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Dakar 1996 | Winkler's Call to Dakar

Were 4 years that I no longer did the Dakar, i missed it, i finally get better organized and fix the work commitments. In 1991 Nikon decided to assign the distribution to our group, and you had to make a new company the nital in the footsteps of the swa, have been years of fire where obviously you couldn't do anything but put all the effort into this project. But I was missing something. I missed the adrenaline of dakar adventure. After 4 years practically just work i deserved it, and so I decide: i'm going to do it.

I get in touch with Bruno Birbes and Pollini of the Assomoto team with whom I had attended last time. In addition to feelings of strong friendship for them, with Bruno we met at Dakar 1988, he was racing in a BMW and we were pretty much together for half the race, dividing anxieties and happiness, thing that bound us deeply even after the race. Their team was perfect: assistance, a logistics, and Struggling, Bruno's father-in-law, great mechanic who immediately put himself into operation setting up for me a kawasaki 650. The choice of the bike was easily dictated by the fact that Bruno was a Kawasaki dealer.

Free from organizational and motorcycle preparation commitments, I dedicate to physical and motorcycle training, making a great preparation. In December I was in splendid shape!

I don't even try the bike, but I have to say it was beautiful: simple, small and handy.

I take the plane to Granada where everyone is waiting for me and where the technical and administrative checks must be carried out. Small engraved: the taxi that from the airport took me to the hotel hole a tire, in a torrential rain and as a true gentleman I offer to help the female driver. Wet start, lucky start. In the morning we start for two tests, the first is immediately cancelled due to bad weather. The torrential rain of the night before did not seem to fall even for a moment. Not even time to get acquainted with the new bike that has become a block of mud.


aldo winkler 1996-7


After a transfer we arrive at the port for boarding. Everything is going well, there are bunks and you sleep. Non-secondary factor, since in the past you slept on the ground and there were no bunks for the ship crossing from Sete to Algiers. What a convenience! First bedtime I take the Ariam, the medicine for malaria. This time I decide for this drug because you take it once a week, and not every day. Clearly the dosage is higher and I get a terrible headache and scary nausea. When he wakes up he seems to have passed under a truck. It will be the last time I take an antimalarial.

Finally in Africa, it is always an emotion to land on this continent full of charm and adventure.

Let's go for the special, and it is important to become familiar with the bike in the first stages. It's a very technical special in the mountains, i'm not fit and i get so tired, I certainly still wear the effect of antimalaria mixed with tension. I don't start too well because both trips fail, i find out it's the magnet attachment on the wheel. Not so bad so much there was no navigation. Half special I'm without rear brake. Probably not yet used to the bike, I kept my foot too resting on the pedal and saw the repetition of many curves the oil came into boiling.

This is my first experience with GPS. Apart from the need to understand it well, by security, tells you the right direction and it's very reassuring. Without the anxiety that assaults you when you're not sure about the right breakup, (before they told you the tracks of the other pilots). But I immediately regret, following the tracks obviously straight for the waypoint, everyone follows the direct route, but i'm in the middle of a climb worthy of a world trial. I always wondered where those tracks were going.


aldo winkler 1996-17


GPS gives you the direction, but using it on the street and one thing, using it in the desert takes you in directions that lead you to encounter extreme difficulties. There are still tracks marked by other motorcycles, but this time I decide to go back and follow the roadbook literally. Beautiful old navigation methods are a safety, following the directions I find a beautiful and easy track. Unfortunately in the evening checking the ranking I realize that I am way behind and with many drivers in front of me very slow pleasure. Mannaggia to me that I followed the road book. Learning to use this infernal GPS many drivers had navigation facilities by overshooting me in the rankings. I'm starting to curse these new devilry a little bit..

The next day I leave for the stage. I feel good, shooting a lot and everything goes well, i'm going to remount many positions.

At some point the track has a bottleneck, tightens, slows down slightly, i reach another driver but there's a lot of dust and there's no way to get over it. I've been after him for a long time., but I get spaced and risk it all for everything, i want to pass it at all costs, but some dust i'll take a big peterne. At times I coat but I stand by miracle, i get ants on my feet for fright. I stop to check the damage, i see that the front rim is all branded and crooked. I give a pull to the rays and with the tail between the legs I finish the special flat plane. I arrive at the bivouac and only here remind me that the stage was "marathon" that is without assistance. I can't replace the rim and I'm forced to leave the next day in the same condition I arrived in.

