Cyril Despres, the career of a Dakarian myth

With his fifth win at the Dakar Cyril Despres ranks among the first rallyers of all time and in fact as one of the greatest drivers ever. Some say it is the natural successor of Stéphane Peterhansel and his exploits are useful for the extraordinary athlete and man who lies under that helmet often covered by sand or mud. A professional of the highest level and unique sample that in recent years in thirteen participations in the Dakar has conquered 5 WINS, 5 second place finishes and two thirds.
Nevertheless Despres Dakar but a rider who has not only embarked in almost every rally, often won, But even extreme enduro events (victorious in two editions of the Erzbergrodeo).

Cyril was born on 24 January 1974 in Fontainbleau, the nfanza is serene without any fans of two wheels able to transmit to him "the disease of the piece" until his parents move to Nemours and become friends with Couturier Pascal, trial sample. In 13 When his peers to receive the traditional communion crosses, chains and bracelets so dear to the Catholic tradition, He can receive envelopes with money totalling about 4000 Franks (600 Euro) that immediately will mutate in a Fantic Moto Trial 80, that bike that is now exposed in the living room of the House where he lives with his family.

With Pascal begins with the most demanding disciplines facing an Enduro from the physical point of view, requiring prcisione, Constance, skill, patience and strength.
His passion led him to work as a mechanic in a garage in Paris and the evening finished working hours preparing the bike that uses in its first enduro races. The debut came in 1998 in a national competition in Plomin and immediately WINS! A victory that galvanizes and immediately takes him to dream of the race that will give lots of emotions, the Dakar.

In 2000 with the support of his friend Michel Gau the Dakar project becomes concrete in the mind and in the will, the problem are the sponsors and budget. Sometimes more than the money need some ideas so with Michel after studying merchandising actions typical of Dakar decides to buy bottles of Bordeaux, Saint Chinian and Chablis and label them with the route of the Dakar. "We needed to 80 000 francs each. Thanks to year-end holidays, and especially considering it was the new year of the new Millennium, by selling the bottles to friends and businesses we were able to raise the funds to leave.. “


Unable to sign up and leave for the first Dakar in his life with a Honda 400 XR : "I had the first glimpse of the thrill of the open spaces in the desert. It was a revelation". A revelation accompanied by an incredible result, 16th overall and 2nd in its class.
Love for Africa is now shot, continue with what was left of the wine and with the support of some sponsors joined the Rally of Tunisia and scores first podium finishing in third place. Official teams notice him and in 2001 the call comes from BMW, It is now a factory rider.

In 2001 ends 12th of Dakar, scoring his first stage victory. The same year is second to the Gilles Lalay Classic and wins dubai's UAE Desert Challange. The following year repeating the success in Dubai, wins the Rally de La Pampas and the Erzberg in which private Honda puts lined up all the squadron KTM. This feat led him to make a deal with the House that will give all the most important achievements, the KTM.

2001-1 Despres

In 2003 the Dakar special won three and finished second, WINS again in Dubai and at the Erzberg, and with a second place finish in the Rally of Tunisia and won the Rally of Morocco won the World Rally Championship.


In 2004
Despite the four stage wins concludes the Dakar in third place, He won again the Optic 2000 (Rally of Tunisia), and the Red Bull Romaniacs in Romania, is third in the Rally of Morocco and according to Baja in Spain in Aragón.


In 2005 first victory of the Dakar "That day will remain etched in my memory forever. Win the world's toughest race, and podium surrounded by crowds Senegal -. Wow, that a great feeling".


The victory and the following months are a mix of emotions and moods because in a few months he lost teammates, friends and teachers who had taught him so much: Richard Sainct a few months before and Fabrizio Meoni died in the eleventh stage of that Dakar that had seen him triumph. Fabrizio was that after the death of Sainct died in the previous rally turned to Cheryl telling him that the best way to pay tribute to teammate was bringing a KTM to cross before the finish in Dakar.

With similar events that would upset anyone manages to surpass those days and 2006 ends according to Dakar with four stage wins and going to the podium in other Rally. In 2007 back to her the Dakar, starting the relay which will last until 2013 She wanted him and Coma alternating victories. In that same year wins Red Bull Romaniacs and conquer several second places in Baja races and rally.

depres 2006-3

Geopolitical problems on African soil prompt the unseeding of the edition of the 2008 and in this year he will win theUAE Rally Desert Challenge di Dubai and the Rally of Sardinia, In addition to the usual second places that alternates from year to year with victories.
With a new location at Dakar, South American land takes a second place behind than usual Marc Coma, wins the Rally of Morocco, of Tunisia and the Red Bull Los Andes, will be as per the UAE Desert Challange and third in the Rally of Morocco and the Red Bull Romaniacs. Will win this year, his second World Rally Championship.

