DAKAR 1991 | African Diary of Aldo Winkler

Many support it and I think so too, Dakar is a disease that never gives up on you. And here I am ready to fall back again! Every Dakar has brought me great friendships: Beat, Maletti, Charles Edson, in the future Morelli during the race. But I had never left with a person with whom we were already friends before. The fact that he had signed up Brenno (Brenno) Bignardi it was the final push to participate. Brenno and I shared a common passion for off-road motorcycles, we both raced cross and enduro and still today we have fun bikes together. What could be more stimulating than having the most beautiful adventure together?



Ghadames — Ghat A bestial stop more than 1.000 km. divided into two stages. A1 morning, an intense cold, we could have opened a’ newsstand with paper under clothes!And’ one of the mythical stages of the Dakar, really hard ,but all satisfied by incredible landscapes. The Dakar is changing becoming more human, the food is tastier, served on trays, there is availability of water, the ration is distributed in the morning, you can sleep in a tent However it is more important to be in a team of friends with impeccable assistance. The only note out of tune was the bike not very powerful and difficult to ride.



Gossololom A remote place, reason why it is not clear why it has a name ,since there is nothing and it is in the middle of the Tenerè. Exactly here the misadventure had happened to me a few years before , exactly in the Ued Egaro. The day after this bivouac, in 40 km., even though I was in special, I started looking for the Tuareg , maybe I would see my friends who saved me again. Avro (Avro)’ fact 15 km. to the east, then I came back and then I went15 km. to the west along in all 60 km. More I could not have for lack of gasoline. Unfortunately I did not see a living soul , how I would have liked to see them again!

They have already left?
This is the classic joke Brenno's workhorse. It was mythical and we asked him to tell us about it a thousand times, throughout the Dakar.
Mr.. Rezzonico (Italy), almost ninety years old, suffers from advanced senile dementia and important confusional states with obvious memory loss and lucidity. His son tried to help him by having him visited by several geriatricials in the hope of finding a solution.. One of the doctors who had the opportunity to visit his father, suggests that he take him to an experimental clinic located in Ticino where it seems that a solution can be found..
Accept the suggestion, makes an appointment and reaches the clinic with his father. They are kindly welcomed at the reception by Dr. Bernasconi who makes them sit in his office. Once you visit your father, the doctor invites the son to take a tour of the clinic to show him the structure and tells him: Our clinic is at the forefront of the treatment of this disease, we healed almost the 100% of patients, now let's take a tour to the first floor where the patients have just arrived and still show obvious signs of madness.
Rezzonico (Italy), at the invitation of the doctor, opens the door of a room and realizes that the situation is similar to that of his father: patients running on the walls, who thinks he is flying, who swims on the floor, ruction, Plant, looks lost in the void. He remains very impressed by this situation. The doctor reassures him and at this point accompanies him to the second floor where things seem to be going better. Rezzonico (Italy), opening a door he realizes that patients seem calmer, always a little’ strange but quiet, one of them for example is combing with a fish. The doctor says these patients have spent at least two weeks in the facility and already show obvious signs of improvement.. It's time to go up to the third and last floor. In the corridor there is silence and even the nurses seem more relaxed. Rezzonico looks at the doctor in amazement and tells him: can enter any room, will see for yourself the optimal state of mental health achieved by our patients, came in two months ago and will see for yourself our results. They then enter a room and are all quiet, who in bed, who sat, who chats, who reads, who paints. Rezzonico is pleasantly surprised and the doctor suggests that he speak directly with some of them.. He approaches the first gentleman sitting in the armchair and asks him: Good morning, What are you doing? Answer: I'm reading a book, you can't see it? He repeats this question to the other guests and everyone gives him logical answers. He eventually reaches a gentleman who is holding a big rabbit on his lap and then asks the doctor: pets are allowed in the clinic? The doctor answers: certainly, are an integral part of our therapies, depending on the type of patient we choose the most suitable animal. Rezzonico at this point decides to ask the usual question to this quiet gentleman with the rabbit on his lap: Good morning, What are you doing? The gentleman answers: Good morning, I'm stroking a rabbit, it seems obvious to me, because he asks me? Rezzonico (Italy): Mah….I ask him because on the second floor they seem a bit’ Parties. The gentleman with the rabbit: have already left? Bastards! Grab the rabbit's ears like a handlebar, gets into the hull and screams uaaaaaaaaaaa
Therapy in this case did not work does not always work.

Agades – Rest day, day of work on the bike a bit of relaxation. Resting a little is good even if it breaks the rhythm, and shooting is difficult. We had rented, like all teams , a closed villa. Since we left we have never taken a shower, not only because of the difficulty in doing it, but above all because the cold did not allow it.
Finished the special after so much sand , we crossed the Niger River, Seeing water was a party and we all stopped to celebrate and take pictures.