You enter Mauritania, i knew those leads, I had already traveled them in previous editions, but due to the unrest in the area because of the belisarius front you run in a kind of corridor transened by balize, where the organization has strongly recommended not to go out so as not to run the risk of entering a minefield.

At the edge of the track are many UN pickup trucks.

The stage is very long and demanding with many difficult dunes, the sun starts to fall. I've done several stops at night in the past and I'm terrified of it., shot as much as I can, at some point the GPS loses the signal, I follow the tracks as long as I can and then I just follow the same direction. What anxiety. I continuously curse GPS, that finally picks up the signal and signals me that they're alone 3 km to go.



The next morning I have a hard stage ahead of me. You have to cross an erg of dunes very long, i get insabbio several times and I consume a lot of gasoline. I do two calculations, and the results tell me I'll never get to the end. I go slowly not to consume and luckily the track becomes smoother and I arrive with a drop only of gasoline in the tank. The race is starting to get really tough. I'm leaving for a very difficult stage, practically a huge floor of big stones that put me to the test. I get very tired, you can never proceed sitting down to rest your legs. I proceed standing on the bike, i'm so tired that sometimes i sit going to step duomo, arrival in the dark.


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The next day the stage planned to travel the track in the opposite direction of the previous day. The traces are still evident and without any problem of navigation shooting like crazy, i reach several pilots. Everything was fabulous, i was really put well in the rankings, a single minor drawback comes from gps marking the route slightly to the left. Taken by the wetting and comforted by the fact that several other pilots were proceeding in that direction, you go on. What a beginner's mistake. We notice after several kilometers that by not following the GPS we had moved away from the track. So let's go back to Zouerat. There are seven of us, let's take stock, the track forked to V, and we followed in the footsteps of the previous day. One decides to cut straight, follow him in four, me and another we decide to go back, I don't trust GPS. No more. Let's go back to the famous crossroads, we realize that with the more miles made we would never get to the refueling of gasoline.



But the machines arrive, and mannaggia to them if only one stopped. Finally two Japanese stop, we ask him about gasoline, but it's really hard to get it out of the tank and we waste a lot of time. I'm on the right track, how long did I waste, i'll start pulling as much as I can, knowing that every mile made more with light are hours less given in the dark. Traveling at night is really a bad thing you don't see anything, the track is ruined by the passage of the whole rally and it's very easy to fall. In addition, the dunes, already difficult by day, at night they don't forgive you and you got so many times not having the reference of the end of the dune. I am deeply angry with myself for such a stupid mistake.

I do several kilometers with Alberto Morelli maybe and there we know each other better by laying the foundations for a deep friendship and we will run together many future rallies. Of course the night comes, as a result I fall several times, luckily there are few dunes but lots of camel grass,(are mountains of hard sand with tufts of grass on them the you have to zigzag, me if you take one the flight is inevitable). I get to one and of course as a good law murphy finds out it's a marathon stage. I clean the filter and check the oil, i was dry, i'll borrow it and collapse in morpheus's arms.

For the record, the 5 motorcyclists who cut straight didn't arrive and retired all.

In the morning we start again, the bike starts in a cloud of smoke. The night before in the dark I had put too much oil, I'm going to take some off and leave. The path is really hard, soft sand alternating with large stony. You make the Pass of Nega (a hellish place, i'd already done it backwards uphill, a hellish slope and remained famous because the cars almost stopped all so steep). But downhill the music has changed.


aldo winkler 1996-16


In 30 km from the stage arrival i'll take a pretty strong hole, nothing special but i hear a metallic noise. Slow down to see what happened: no brake. I stop and look better, I see the oil pipe cut out of the net and the swingarm on the right has detached sharply from the attachment turning backwards.

Floor of departure and arrival.

Charles Edson my friend and companion of many adventures welcomes me on arrival, i was desperate for my swingarm. We decide to go to the neighboring country to see if by chance there was a mechanic. Let's find a "saldor" as they call them around there. This immediately takes the torch, The Block! It's aluminum, you can't weld it like that! Bruno tries to get in his way, sees a chair and realizes that the legs are perfect to solve the problem, fit perfectly inside the swingarm, having rectangular shape and we stick them in and then we go back to the bivouac. All night we wait for the service trucks, it absolutely takes the a tig welding machine for aluminum.