He is preparing as world champion for yet another adventurer on South American soil but a few months before the start KTM decides to withdraw the official team from the edition 2010 following the decision of the organizers to restrict participation to a maximum displacement of 450 CC. "with Red Bull and KTM help we still formed our team". It was an incredible ride, he dominated the race from third day till the end, conquering with absolute supremacy his third Dakar.In the same year he won the Rally of Morocco and the Kenny Enduro, one extreme Enduro race, proving once again his ability to deal with extreme situations.

In 2011 is according to the Dakar, at Red Bull Los Andes and at the Rally of Sardinia, winning the Rally Dos Sertoes. We arrive to the years of double success already: 2012 (where he also won the Rally of Morocco and Desafio Litoral Argentina).
In 39 years on the eve of the Dakar 2013, despres just a win at the dakar to reach that myth that is pethersanel and it's sunny 4 stage wins for eguaglliarne the primacy (33 Petheransel and 29 He).
Ed: Despres will win the edition 2013 and came 4th in the edition 2014, his last motorcycle competition.

A pilot in his class, in his navigation skills and determination in facing extreme challenges is an example of how there are people who have a gift and are able to maximize it. His, to ride the bike in extreme conditions, He assisted and fed with a professionalism its only of the greatest athletes and sportsmen ever.

A man who still hasn't forgotten the passion of African origins and the magic of the Earth. That land in which today often travels to continue that activity conceived and built by his late teammate Mahroof.
Also why Despres is in fact one of the greatest of all time.


DAKAR 2003 | KTM 950 LC8 Factory

I will always bring with me the memory of the day I came across one of the most incredible off-road motorcycles that the motorsport landscape could offer. Was the 3 September 2020 and from there on we would present to the public our book Obiettivo Dakar. Gio Hall would have been our guest of honor and already this was enough to make that day unforgettable. When, with an unparalleled tough face, I asked Gio if by chance it was possible to have his bike on display, his response was immediate and disarming: "if you want to go to Bergamo at Nicoli's and you get it, for me there are no problems, I notice them." And so we did. On the afternoon of the 3 September, this blue beast proudly got out of the van and was settled into its natural environment: on the sand, though not of the desert, but of the shoreline of Marina di Ravenna.

This KTM is an incredible bike: Powerful, high from the ground, Heavy. Imagine a motion of 200 dry kg for over 100 power cv. He demands respect and almost instils fear even just to move it from firm. I dare not imagine what it means to push such a purebred horse to the limit. The project of this bike was born in 2000 and the development of the prototype that you see in action worked hard (Translated: they came to walk even 2.000 km per day!) Fabrizio and Giovanni, followed in every step by the mechanic Bruno Ferrari. The first tests begin in February of 2001 in Tunisia and the definition of the race bike is entrusted to Fabrizio Meoni, always in collaboration with Giovanni Sala. Case more unique than rare, from the indications of the pilots comes the prototype that runs, but not only. Even the road bike, the 950 Adventure, New10, she is the daughter of racing motorcycles and takes advantage of all the directives given by the champions to Austrian engineers.

The 950 Rally in early versions came to develop over 115 horses, but it was preferred to contain its exuberance, to preserve the tires and mousses that did not hold such power over long distances. By regulation the minimum dry weight imposed was of 200 kg, to which should be added the 55 litres of petrol (in addition to mandatory water and various spare parts). So you can imagine how hard it was to drive the LC8 into the desert for hundreds of kilometers every day. Yet both Meoni and Sala with her won numerous stages and Fabrizio led her to success in the Dakar of the 2002.

The top speed was and is stunning: Gio's GPS recorded in the 2003 a tip of 208 km/h in the middle of the desert.

The LC8 engine is a 75° V-twin 942 CC, two-tree with 4 valves for cylinder and carburetor supply. Change to 6 hydraulically controlled clutch gears. The frame is a tingle in steel tubes, while the swingarm is made of aluminium.