The bike was a Gilera absolutely standard, very different from the official ones in terms of power and handling. We called her “the desk” so wide and coarse was the front tank, the driving position was all backward and standing up was torture, in the curves it drifted but with the front wheel. On the contrary, since she was the companion of several days, the engine has never betrayed, he took us to the bottom and for this reason we are all fond of it.

Another terrible aspect was that the fiberglass tank, so very delicate, if you fell from a standstill you risked piercing it, and repairs we have made many on the fly with soap, attack, Etc. We were so terrified that when you risked falling you almost threw yourself under the bike to protect the tanks. Since we consumed I’ front first and rear was spare ,once the rear had punctured and so I ran out of gasoline because I did not notice that it was leaking.




BROKEN FRAME l’ attachment of the swingarm to the frame broke by detaching itself sharply from one side. Brenno and I stopped at Tichit, very small village in Mauritania where we looked for a “saldeur” i.e. a soldering iron. After a long time we find it but it did not have electricity until the evening. I pull out my magical straps , I tie them hoping that the swingarm does not move and going slowly ,now at night, I finished the stage.




ARRIVAL The arrival in Dakar is always a great emotion, almost a liberation, is to achieve the goal for which you have sweated so much and suffered for so many days thinking only and exclusively about this. At the same time, however,, you already begin to miss this engaging focus, it is like having peace of the hunger to live existential. The two specials, one with the beach by the sea (representing the journey from the sea of north France to the Africa of Senegal as Sabine said its creator) and the second special with arrival at the famous Pink Lake so colored by the very high density of salt.



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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.


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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


DAKAR 1998 | Aldo Winkler's Latest Effort

Dakar is like a disease gets into your blood and you don't get rid of it anymore. The work had become very demanding and the time available was scarce. But the Dakar was changing, you could buy a motorcycle KTM ready for Africa, almost equal to the official ones, a dream! Beautiful! You could do the assistance kit where you can get what you need (paid). You could also buy and have your tires fitted with mousse!!! (Exaggerated! This, before, it was a drama). All these facilities could not help but make me feel tempted. With Alberto Morelli, now become super friends, let's make the decision. We sign up and bring the airborne mechanic Adriano Micozzi in common. The Dakar experience is one of a kind, you have to focus and just think about one thing, with a very strong intensity, Winkler_1998_1 living intensely nature and competitiveness! This total immersion in running makes you feel full of life and disappears all the existential anxieties that afflict us in everyday life. That's why I relapsed! Knowing that there would be many moments when I would curse the moment when I had decided to go back.

Departure from Paris, always a great emotion, the weather is bad, very ugly, Fog, Cold. Halfway through France they make us do a special. We are equipped to make 1.000 winter km, cado in the special. How hot so dressed and with the helmet wobbling! And after washing the bike away, you start again completely sweaty. In Narbonne there are shower and hotel, but a few hours of sleep. Micozzi arrives with the van with all our things.

Winkler_1998_2Breakfast and transfer to the park closed. Before the special they have to give us the race table but there are many of us and it is difficult to listen to everyone. I'm late on the table because of the queue, I thought it was fast and smooth so I left the bike on, but when I go back the clutch doesn't come off. Worried, I do the special very slowly, and right after that there are the washes. Luckily they let us board the bikes in the van and I sleep behind under the bikes. We arrive in Granada at 2 in the morning.

Wake up at dawn, planned two specials: the first on a muddy fettucciato, the second very beautiful with beautiful landscapes to cheer the competitors. Then we embark. In the harbour the first scare. The bike, which was beautiful and super driveable and stable, had only one flaw: the start-up was on the left, and not only was I not used to, but having his left ankle blocked and sore, it was really hard to get it going. Because of this, my physical problem and the fact that in Austria they had, I don't know why I decided to make my life so difficult, fact is that the bike didn't want to know about starting anymore. I've spent well 20 minutes to get it back on track.