Here comes the truck Honda France, they have the tig but the proverbial transalpine sympathy never denies, despite our insistence they do not lend us the welding machine. At three in the morning the Yamaha arrives and they are kind and promise me that they will help us. But I was very tired and I'm going to sleep, Bruno reassures me he will take care of the repair. Actually in the morning I find the swingarm welded and with an aluminum handkerchief closing the broken part.

Greeting Bruno, that was airborne, childbirth and at a pace of confidence i arrive in kaies.

This was also a Marathon stage so motorcycles take you to the closed park and it is forbidden to touch them. As I go to get my passport stamped because we entered Mali, i see pass a truck and i see that on has a green bike. I look at it better and it's a KLR like mine! I get the idea of changing the swingarm, I disassemble it all happy knowing that maybe so I could finish the race, and I'm getting ready for replacement, but i get caught right away. Commissioners misdeed me, I decide to eat a little in the dark and wait for them to walk away to try again later.


aldo winkler 1996-19


I am not a good mechanic but with patience and logic you do everything, it just takes me a long time to get things done. Also because in the dark and very difficult and you don't see anything, but of course I couldn't turn on the pile otherwise the commissioners would have found me. I can mount it, I was very tired but I can't mount the brake caliper and I realize it was different and there were different attacks. Back to the retired bike and I also take the pliers, all by taking a very long ride so i don't show up. I can mount it just to mount the wheel, it's up to the perno and I find that he too was different from my. I notice that my bike was from the previous year, while that retreat was from the last year and who knows why Kawasaki had changed so many particulars. I was very tired and I probably had a nervous breakdown., i started crying like a baby.



i'm discovered by the commissioner and probably seeing me in those conditions he felt sorry for me, and getting hold of it helped me finish the job that I wouldn't be able to finish anymore. The first light of dawn begins to be seen. As soon as I finished I hugged him and kissed him to show him my gratitude. A quick breakfast and we start again, tired but happy to be on my perfect bike as new.
(Nb: in Dakar I then reconstituted the piece with my broken, I discovered that the retired bike was of an Italian and now the Kawasaki is in my garage among the bikes I care about the most and inside the swingarm there are always the legs of the chair.

I had already made this special and I remembered it as a very long and very difficult stage. The landscape has changed and we run through a forest, after so much sand it's nice to see some greenery. You see animals, many monkeys. You also have to wade through a very deep stream, Auriol helps me and pushes the bike that had turned off. Along the riverbank there was a hecatomb of motorcycles, all with problems, weasted filters, water-filled mings. For once I'm lucky on my side, the kawa starts again almost immediately, after drying the filter.



You cross many villages, people you see at the edges, they all smile, express joy at seeing you. What a contrast to the big city, here we are practically armored in the field. The next day I leave for a mountain stage, the accumulated tiredness was so much, but you start to smell a certain scent of arrival. Arrive at a fesh fesh point (borotalco sand that you don't see the soil). Fall. The track was narrow, a car comes along, was definitely at the top of the leaderboard (but in the hustle and bustle I can identify her). He stops and starts playing like a lunatic, for me to free the passage. I try to do it as fast as I can, but I was really tired, very tired. Up the bike, that doesn't start, and out of care I push it to the side.

The Driver of the Car, spaced pushes me and throws me to the ground at the side of the road. His luck was that he managed to pass quickly. I was so angry That I told him so many of those swear words and curses that I was ashamed. In the fall broke the lighthouse and the water tank of the recovery radiator. Struggling to get back on track at a very steep spot. That pilot was lucky, because if I recognized him at the bivouac I don't know what I would have done.


aldo winkler 1996-33


On the last day there are two specials to go through and a lot of tension. The goal is to get there. The bike is at a state of exhausting, can't take it anymore. The last stage which leads to pink Lake there is a sand chestnut, and hearing the agonizing motor scream my heart. Anxiety rises. I have in mind poor Angel Cavandoli who broke his bike at 3 km to go.