Bike: KTM LC8 950 Rally Factory 2003
Engine: 2 75° V-cylinders, 108 horses, 942 CC, 8 Valves, liquid cooling, carburetor power supply
Weight: 200 kg dry weight
Tanks: 55 liters
Saddle height: > 100 cm
Maximum speed: 208 km/h


DAKAR 1996 – KTM: a squadron in the wake of the winner

Four bikes in the top five positions; first place in the Marathon standings, in veterans and in women's. There is no shadow of a doubt, Dakar for the KTM it was a great test and missed (even if it's not cheap)
only victory.

The favourite was Heinz Kinigadner, but after his exit from the scene Jordi Arcarons held high the colors of the Austrian House and KTM1996meoni performed very well with him, Sainct, Jimink and Sotelo. Two types of bikes deployed at the start; one equipped with a powertrain 653 CC, entrusted to Arcarons, Sotelo and Kinigadner, the other of 609 cc for sale to everyone for the price of lilor 21 millions including support.

The philosophy of the Austrian brand, then, was also to allow at very low cost to participate in the Dakar to anyone who wanted to. And the proof that it's the medium “Official” both the one on sale were competitive as evidenced by the final ranking that saw seven “Kappa” in the top ten places. The engine is practically that of the “Duke, No.”; liquid-cooled monocylinder with balance-shaft (both in the version “Increased” both in the standard one).

The gearbox is five-speed; the oil bath clutch. As for the cycling part, The vehicles adopt White Power front and rear suspension. The rear shock has a 300 mm. The chassis is standard with reinforced rear bars to support the gasoline tank.

kini 96


Approximately the monocynderic develops a power of about 65 cv with a maximum speed of 175 km/h. The bike was more comfortable in the second part of the track and especially in Guinea, where treacherous and fast tracks, have enhanced the characteristics of this bike, by 148 kg. The cause of Kinigadner's forced stop, seems to have been similar to Peterhansel's, with a refueling “Dirty”.

Rome 2004

King among Kings – Nani Roma

The long March of Nani Roma towards the final victory in the African race harder, a life to Dakar.
by Guido Conter

It's past midnight somewhere now. The whole world wakes up at lunchtime after having drank and danced to celebrate the start of the 1996. Juan Roma Cararach wakes up in the head to Dakar. Behind him all the Giants: Peterhansel, Orioli, The strip contains, Kinigardner. That afternoon of new year's day while he builds the tent, at Oudja in Morocco, the light in his eyes is really special.

"It was my first Dakar, everything looked easy "

That year the race started from Granada. The first stage up to Malaga win Tiainen but he is there that if the play on par with the Finnish and Trolli on land impossible, extreme enduro. The second in Morocco from Nador to Oudja wins Kini but he is always there. On gravel bars Yamaha 650 twin Moroccan Peterhansel struggles, Rome does not pray, for a moment the tremble wrists, then open up the gas and gets behind the Dragon whose only pronounce the name put AWE.

Rome is in the lead in the overall standings after 463 kilometers, in the next stage to Er Rachidia (552 kilometers of which 328 Special) take the wheel of Peterhansel and not the spring. Where is driven Midgets preempts, on the fast passes and filling it with dust and stones, to make them understand that this is the game of the great, you swim in the sea up and is the shark that makes the rules.

Missing 6564 kilometers in Dakar but newspapers and televisions around the world do not speak of him, is the new man though it is a bit early to say. The guy is very cute and it's beautiful to see the Guide, his technique enchants and many are convinced he can win soon, Maybe now.

Nani Roma, King among Kings

Nani Roma, King among Kings

But who is Juan Roma Cararach? Don't come from nowhere, you are not improvised pilot. In the Spanish enduro Championship is always the first, He won a European Championship with a Husqvana 250 2 times in 1994, year in which it was gold medal at six days. In 1995 wins the Baja Aragon as a reward Jordi Arcarons takes him to Dakar. His Ktm is little more than a standard but that's OK and heads down the Giants challenge without fear. Someone at the bivouac tells him to go slow but he this adverb doesn't get it. Will understand the next day. When he wakes up after having blacked out, He sees the face of Franco Acerbis who consoles him and tells him that his first Dakar went away. It didn't last long but now the whole world knows her real name: Nani

Said the great Fabrizio: "I love Midgets, from him I learned a lot, It has a refined technique, his body on the bike is always in the correct position "

The year after it starts and arrives in Dakar. The path is hard, tiring right away, Nani is there but at halfway point, to Agadez in Niger, falls and breaks the scapula and clavicle. When medics, the trucks on the ground but his bike there is, someone stole it. Will be found again seven years later, in the middle of 2005. Africa takes and gives according to logic sometimes garbled. Now he's in his garage in Folgueroles where Nani is born and lives.

