used them exclusively I.

We all know that in the regularity they used to hide behind some bushes in case of failure and replace the damaged parts, with the moto "Shadow".
The Dakar that ever happened something like? Tell an anecdote related to those years. It wasn't so easy in rallying do something, It was not easy to find in the desert bushes to hide. (ride)

During a marathon stage I broke the pipe that carried oil from the mono shock to the tank and the next day I would have had great difficulty to finish the stage and keep top spot. Let's say we made team play! Service parts and trucks were not allowed to download the bike was in Parc Ferme.

That night did I recover healthy cushion and entrusted to a friend journalist that the next morning would come down along the route to do its work.

We agreed and left me at a certain point in the route. The next day at the start of the stage with the other riders there we visit the place indicated and we replaced the mono even as the Organization's helicopter was landing for a control. Sotterrammo quickly the parts damaged in the sand and not finding it there left continue the race.

What has changed since the Paris Dakar then to new Dakar in South America?
I think now the Dakar is a competition a little more human, more feasible.
The first Dakar that I attended was 17.000 Km 18 days with one day of rest, practically 1.000 km per day. If then one day it did 800, does that mean that later were at least 1.200. Using bike very fast the risk was very high and accidents during those years there were so many. Another important aspect is that the first Dakar that I attended was the hand compass and it wasn't that simple to navigate and orient themselves. Although in the stages we left all together in the desert, After a few km there was lost to sight because everyone would choose its own course and after 20/30 km were alone.
Then as we got closer to the finish line we were beginning to see the horizon far splotches that slowly converge toward the same point.
It was just an adventure!

We know you've been in the field, What do you do?
Work for Scott bikes and Scott bike as an agent for the Triveneto.

Would you like to add something?
You have two things in my heart that I would like to say. The first is that the brothers Fernandez, When I got from them at 15 years welcomed me like a child. I slept in the room with one of their sons like one of the family.
This is an important reminder that I will have forever in the heart. The other is a special thanks to Gilera, to the team and to all those who were part of, especially Silvano Galbusera who was my trusted mechanic and crew chief of the team, and who is now with Valentino Rossi moto GP.

Text by: Peter Bartolomei
Photo: Archive Luigino Medardo

Medardo 1991

Medardo and challenge to prototypes to Dakar 1991

The robust racing jacket protectors are comfortable especially after arrival. The back of Luigino Medardo is sorely tested by a storm of friendly Pats, a whirlwind of congratulations that overwhelms him leaving him breathless. Thanks to him the Gilera won again in category silhouette, won a stage win to Tumu and one in marathon Agadez-Gao. But mostly he struggled for almost the entire race with prototypes, custom built motorcycles for Dakar and weight well over 558 cc of his RC 600, change, except in some special.

More than a victory, a triumph. It's not a question of parochialism: the all-Italian match doesn't miss a beat, much success in silhouette isn't even an argument. But this time Liam and his teammate Mandelli have outdone themselves. The seventh place overall in punta, for an hour and a half behind the winner, is more than you could hope for. But he disagrees.

"To tell you the truth we wanted to get into the top five — protest smiling — and I think we could do it, It was within our grasp. However we should March always regularly, without problems. Instead I broke the shock in the final part of the stage Ghadames-hydro, and since it was a marathon I could not change it that next day, on the runway, losing an hour.

In Dirkou, Instead, discharged battery: a stupid inconvenience which cost me half an hour, because the bike would not hear of rekindling after refueling. Are trivialities, that occurred because we didn't have much time to work on the bike. But overall it was better than good».

Of this you can be sure. Very few times the blood type Gianni Perini, team manager, had reason to fret about the delays of his men. A fortune, given the intensity with which it lives the events of his bike, despair and exulting as if he were in the saddle. When Ghat, After just a couple of days, He saw that none of his three men came, he risked heart attacks. Instead they had stopped Assembly to replace the shock broken by Medardo with that left along the bike by a car out of the race.

A cunning out regulation not ready the service truck, Since it had not been possible to remedy the trouble the night being a marathon stage, those in which it is prohibited to assistance at the bivouac. Despite the fear passed, the best memory of Medardo is related just to the marathon.

"They are very difficult, just a nothing to blow this. But for me the best memory of this Dakar is precisely the marathon Agadez-Gao, where I won the overall rankings of the two days. Were two tough stages, very difficult. I have done everything perfectly, and I won. An enormous satisfaction».

One of the many stages now, Since Medardo and Gilera continue to monopolize the category. If they dominate, though, It's not for lack of opponents.

«The Cagiva tried to run a motorcycle in silhouette at the Rally of the Pharaohs, but he declined to repeat the experiment at Dakar. Even the Suzuki tried in our category, and he did it not, as well as Honda Europe with Africa Twin. I think we want a bike, but very competitive to beat the Gilera. There were hardened pilots, Yet we have fought several times with prototypes».

Medardo humble, pretends to forget himself. You need to call it directly concerned to have his opinion.

"The pilot? It's already pretty old, with 31 years and several Paris-Dakar on the shoulders. Not just a young man to beat». The question now arises in opposite direction: is Medardo that will have to go to beat the others, given that next year's Gilera debut amongst the prototypes.

"I think there will be still even in silhouette, but I'll be on the prototype. I know it will be a difficult undertaking, but I'm going to win: otherwise I wouldn't have ambitions. A pilot must always have a clearly defined goal especially in these races so tough. Otherwise you will not find the strength to go on».

If there's one thing that has never been lacking is the determination Medardo, the will to arrive at all costs. He succeeded last year with a sore leg to a distortion, He did it again, with one hand swollen from a fall.
"It was right at the end of the stage of Kiffa, five kilometres from the finish. There was a hole marked on the road book, but there was so much dust. I only found when I got upstairs and fell». A venial sin; the only rider who Besides going strong is wrong no. A pilot for the Gilera is worth gold. And to think that when Perini approached him, offering him the spot on the team, Medardo was pondering thoughts of retirement…

Source motosprint