The arrival is a liberation! Arrived! It was becoming an obsession, Compete 20 days with this unique purpose fills with joy but at the same time there is also an inner emptiness. For me, the Dakar post is a situation to metabolize. You have to recover a deadly fatigue that remains for some time, but I also get a little bit of existential crisis. The Dakar da. The Dakar takes away. All the time.


aldo winkler 1996-4


This Dakar 1996 it's a prize, gave me so much and took so much, without Team Assomoto and Bruno Birbes I would never have made it. I also met a wonderful person, thank you Alberto.

Source photos and texts: Aldo Winkler's facebook page

1994_1 Kawasaki

Dakar 1994 | Il KLX-R di Alvaro Best and Xavi Riba

In 1994 Dakar changed ownership and the event became the property of the ASO Group, which by the way had and continues to have sporting events such as dakar itself or the Tour de France.
The course was an experiment that hasn't worked since the race left Paris to reach Dakar and then return to Paris. That is, a Paris-Dakar-Paris with 13.379 kilometers of route to which they have signed up 96 Motorcycles.




Among them the Kawasaki of the unforgettable Alvaro Bultó, sympathetic and sporty uncle who made his debut at dakar after going through various modes and fire retardant Xavi Riba. Riba had a lot of experience in the test as he had participated six times before making his Kawasaki debut.

Son of Bultaco FX founder Bultó and originally a motocross rider, Alvaro was the best debutant at theIMG_7156-e1548414682787-225x300 Dakar of that distant 1994. The charming Bultó who became famous among other stories for his tve shows, was a regular in asphalt rallies, a specialty that disappeared and where he came second in Spain with his brother Ignacio.

He also distinguished himself as a supermotard sprinter and driver, before abandoning the motorcycle competition after the Dakar (he got back in the car) and focus on other challenges like flying or freefall. In 2005 with his wingsuit begins to fly high: crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in free fall and an average horizontal speed … 208 Km h!

Unfortunately, he suffered an accident that cost him his life in August 2013. 1994 Alvaro Bultó and Xavi Riba went to dakar with their Kawasaki, the brand was imported by Derbi Nacional Motor, that gave them two KLX 650-R that were fully prepared for the great African adventure. The Kawasaki KLX 650 in version R produced 48 Hp of power to 6.500 and was equipped with a single cylinder with double camshaft and liquid cooling.

The frame was a double perimeter beam in molybdenum chromium inherited from the motocross version to which they had to Kawasaki_1994_2some changes have been made because the engine of the Klx it was higher. The suspensions were prepared by Felipe Higuera, who was one of the best specialists in our country and, keeping the Kayaba fork as standard, springs and oil have been modified while preserving the 300 mm. Trip.

Behind was mounted an Ohlins shock absorber (280 mm). The most laborious section was the assembly of the additional fuel tanks. Two were placed at the front, trying to place the weight as close as possible to the center of gravity to get handling. Two side tanks were also placed in the rear. It featured an impressive kevlar paramotor plate and there was no lack of escape from the unforgettable Tavi.

The race was an odyssey for both drivers, especially for Alvaro Bultó, who showed great pride and IMG_7154spirit of sacrifice at the finish line despite suffering a painful hand injury, result of a jet ski accident.

They're both done. RIBA 10 ° and Bultó 11 ° after doing the whole race together and showing how other drivers in the history of dakar, that with a practically standard Kawasaki, the dream of finishing the toughest race in the world could be fulfilled.

Italian Maletti repeated his experience in this case on a KLX in the 1998 finishing 24th in the Paris-Granada-Dakar edition. An edition in which the driver "Xicu" Ferrer did not finish the race as he had to abandon his Kawasaki in the Smara-Zouerat stage.


And in recent times with the Dakar in South America other drivers have fulfilled their dream at the controls of a Kawasaki, among which the Chilean Patricio Carrera stands out.

text: Alex Medina


Advertising Kawasaki 1994

Walter Surini #30

Walter Surini to the finish in Cape Town in 1992

Twice at the start and twice at the finish, back in ' 91 in Dakar, 36th, in Cape Town, 20th. Walter Surini has again shown to have the ability and temperament to deal with grueling African Marathon. Defending the colors of Kawasaki LP Italy paid off the great trust accorded him by bringing the 500 Kle twin-cylinder four-stroke from one end to the other of the dark continent by tapping the success in the category 500 (It has long been leading the provisional merit list) and hitting the 500 International, reserved for drivers with good results in international rally.