In 1998 going strong and is strong also in navigation. The fourth stage El Rachidia-Ouarzazate, he stops and looks into the ground. His head tells him right, the traces of others say straight. What to do? "I was sure it was right, but might they mistook the strip contains all, Peterhansel? Then came Fabrizio, as always, solid as a rock, He nodded his head, cut off the clutch and vanished into thin air ... obviously right. I didn't need more confirmation, Fabrizio was enough. The I went back, We went strong as ever, We danced to hand in a fandango wonderful. Around us silence, behind us. "
When they arrive at the bivouac descend from motorcycles to wait for the others. The first came after half an hour.

Meoni wins the stage, the two are in front of a lifetime. Nani would administer the advantage but the sixth stage (Smara Zouerate 614 kilometers, 494 Special) It is a fast track, very fast, Peterhansel passes on the obverse. “I felt like I was still, that twin cylinder Yamaha went that was scary. Stephan had fire inside, took me 18 minutes alone in that stage ".

The next day leave towards El Mreiti, There had been problems with the assistance and the bike was not perfect, at mid-term breaks a clutch bearing. The bike is stationary, Dwarfs the sits next and look forward to the assistance. The wait lasts all night. "It was an unforgettable experience, the sky lit up from the stars ". If she could hear the music, He would have turned up the volume to a Springsteen ballad, Instead you stay there listening to the sound of the desert, absolute silence. Nani is firm but grows more and more everyday, He knows he's strong and maybe one day triumph. "Winning is always hard, win one ". For now it's OK and KTM proposes a contract for the following year. Can choose to take just the Dakar and earn about 30 million pounds by then, or do all the races and earn less than ten. "Obviously I choose to run more races as possible"

In 1999 There is no head, It is separated from his wife, with whom he had a daughter two years earlier and is not focused on the race and yet it goes fast. The KTM entrusts Giò Hall as gregarious. "It seemed impossible that Gio was there for me. Is someone out of the ordinary, a good man, loyal, I have always enjoyed being with him. Sometimes it was stronger than me and would stop at special waiting for me, I was embarrassed, It didn't seem logical ".

It is in the form, going strong but also falls in ' 99 ... and make four! He had stopped to see what pit stop on the track to success Meoni, sharing, in 20 per hour takes a stone and Earth. Back in motion, He hurt a finger but ends the same special (Bir Mogrein-Atar 629 Km). The doctor who visit upon arrival prevents him from starting the next day: that finger is fractured into eight parts.

In 2000 It starts from Dakar and arrive in Cairo. KTM (who hasn't ever won) deploy an army of motorcycles and the challenge is with BMW which won the previous year with Sainct.

Nani is the fastest, is impregnable to all. The second stage is leading the General. Starts first and nobody can even approach him. He won the third and fourth stage. At Bobo Dioulasso has a leg up on Sainct of more than 20 minutes. The race is tough, Kappa pilots leave one behind the other.


The challenge of Dakar 2000 It is against the squadron BMW

He knew how to do, administers where is risky, It makes a difference where I feel I can do. Nani is there and it's scary, every morning part and disappear into thin air, is focused, motivated. As much as others seek solutions, every day the delay from Rome increases. The ninth stage from Waha to Khofra in Libya, Sainct sticks to death but takes it one second in 610 mileage special.

The tenth stage door in Egypt, where the finish line is expected in Cairo three days later. Nani just go, take the wheel of Sainct and receive assistance until the end. It's done, No one will take the success. "There was great confusion to KTM, were mounted pieces never experienced before, the mechanical problems were commonplace due to reckless and illogical by technicians, the bikes suffered substantial changes without the certainty of success. I was leading you, but alone ".

The tenth stage his engine breaks, the bike sinks into the sand and with her dreams, the hopes, the job done, the talent that perhaps no one will recognize. More than music, nothing but silence. Nani takes his head in his hands, everything around him is stopped, the only thing that moves is the BMW of Richard Sainct serena advances to the final victory. Nani is no longer the rookie of the ' 96, It's a fast driver, is a sample in which the bad fate took away the World Cup winner. That anger, How sad. The passing time lasts a lifetime, When unable to restart behind create a vacuum, He won the last two stages. He, who is the winner of the Dakar rally of the year 2000, of will just 17th.

