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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.

 

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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 ».

 

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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».

 

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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 ».

Joineau marc 1982

Marc Joineau Dakar 1982 | The sits are hidden everywhere

After an endless series of punctures, in Gao I'm back in the top ten. In the difficult ring of Gao/Mopti/Gao at the foot of Mount Humbori, I remember for the terrible sharp rocks, I'm going to join Patrick Drobecq to take off in the big fast turns and start my second stage win.

Just imagine: 540 km courses in 10h 06 min, I arrived right at nightfall. Finally here I am again among the first 5, I'm starting to believe I can win this rally. Meanwhile I lose my brother Philippe who falls breaks his foot, and I find myself alone alone on the track, I don't have anyone left who can help me in the fight against the official drivers.

And then comes the damn special evidence of Timbuktu Niono dine 560 km. At first I'm under the illusion that everything is fine. I climb up on my direct competitors and get to the gasoline truck in the middle of nowhere, and dubious provenance.

I fill up with a dubious mixture of gasoline, kerosene and some other fuel and allotment component. After only 10 km after my engine slows down, Mumbles, rattled and abandoned me nailed. Look 6 hours the truck on which I had a backup engine, I mount it but I arrive 50 minutes out of maximum time and I am plagued by a penalty of 15 hours. What a mockery. I didn't deserve it.. I collapsed at the bottom of the leaderboard. Cyril Neveu wins the Dakar 1982 though at the time of my trouble with gasoline I was half an hour ahead of him in the general classification.

I still have the strength to win a special stage before the finish line.
I often think back to that supply and it will pursue me for a long time.

N.d. r. Marc Joineau won 2 stages in the Dakar 1982, and finished 17th in the absolute.

Farahani 1989

Fernandez Agustin Dakar 1989

If something you want, one way to find.
If you don't want it, an excuse to find.
(African proverb)

Along this dirt track, Farahani about Suzuki DR during Dakar 1989.

Marquez Paricio 1989

Marquez Paricio Dakar 1989

Marquez Paricio on Suzuki DR 750 BIG during the Dakar 1989.

Bennerotte 1990

Bennerotte Dakar 1990

Departure Dakar 1990, a fierce Bennerotte presentation on his Suzuki DR750!

Suzuki SR43

Suzuki DRZ 750 Sr43 Dakar 1991

For Franco Picco was supposed to be last year's issues of revenge after Dakar, instead hasn't even started: the 23 December Franco Picco fell while he was practicing on the field cross di Arzignano riding a Suzuki 250, to lock the front wheel. Batted and after performing a somersault in the air fell violently beating the basin.
Hospitalized at the hospital in Valdagno (Vi) He was found a fracture to the pubic symphysis and a crack in the sacrum, no serious damage but still force him to at least two months of immobility, the Team of Gaston Rahier had thus relinquishing his top driver for the most important event of the season. Franco Picco, whereas its contract with Suzuki expires in July, It is still determined to get back in the saddle in order to participate in the Rally of Tunisia.

SUZUKI DRZ 750 – Base remained the same last year's bike, currently the only single competitive ranking even if not too strong in terms of reliability. For this we have worked a lot on the engine, a four stroke with cool-ing four-valve air-oil mixture, double switching electronics and power supply through two Carburetors Mikuni shot. Despite the name DRZ 750 the actual displacement is 830 cm. a solution which has been arrived after numerous tests. The Exchange remains five-speed and clutch in oil bath.
The Suzuki, that rally turned totally to the team run by Rahier, He renewed the chassis: a split single cradle with Full Floater rear suspension linkage system modified, Kayaba fork and disc brakes in front and back; you are not, however, overlooked the speech of aerodynamics and comfort, that led to redesign the tank group, two front and one rear for a total of 62 liters, and the windshield. Numerous the reductions leading to a dry weight of 154 kg, driven by an engine that delivers a maximum declared power of 71 CV to 7.000 RPM.

62 – GASTON RAHIER His temper is simultaneously its greatest advantage and his worst fault. Caused him problems of living with some riders of his team but at the same time allowed him to reap exceptional results. Three world cross 125, two Paris-Dakar and three Rallye des Pharaons are but a small part of a sporting curriculum that has few equals.
Owner of the team that bears his name and who does run the official Suzuki, in 43 years played Rahier is still a man to keep an eye on, able to win a couple of stages even in the previous edition of the Dakar rally and get good results.

64 – JEAN-CHRISTOPHE WAGNER Eternal fast assistance team, He always played diligently its task and this sometimes penalized its performance. Though he got good placings occasionally, proving that Rahier had good nose to ensure the presence on the team of 22-year-old Frenchman when it still hadn't played more than national racing.

65 – AKIRA WATANARE It is not a new name for fans of cross, who remember ' 78 cross world champion and also starred in subsequent seasons. He returned to Japan in 84, He never stopped running-road passing though enduro where he won the national title. Dear pilot from Suzuki, in 36 However the Charter of rally attempts practically years to debut, having only attended the last edition of the Pharaohs.

The team belong to four other men: Swiss Andy Brunner the French expert Raymond Loizeaux and two Italians who also last armo reached in good position for the beach in Dakar, Franco Zotti and Giampaolo Abbasi. While running with Team Rahier and riding the Suzuki are unofficial: their bikes are derived from the series, but still receive some assistance from the French education, consistent with the needs of the four drivers.

Ed: It was not a particularly glorious Dakar for Team Suzuki, Rahier finished only at the 13rd place, Brunner 17°, Watanabe 23°, Loizeaux 29°.

Source Motosprint
Special thanks for photos Stefan Heßler

Regas 1987

Dakar Regas 1987

In this photo the little Suzuki of Dakar Regas 1987

Boluda Antonio 1989

Antonio Boluda – Dakar 1989