The pilot of Mangalore completed his second adventure in Dakar finishing twentieth absolute on Kawasaki – the jump of a stamp for a well known errata for road-book cost him a penalty of 12 hours.

Great satisfaction upon arrival. Maletti is winner of the cat. up to 500 CC.

Great satisfaction of Surini with teammate Maletti upon arrival.

– And’ been more exciting to reach Dakar last year or Cape Town this year?
“They were both beautiful sensations. It was the first time in Dakar, It was the end of an adventure waiting to be discovered, in Cape Town I was impressed by the welcome we have bestowed, the enthusiasm of the spectators. If I really have to choose was nicer arrival ' 92 because the race was more difficult, more tiring and stressful. That's not true, as has been said and written, in the second part the race was a walk. Yes, There are more twists at the top of the rankings but we crossed treacherous paths and very hard, It was not a vacation, I can assure you. Who said the opposite or withdrew halfway through or made transfers by plane.”

– It was nevertheless disappointing one cannot deny. If it were part of the organization that changes would?
“I would still bet on complete crossing of Africa but I would carry out the race in contrast, from South to North, from Cape Town to Tripoli. Think, in early stages with short postings just to create the right climate and then, in the desert, the great final selection. Of course there would be disadvantages in this case, for example the transportation in South Africa would affect the timing of, but from a competitive point of view you would come up with a competition more interesting and uncertain until the very last.”

Surini. Dakar

Walter Surini on Kawasaki KLE 500 IP Team Italy

– From 36th in the twentieth was a big step forward. Merits of more experience or even what else?
“First could be even much better, without the jump of timbre in the final and the subsequent heavy penalty I could earn up to five positions. Some experience has played a significant role but crucial was the reliability of my Kawasaki, a bike sometimes inadequately powerful, with a non-specific trim but very reliable. Than twelve months before I have troubled a lot less, did not have serious breakage even if for a few days I ran without the fifth gear, I could get to the bivouacs within a reasonable time and then come back much more rested and polished at the start of the next fraction. And all this despite our Organization has had to do without very soon helping truck forcing us to limit replacement of worn parts and often begging some tarpaulin or other spare parts.”

– But exactly what happened that day who missed the passage control?
“That was a deadly stage, really very challenging, and the incident happened to me has happened to several other drivers. Sure I arrived a few minutes late to the morning briefing but what led me to the error was a false note of the road-book. It made me take a runway parallel to the one, in the middle of the vegetation, and I couldn't help noticing the stamp, that maybe was very close to where they transited. I was penalized with twelve hours, the inconvenient cost me really expensive.

– Its levels are unable to equalize the costs or even participate in this race involves economic sacrifices?
“I tied the score but objectively after such a grind, having spent a month between dust and sweat, their ground thousands of kilometres I don't seem to mean a heresy when I say that something in your Pocket should also remain. Besides us pilots were so, the passion too often makes us do irrational things.”

– Now in his future what's?
“At the end of February account to achieve the commercial helicopter pilot while pilot patent expect Kawasaki defines its upcoming programs. Certainly account to participate in some important rally.”
by Danilo Sechi


Team Kawasaki IP at Dakar 1992

It was the first time that the Kawasaki 500 KLE , submitted at the end of ' 90 at the Cologne motor show, It was deployed at the start of the most important African rally. Then there were the unknowns, but the Kawasaki-Italy had worked with care trying to best prepare the challenging Marathon, Although the decision to compete in the marathon category had imposed to remain as close as possible to the production model. The two KLE of Surini and Maletti had preserved their standard engine, a four-stroke parallel twin 499 cm3, with double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, few basic features 74 x 58 mm and 6 Marce.

On the frame instead it had been possible to work, because despite the constraint of standard chassis, double cradle steel, the regulation allowed them to intervene on the suspension, provided you keep the original rear linkages and sheaths and stems of this fork series. Totally new body parts instead, with a large front tank and two small rear, total capacity 54 litres of petrol. Motorcycle Kawasaki team management-IP that had as main sponsor the Italiana Petroli, It was entrusted to the TEAM Assomoto: the team of Bruno Birbes was one of the most organized nationally, and had a percentage of pilots brought in to the finish in Dakar 79%.

