It's true, at dakar there are special people. I have known many of them and with great amazement, even among the official pilots. Many, Indeed, everyone I've been dealing with, even for an exchange of jokes, they were all kind, available and not at all superior. Franco Picco didn't hesitate to disassemble my saddle and tanks to find the reason for a small inconvenience. Even when he hit me drunk in Montpellier, him and Edi Orioli they stopped to help me start again with a pat on the shoulder "come on, you can do it" that did more effect than any painkiller. Franco gave me the tools without hesitation... "you pay me at home".
Danny La Porte at Le Cap he made my time at the prologue and we joked up in line for dinner at the first bivouac in Africa. Meoni you didn't even need to look for it, greeted you first him and asked you how it goes. In the past, the "Bogio" Andrea Marinoni he told me "bravo, go easy..." and I "there's no problem, more than that I don't go!!”
But who even made me smile was the great Stèphan Peterhansel. At Le Cap he accompanies me in his camper van "Tullio Provini", with Chicco Piana and their respective ladies. The bike tucked half into the bathroom and half in the hallway. A tirade to Rouen where the checks were set up. I pass the administrative part and I go into a crowded shed of people with drivers lined up for brands. I push my bike and i squat, all Yamaha, private and officers, in the lead Motor France and Byrd.
I arrive and they already look at me, unique with the mechanics in tow and two young ladies who helped me keep documents, helmet and overalls, while Tullius and Chicco stroves to fix at me the obligatory rear lights which I had ignored. A few moments and in the shed burst ten (10!) my friends with a stadium scream "FIOREEEE" left Bologna without being able to tell me anything, all in a camper van of six. An incredible shame, even the fans!
Then finally we start! With mid-race road books tucked everywhere in your jacket, dressed like a palombaro from the cold that there was. Two days of state and provincial elections to Marseille, passing through Paris and Burgundy. In a stretch of mountain, it was snowing and the anxiety of arriving late blew me several refreshment points where the locals had set up real village parties with ramps, Arches, banners and interviews. In a small village they gave me a burning coffee and leaned two croissants on the filter case, away on the fly even there with the snack hovering over the tanks.
So I reached a group and queued, there were even the two official Yamahas and the pace was good for me, on the ground there was a thin layer of compact snow. When I got to a big service area, I see everyone's coming in. for a stop and full, i'm going to accode, but before we get in Peterhansel, probably fooled by the pile of snow at the side of the road, doesn't see the sidewalk and slips into the ground. I can hear him undead, his assistant (on road bikes) helps him lift with difficulty, then I go down and grab his pigtail and in three we pull up the bike.
As soon as you enter, together with the distributor, another stadium scream "FIOREEEEEE", four drunk friends, around wineries celebrating New Year's Eve! As soon as they saw motorcycles they ran screaming to hug me. I feel a hand on his shoulder and it was he, Peterhansel, looking behind my back to read the name and tells me: "excuse moi Fiorini, but you who are you in Italy with all you fans who take you with you?” My answer was: "none, i've never won anything, but I have a lot of friends". And more laughter!