Nani Roma Dakar 2001 about BMW

Nani Roma Dakar 2001 about BMW

BMW square four motorcycle to the first four places in the year which was supposed to be by KTM. Nani's pandemonium, in Munich they want. BMW offers him money and a twin for two years. “I told you, I wanted to change. The twin cylinder motorcycle was harder than I'd ever driven but was a challenge, I wanted to try "

The prologue of the 23rd edition, does the absolute equal time with friend Hall. "Make time in a special led by six minutes with that bike was simply hilarious, It was difficult, It was heavy, bulky " With that bike was hard to imagine the final victory, but he is trying, He won a few stages before retiring for a fall where you break a knee. Wins the KTM, WINS an uncontrollable Mahmoodi.

"BMW decided to retire a year early. I was without motion and jobless. I Called Kini, did not leave me not even finish speaking: KTM is your home, You can go whenever you want, for you a motorcycle there will always be ".

In 2002 in the race there are two people. Nani Roma, the talent and Fabrizio Meoni the giant. Fabrizio has built a motorcycle pants. At the end of the summer had turned up at the Rally of Egypt with the all-new twin-cylinder LC8. At that rally has left Rome in the lead for almost the entire race and then go after it to get at the end and put it behind. Fabrizio is in a State of grace, does what he wants and doesn't seem to have weaknesses, to beat it it takes concentration, speed, tactics.

From the fourth to the seventh stage Nani is leading the General, at Zouerate in the eighth, Meoni takes the lead. Nani starts his pursuit: the twelfth the two are in close proximity and with minimum detachment reaching Tichit in Mauritania. Missing two decisive stages for the final victory of the Dakar 2002. And this is where amazing happens.

Quattrordicesima stage Tichit-Kiffa 473 kilometers. Nani turns around and keeps on going, He turns again and continues on his way, don't know if you missed it or if it is the right way. Because there is no one? Where are the others? Yet the track is here, the GPS says so, even the roadbook. Or maybe not?

"I was supposed to do a half turn and go look for the track good, It was clear that it could be the one. I felt that I was wrong but I didn't have the clarity to come back ".

A few meters after Nani is over the crest of a mountain, tries to climb, trying to find an opening, Search a valley in which slip, find a hole to exit the tunnel. Nani is in cage, bangs his head against the bars and looking for an exit as a tiger at the zoo. Where is stuck cannot be a ground to Dakar, is a path of trial!. The bike falls from his hands, the slips down the mountainside, try to climb, get out but still falls. His bike is too heavy and bulky, No one would be able to get her out of there. Does not pass anyone. Fabrizio is a few meters from him Crow, but down at the side of the mountain and travels in a piston diameter 120 per hour. While the other goes, Nani tries to make impossible Mule.

A helicopter of the French television, follows the whole sequence, the cameras follow the efforts of animal crazy. The aircraft remains on the scene, It cannot relinquish himself. And try, try, and try again. The mountain is bigger than him but Nani continues, coughing up blood, trying to climb over. Then drops to the bottom of the Valley, Slow down, is sitting, the bike stutters and is out of control, He walks with difficulty because it is unmanned, Nani is clinging to the handlebars but semi-passed out. The bike moves forward slowly to inertial force, then bends to the ground with his helpless pilot. The helicopter comes to rest at his side. Nani trembles, She's cold, is terrified. "You didn't hurt", the surrurra inside the helmet Gerard Roltz, France Television journalist. No, you haven't done nothin', fell from a standstill. But inside you that bad: "stupid! It was enough to make half a turn, Instead I tried to climb Everest!”.
The Grand Champion, hope that seven years earlier had caused to be written by himself, is once again on her knees.

"LC8 was my bike, I liked most of all, KTM decided to give it to me after the Dakar, I was very glad, I won right away in Tunisia ".

After many placings, many falls, such bad luck, a victory there wanted, Yet many observers swear that Juan Roma Cararach never won. When could he didn't for misfortune and falls, now joined in a negative loop and won't win more, sentences someone else after the fall in 130 hours in the middle of the stones off the track on his way to Zilla (Libya) the Dakar 2003 where it leaves the skin.

Nani Roma with Fabrizio Meoni at Dakar 2003

Nani Roma with Fabrizio Meoni at Dakar 2003

Who is Rome? You can be King without a Crown? You can be among the greats never won? The measure itself is given by what everyone feels, the appreciation of others that never missed. Everyone has always had great admiration and respect for him and that could be enough to put his name on the Bulletin Board of the great, or maybe not.