As means of assistance had been entrusted to a truck Liaz 154-111 and a car Range Rover 3900. Curious detail, the car was driven by Davide Pollini support fast, President and Chief financial and logistical Assomoto team, He had behind a couple of Dakar motorbike, and a drive in 1991.


29 GUIDO MALETTI It was one of the first Italians to devote himself to the great African rally, and in 87 was able to obtain a very good 11th place in the Paris-Dakar Reggiano, 33 years, has extensive experience in national enduro; It was factory rider Kawasaki-France in Dakar ' 90 while in the subsequent Edition no longer races. Back in the race with Kawasaki, focuses on the regularity and the ability to be wrong shortly, What are its best qualities.

30 WALTER SURINI Clenched teeth and so much effort to accomplish last year his first Dakar. But he made it, and this time he criticized as an official driver of Kawasaki-Italy. Her experience, however, was not limited to the classic African rally: among its most prestigious results a victory Rally in the Incas ' 88, When managed from private to beat several officers, and good results again in Peru and in Sardinia, In addition to the success in the Rally of the Dominican Republic of the ' 91. Bergamasco 31, helicopter pilot, She had won several national championships of enduro, endurance and junior.

Ed: both drivers behave admirably, ending both the competition, demonstrating the seriousness of the Team and the goodness of the motorcycle driven. Maletti and 19° 20° Surini concluded respectively and in the absolute (4° and 5° in category Marathon won by Massimo Montebelli).

source: motosprint


Maletti 1998

Guido Maletti Dakar 1998

Guido Maletti in Dakar has made 11, finendone 7, and for a few years running with a Kawasaki KLX 650 strictly standard in the category Production. Probably would come in the top ten if, on the second day, He hadn't taken a lump sum penalty of nine hours to the time lost because of the disruption of the ignition. You have not given up and step by step went up until the twenty-fourth position.

"It was very hard, but for me it's still a great satisfaction that he arrived in Dakar, especially considering how it started. A race that continues to fascinate and amuse, I am a big fan of Africa, mechanical motion and to. That's why every year I'm here and, If I shall, I will be back again next».

Maletti 1998-1

Source & photo Motosprint


Guido Maletti Dakar 1998

Guido Maletti 24° to Paris Granada Dakar 1998

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My Dakar 1996 by Aldo Winkler

“On the last day, two special, so much tension, the goal is to get. The bike poor thing doesn't make it more.

The last stage which leads to pink Lake there is a sand chestnut, and hear you screaming in agony of my Kawasaki engine sucks and anxiety, I will always remember the poor Cavandoli that broke the bike 3 km to go.

The arrival is a liberation. Arrived! It was now an obsession, do 20 days with this sole purpose filled with joy, but at the same time feels a void interiore is lacking something.
The feelings after arrival in Dakar are contrasting: You must retrieve a weariness that stays for a while and I get a little existential crisis.
Thanks to Team Assomoto, Bruno Birbes, and thank you because in this Dakar I met a wonderful person, Alberto.”

Gargate 1987

My Dakar 1987 by Baloyi Grassotti

The Team G. R. Yashica to Paris Dakar 1987 host two pilots, Aldo Winkler and beat Grassotti which will race starts with a’ Honda XL 600 and a Kawasaki KLR 650, both completely standard.

The 31 December the race from Paris. The 4, 5 and 6 January after moving to Africa, you do the first three specials: Ghardaia-El Golea, El Gholea – In Salah, In Salah Tamanrasset. Gargate, with the KLR 650 always hovers around 36° – 37° postor. During the Tamanrasset – Arlit, in Explorer's adventure in the desert happens Gargate, taking the wrong road on the border with Niger.

Gargate 1987

“I realised I was on a wrong path – tells the biker – I tried to go back and find the right references. So I wandered up to finish the fuel. Descended the darkness, with the cold that was beginning to take its toll, I could only hope for a miracle to be found before the next day. Suddenly came out of two lighthouses.

Were those of a car driven by two Tuareg who view my situation, They told me to wait. Are broken down, and with them my hopes. However soon after they came back with gasoline from a vehicle abandoned by another competitor withdrew. The tank is full, directed me to a star and they told me to follow her always. So I did and I arrived at Arlit just in time to see share the other competitors.”-

Ends so the 7 January 1988, for arrival after the maximum time,