Difficult special with a lot of navigation. Several competitors in search of the “Cp”, I browse without tracks for GPS, I understand though that I'm Winkler_1998_3Back, I've probably done less miles but slower. The bike is fantastic, being so stable you can go very strong. Refueling. That's nice, Give 15 minutes available, whereas before you queued in special and everyone fought to pass in front. Probably, in a very fast straight in waves, I find a sequence that bounces me by squeecing me forward. I remember seeing everything cracked like I had in front of a broken windshield. I'm totally “unsoched”, luckily comes Alberto who takes matters into his own hands. First thing I repair the visor of the helmet because whoever beats the head with marks on the helmet is made to withdraw d’ Office. In fact, organization car passes, looks at us, sees that it's all ok and goes away. The bike is destroyed, I no longer had the cucolino and the rear frame was all bent, the crooked handlebar, and when I turn it on, the oil comes out of the oil radiator tube that is cut off. Alberto does the miracle: does a “by pass” and so it makes me start again. I've been behind him for a while, but I wasn't in me, in obvious shock. I see the dust of a’ car and I leave to handcuff it, Alberto can't keep up with me, so I lose it. Unfortunately, the car was lost, together we look for the right way and only then I realize that Alberto was no longer behind me! In the collision I lose my “Balise”, recovery and I keep it between my legs. I notice my nose is bleeding. I'll let the car go missing and I'll continue with the GPS, so I get to the end of the special. I find who gives me some motor oil to top up the leak. I do the transfer and I start to feel pain everywhere, knee and right thumb especially. On arrival I go directly to the infirmary. Hadrian sees the bike and puts his hands in his hair, goes to KTM and starts a long night. Spend 6.000.000 lire of spare parts.



A little’ hesitant allotment in the morning, I wouldn't have dared not to leave out of respect for Adriano who worked all night making me find a bike better than new, perfect as I had bought it! It starts very early, still in the dark for the transfer, with a crazy cold and then make us wait a lot at the start waiting for the dawn, because you only start with light. Cautious birth almost a type of tour guide, both because of the pain I was feeling, that for "the squeeze" taken. I break my mousse, mount the inner tube and arrive in Smara in the dark. Damn, I needed rest. I struggle to bend my knee, it's very swollen. My thumb hurts and I struggle to hold the knob, and even more annoying, my coccige hurts, pain that conditions me in driving. Even the jaw is all achilosed, I suffer so much.




Very difficult stage, very slow with passes worthy of a trial race. Lots of difficult sand dunes. A truly exhausting stop. The beatings taken in the days before I hear them all. I'm in a lot of times. Refueling arrival, reach Quaglino stationary a few hundred meters before without gasoline. I'm about to come back to help him but I notice that I had opened a rear tank that was leaking profusely, and in the meantime someone had stopped to help him. Allotment, but now I'm going to handcuff without consuming gasoline. Are Winkler_1998_6very tired. The terrible darkness is coming and I still have to do 60 km. Going in the dark is really hard and risky. Exhausted arrival, but in El Mreiti there is no assistance, no airborne. Disassembling the tank, kind gentlemen of a Dutch car help me, with a red-hot knife I melt the plastic of the tank and balance the crack that had opened. I sleep little and I'm all broken, now the pain is really strong. I cursed myself several times to be back running.

Another difficult stage, many dunes and very steep, luckily the sand is relatively hard. Even though I'm in "cruise-mode" now, I try to be regular without taking risks and especially not hurt me further. I did a large part of the stage without any attempt, I've passed many pilots, but at some point I slip into a sand hole and I get in the way. Damn! To get out of there I spent all my remaining energy taking a long time, more than 30 minutes to get back in the saddle. I'm back but not more polished, I couldn't go the way I used to. I notice that it loses the tank again, and breaks the oil seal. Gasoline and oil end up on me, I'm all stained and dirty. Arrival at the end, checking the oil and the scoop is inexorably dry! Combination, when something wrong happens, it's always when there's no Hadrian's assistance, I'm just kinda unlucky. I work many hours on the tank and shelter it permanently. Meanwhile, robbers rob a truck near me and shoot some competitors, I personally saw cars with bullet holes.


I start with the broken oil seal. I find who gives me 2 kg. oil and I take them with me. Thankfully they cancel the stage for the stage episode (usually the stage before the day off is nice tough) let's leave without time, all together. Aid Salvador who had turned upsideth I find him unconscious, but he recovers, gets up and starts again. To “Pc”, checking the oil and refilling, but I finish it too soon. They're still missing 400 km!! GPS gives you confidence even if I hate to put all those numbers to program it, I follow him, heedless to follow the tracks. At some point it loses its signal, I turn it off, I'm turning it back on, nothing!! I decide to go in the same direction, I get anxious and after quite a while now desperate to get lost, I find the tracks and I take a big breath of relief.
At the gas station I get given more oil and refreshed, starting up doing the last 100 Dark. I'm so tired, All Winkler_1998_9 dirt of oil and I do the last 112 km of transfer. Gao seems to me a place of robbers, people have aggressive attitudes. We sleep in a fetid hotel and it's scary just going out. They steal my balise and the irons of the bike (for the irons I almost cry, I had chosen them with great care and they are fundamental to stay in the race). In the infirmary, my knee and thumb are looking at me, they're going to welcome me, luckily I had nothing to the ligaments but I had fluid pouring, I was very cold the first two hours in the morning before they got hot. The evil to the jaw had passed almost entirely (home at the dentist they'll take me off 2 teeth that had cracked, while the most annoying thing was the pain in the coccige. In any case never as in this Dakar I enjoyed the day off. Adriano has struggled a lot, since the KTM spare parts truck had not arrived, but thanks to Roberto Boasso, official KTM mechanic, solved the problem of sealing.