"I always going for myself, I was never interested glory, I always gave everything I could, in Africa the races are difficult, the wind whirls in a moment and what looks like easy becomes impossible ".

1 January 2004, France, the 26th Edition of the Dakar rally. The bikes are underway 195, the number 4 is its. The prologue in the snow who, of 35 thousand spectators, is willing to bet a penny on him? There are things to do 9506 mileage and 500 meters, centimeter after centimeter, meter by meter. Minutes, hours, days. Fast opponents, of experience, Smart.

He doesn't know, Yet this is the right time. Will win and be King among Kings.

Esteve Pujol is leading the fifth stage, at Tan Tan in Morocco Dwarfs supports in General. In 1055 kilometers of next stop Esteve Pujol falls, Mahmoodi has problems with his LC8, Sainct going strong and reduces the disadvantage by winning the Special. Nani wins the day after. Despres pushes but not scary because it has a delay to the eighth stage. Then the airlift, There are safety issues in Burkina Faso and competitors are directly at the departure of airborne 12 stage.


The 2004 It's finally the year for Nani Roma won the Dakar

Dwarves deep breaths, keeps his cool and his head so still in the next step. In the 14th stage from Ayoun el Atrous to Tidjikja, Nani is lost but this time finds his way, throw out just over a minute but remains front while Despres continues to win and to approach the podium. Midgets are shaking their wrists and in 15th stage, won by Mahroof 2.37 "loses on Sainct chasing him, other 2 minutes in the 16th but that's OK. Loses every day seconds, minutes and earn every day, cm, meters, kilometers.

The 17th stage was Dakar-Dakar 106 kilometers of which only 27 Special. WINS again Despres, Nani caresses the shoreline of the Lake Rose with a little gas, running free, clear to its Crown of Kings.
Who is Juan Roma Cararach, a month before, a sample, but now in his head the Crown that for too many years has been hidden somewhere in the sand.

This is the end of a story that starts half an hour after the award ceremony in the lobby of the hotel Meridien in Dakar. Nani signing for Mitsubishi and starts a new career on four wheels. "I'm very fond of cars, I had the money I would have started racing in the car right away "


1991: Vicampione of Spain Enduro Junior 125 CC

1992: 5º in Cto. Europa de Enduro Senior 125 CC

1993: 4º in Cto. Spain's de Enduro Senior

Bronze medal ISDE

1994: Senior European champion Enduro

Gold Medal ISDE

4º Cto. Spain's Senior Enduro

1995: 2º Cto. Spain's Enduro 4T

Bronze medal ISDE

1996: 3º Spain Cto Enduro 4T

2º of Cto. World Enduro 4T

1997: Spain's Enduro Campeione

Spain champion Raids

1999: Gold Medal ISDE

2º Rally of Egypt

2º Rally of Dubai

Winner Baja Aragón and Baja Italy

2000: Bronze medal ISDE

2001: Bronze medal ISDE

2º Baja Aragón

2002: Winner Tunisia Rally (KTM 950 Rally)

1º Baja Aragón

2003: 2º Baja Aragón

3º FIM Cup Rallys t. T.

3º Rally of Tunisia

3º Rally of Morocco

Vencitore Rally of Egypt

Vencitore Rally d'Italia Sardegna

2004: Dakar Vencitore

2º Rally d'Italia Sardegna

Dakar 1998, Hall and Meoni and small gestures that will remain in history

Many people ask me "Pat" on the helmet of Meoni in a video of the Dakar.
Nothing that, just that with Fabrizio had reached a great feeling and then I could "afford" to do something like.
The feeling grew over the years, starting from my first Dakar in 1998, When in a new year's Eve in Paris, a few hours after departure, asked me if we were to stay in the hotel room in front of the TV watching cartoons, When everyone was partying. I laughed and we started talking about Dakar and revealed to me some tricks to better address the race.
Always together in transfers, hours and hours in the saddle, and often in the rain, (do not wait to arrive in Africa), by sharing a few minutes stop at the outlets. "Forbidden" consummation when we stopped to get gas, told me the Dakar doesn't have to waste time and assistance you should arrive as soon as possible, "I remember it well!”.
In companies at the bivouac was a large, greetings and tips for all, Tuscan oil always in "table" in the sand of the bivouac, and some made him shoot the balls, had the cashier the right amount for race days, but then I did offer again. I wondered then an opinion, believer and active as always, We all know of his mission in Dakar.

