Scan 32

DAKAR 1987 | From cross to the charm of the desert

Already in previous years Michele Rinaldi had launched the intention to participate in the Dakar, attracted by the charm that surrounds this race but above all by the possibility of "living" it, in the few free moments, in close contact with all other participants. Rinaldi had even come to hypothesize his participation in the role of the private pilot, despite being used to playing the role of the "super official" in the cross.




From Suzuki, Instead, during the autumn he received the proposal to participate with bikes and official assistance in the team set up in France by the Joineau brothers. "It was Suzuki that asked for it – says the former world champion – since they know my desire to participate and want to try to face the competition that has found great commercial outlets from these races ».



Have you already had some driving experience in Africa?
"Only during some tests in Tunisia. The biggest problem, apart from orientation, comes from the weight and speed of the bike. When you accelerate on the sand it drifts from all sides and it takes good muscles to hold on to a bike that weighs almost twice as much as the cross bike. To get used to it every day I did some training together with Balestrieri, once even at night. Anyway the Suzuki 651 even if it has been prepared well, it is not a winning bike against the various multi-cylinder bikes and even I do not feel able to aspire to success».



How the Suzuki was changed compared to the production model?
"The chassis is standard. The fork and the monoshock system have been changed. On the engine there is a new head, cylinder and muffler to bring the displacement to 651 CC, moreover the cooling is oil as on the Suzuki road and no longer air ».

Rinaldi 1987

My Dakar 1987 by Michele Rinaldi

Perhaps not everyone will remember the fleeting involvement of Cross world champion 125 Michele Rinaldi to Paris Dakar 1987.

The bike was a Suzuki DR 650 standard prepared by the team of French importer, flying at the brothers Joineau.

The race for Michele didn't go very well and by his own admission: "in all the experience was useful, Since I created a wealth of experience that will be useful to me – confirmation Rinaldi. I'm glad the decision even though in some cases I damn the day I thought I'd subscribe to Dakar. It was not only physical problems, down easily overcome, but also of mental and physical problems that underlie a marathon long and exhausting as the Dakar. "

Supports Rinaldi :"in Paris in the prologue I also managed to enjoy myself convinced that this was already the real race. The best to remain aloof, I wonder why? I found out at my expense, they knew that the real race begins after Tamanrasset. I rather like a good freshman staring already and committed my promo big mistake. We would have thought Africa to calm down ".

"I still remember Balestrieri, winner of the second stage, tell me – You Michele did not understand anything about this race ".
Unfortunately the 9th stage, a fall left shoulder dislocated already in 1984 and Michael gave his salute to Dakar.
The experience of Suzuki at the 1987, was not completely negative, as one of the motorcycles he saw the finish line, in an Honourable ninth place in the absolute with Marc Joineau.