Speaking of the city of Dakar, When in 2001 won for the first time the race, the dinner/party I forced to "get drunk". I couldn't see Fabrizio toast with Coke all night while KTM staff, on the contrary, make toasts his victory with wine and beer, so he set a goal to drink at least three glasses of wine during the evening, I replied: "and it takes?”. One two three in a row ... in less than half an hour we had a phenomenal fit Meoni, Austrian speaking like the toscano.

Strategic and combative just like a “Wild boar”, and so they called it, He knew Special assault with force and vehemence, but he also knew spending "without a trace".

In fact, It was the strategy that allowed him to win with the twin LC8, in a stage where you had to go on a Wait Point, situated atop a steep cliff, (What Rome tried to climb but then fell and dissolved). Fabrizio with a quick and clever reasoning of CAP (the degrees of the compass), He realized that Rome and I, We were leaving before him, We were on the wrong track, so went out of the track in order not to leave traces and, by cutting off the track for a few hundred metres, turned down the right track that carried on top of the cliff. So it was the only one to find in a short time the direction while we all "we grazed" in search of the track, wondering where it was finished Mahmoodi. The gap gained enabled him to win his second Dakar with a motorbike – believe me I assure you – really challenging, the LC8.

Outside of competition I shared with Fabrizio also many weeks of testing. On these occasions were consuming days and nights sharing room, discovering the various habits, Le manie, tastes, the most loved television programmes, food preferences, In addition to the ride side by side in the odious Chott soft sand for kilometre after kilometre to test the reliability of the engines under extreme conditions. He came to take 1.007 kilometers in one day on a ring of 38 km, (I made her 150 less). Also the development of LC8 was very interesting because it was an all new bike and Fabrizio surprised me with his sensibility when he realized that the position of the platforms was changed so that the bike will not turn.
Did the test, We were sparring in the gym, in the pool and running, but with him it was impossible, too practiced, even the very well-trained Arnaldo Nicoli knows something.
Forwarding remember the laughter at Battle of King, memorable to Ibiza. There was the race with the Jet Ski from Ibiza to Formentera, Fabrizio and I, "Old Sea Dogs", We chose the wrong model of jet skis to the open sea and arrived at the end so exhausted that we looked like two castaways.

I could tell you many stories, but I will not bore you, and so let me explain why the famous "slap" on the helmet.
Was the Dakar 1998 and we were in Mali, in the stage from Gao Taoudeni basin where for safety, saw your mileage, was cancelled the special that became a transfer of more than 1000 kilometers. As I said before, "he in Africa, He wanted to arrive early at the bivouac ", Thus he went to drive almost as if it was a special and I, by good portant d'eau, I had to be with him, but around km 800 I was beginning to have some balls full of keep a pace like that, so I went over and I gave him the famous "tap" to bring to your attention and warn that we could also slow down for a few kilometers, Since it didn't seem like very late, but he dropped that much on pace. He was right because, even though we were the first to arrive to the assistance, It was night by several hours, Since the last 150 kilometers ran among a tangle of slopes in the Fesh Fesh which, faced with the lights of headlights, It was very complicated to drive while striking the right CAP and balance.
Anyone who has tried knows what it's like.

Unfortunately, his favorite race has taken his own life, leaving a deep sadness to Elena, Joel e Chiara, as in all of us, but we will remember him always for his sympathy and helpfulness from Grand Champion and the person who was.

Giovanni Sala

Taken from Enduro rider Magazine nr. 42

2015-11-15 21.23.01

Ciro De Petri Dakar 1984

Ciro De Petri hurtling toward the finish line of his first Dakar, in 1984. End 37° on KTM GS 560.

depetri 1984

“Ciro” Dalia debuting Dakar 1984

Completely private even novice Alexander De Petri, Although well assisted by the excellent Vismara who took care of his KTM Farioli.
Sixth at the Rally of the Pharaohs, Dalia had embarked on his adventure with Towers, then came out of the race for a fall that cost him the fracture of the femur.

"To talk about the Paris-Dakar, to explain what you should write a book — says Dalia (It will then ndr) ' it's a beautiful ride and gives a lot of satisfaction, but it is also a dangerous race, full of incidents and that requires great experience. What I've learned this year is that you can also run a race to wait trusting in the inconveniences of others ".

How did they perform your KTM race?
«The bike went quite well; certain, the current state of affairs is not definitive but if I were to try again next year would know where to put your hands. Would not be ever at the BMW and perhaps also of Honda and Yamaha».


My Dakar 2002 by Giò Hall

Concluding the “Dakar” 2002 Sixth Giovanni Sala scored its best performance since, in ' 98, He began his adventure in the most established and hard African rally. At the onset had in fact concluded 17°, in ' 99 he was rated 7° and had grasped the first stage win, in 2000 He had been forced to retire and the past year had placed only 14° but had centered four partial victories.

“I am satisfied with my result, There is no doubt” He told us the champion of Gorle upon his return from the senegalese capital “Although the eve I had set as a goal to finish in the top five. I went very close, I got two stage wins, and I gained so much experience that I can leverage in upcoming occasions that may happen. In this area I think much and although I already 38 years I think I can still give a lot. The winner of the race, My teammate and friend Mahmoodi, of years has just turned 44, Yet at present is certainly the best and most complete of all”.

– You had two days of glory but also several mishaps, It's true?
“In fact, especially in the first few fractions of African race, those in Morocco. Our new Ktm twin had been prepared especially in Tunisia and had raced in Egypt, so soft and sandy terrain. On the stones and rocks of Morocco has created some difficulties, especially with the clutch, but when we have identified the cause of the problem and we fixed it up, everything went smooth away. Any anger he then procured the foreign traffic penalty by exceeding the speed when exiting a village but was suddenly anything but dangerous and I don't really remember going so strong so much that I even thought it had been traded my number 7 with the number 1 by Mahmoodi. Him at that point he confessed he had given a lot of gas. A big job in the third last leg I instead naivete, the marathon between Tichit and Kiffa. I had won the day before and then had to leave first and then lead the way. I've gotten pretty well but I took the control stamp secret and I suffered another heavy penalty. The next day I could win again but I lost a couple of minutes to help a competitor cadutomi front and are so finished second behind half a minute while the last brief sojourn on the pink Lake Dakar, that well knew, allowed me anyway to top it off”.

How do you rate this “Dakar” than those which he attended previously?
“It was a bit ' special, sharply divided into two. The first part, up to to Atar, undemanding and selective than ever so that the rest day of the Epiphany proved almost useless, at least for us beginners. The next stages instead really infernal, able to wear anyone. Absurd, then, in my opinion, the villages at night. We must consider that there are potholes and pitfalls everywhere and then over there across the street dozens of animals, all difficulties in the dark it is not easy to evaluate, particularly for us bikers who we will arrange fixtures still limited”.

Riding a Thumper would go maybe better?
“In fact I suffered a great deal on twin-cylinder weight. Even Meoni had similar problems but he drives motorcycle rally all year, I for several months step those enduro, decidedly more agile, and so I find it more difficult to adapt. In any case it is hard to say how it would go and, in any case, If I can compete again in this race, I'd like to try again with the twin. You've got discomfort at some stage but it gives great satisfaction in many other”.

In this race you only grows as pilots or even as men?
“It is true, It gives you much also from the human point of view. Explore deeper into yourself, outbursts of solidarity that inspires you in everyday life are not as spontaneous, You also hardening in the spirit, allows you to know reality so different. Also in the relationship with the other competitors you create something special which is not the case in other races”.

-After five world titles in the enduro his current dream is just win once the Dakar?
“I can't deny that this competition has for me a remarkable charm. I really want to do well in rallying and because the Dakar is the Queen of the rally is clear that I would be able to conquer it. However, realist and I must admit to not being probably not ready yet, too often do I incur in blunders, in crap that someone like Meoni wouldn't. However, taking advantage of each new mistake also feel to improve and who knows that sooner or later you don't learn all the tricks and can put them into practice at its best”.

What are your short term programs?
“After this meal of about ten thousand km riding sleeping little or nothing, I really think I am going to give ten days to stop. I will dedicate to the affections and the fans, then at the end of the month there is the rally enduro blues and then testing with the 520 with whom I will participate to the Italian enduro Championship and in 600 4 times, the displacement that I longed for some time. Finally was accommodated. The first major race will be the opening of the Tricolor, at the beginning of March, While the next rally should be the one in Tunisia, in April”.

Interview with Danilo Sechi


Nani Roma – Dakar 2004

Nani Roma en route to winning the Dakar 2004