Beautiful stage, the first one I really enjoy driving it. I only run a risk taking a pampa because I was going really strong. Early arrival, everything ok. To my surprise, I see that the KTM service trucks are also coming.

We were told that the stage was easy, instead they're all very slow, meeting so much camel grass, Gait is very slow, I'll have made the most of the third. Arrival with light, but at sunset.


They say it's the hardest stage of the race, And it's true! I've done it in previous editions, but in two days. It's very slow, with the typical landscape of Mauritania (soft sand with many stones). I'm always alone. At the famous elephant pass you have to get off a plateau between huge rocks, it seems to be in a Ligurian mule. I fall several times. At the second gas station, it is already five o'clock and still missing 250 km. I had gone too slowly to spare my strength. Taken by the fear of the dark, I'm going to handcuff to make less way in the dark. I think that was the moment when I went strongest in the whole rally. At 18,30 it's dark and 150km away!! And’ terrible go in the dark, you don't see the height of the dunes and without reference it's not easy to pass them. Falls and cover-ups not to end. Arrival at the special end at 23,30 just in time not to take the lump. I'm exhausted. Since the arrival of the special bivouian I still have a’ now. After the tension of the special, I fall every 100 meters more I get 60 and more I can't find the bivou ac. Another day without assistance, control alone the whole bike, the air filter, I top up the oil and put it too. My knee hurts a lot again and I sleep badly.

Winkler_1998_11It's only a few kilometers, but all of stone to overcome in the first gear. Sometimes I even have to push the bike on foot. I find Hall Desperate, tells me that you have to withdraw, knows that the KTM truck does not pass, has already checked the whole bike and is sure that it is the rotor/fly that has abandoned it. I tell him: “what problem c is?” I look through my things and give him my spare rotor. And he asks me how the hell I'm ever wearing a rotor/fly with me? Actually, I had a little bit of everything, memoir of the old Dakars. Towards the end of the stage, I get 100, GPS doesn't work, doesn't take, I follow tracks that end up. Traffic on THE GPS and finally start to pick up the signal again, I do the last 80 km in the middle of trucks, everything to GPS. I arrive and I'm so tired, obviously there's no assistance. I have to change the tires. On the hard they ended up. I see the “camion balai” and I steal the front mousse from a retired bike. I also remedy a full rear wheel, used but with good mousse, who lend me by making me promise to give it back the next day. Also because I wouldn't have had the strength to change the rear tyre after disassembling and mounting the front mousse.

This is probably going to be the last hard special in this Dakar. 1998, at least I hoped for it. Let's start with Atar, there are beautiful trucks, it's a very stony area. It is understood that guidance will be very important. Surely it will be the most beautiful special from a landscape point of view. Dunes and crazy scenarios!! I travel the whole stage with Quaglino. You cover up, we go the wrong way, let's go back and find the right track, it was a footpath, indeed a very ugly uphill mule, I think it was impossible for cars and even worse trucks to pass by there. Climb the plateau, we're in a sandstorm, do not see anything, and the road book says to follow different mountains, with spike drawings to be circumvented as a reference. The only one is to rely on GPS. We are a group of 6/ 7 bike and we slip into a very ugly erg of dunes with soft sand. It seems impossible to me that we should do more 80 km in those conditions. We see cars from afar and chase them. Hall does not follow us and will be lost. Stop the special refueling due to the weather conditions. We still have to make a long transfer of which 100 difficult km. We arrive in the dark. I'm going to fix the bike. (other day without assistance) and filling up for the next day, I see that the tank still loses! Luckily I find the KTM truck and secretly (it was forbidden to provide assistance because it was a "marathon" stage, give my tank in exchange for a new one. I try to mount it but it doesn't square with the frame. I don't know how to do it, at the end I get fed up and tie it with straps and ties. I find accommodation in a Tuareg tent but when I notice that as night companions I have scorpions, I can get very little sleep.

The first special of the day is beautiful and sinuous. I had Quaglino in front of me in the rankings of 10 minutes, The goal was to take them back. I'll take it, I pass him and shoot like crazy, everything is fine but in the end I mistake and I lose 2/3 minutes but I always get in front of him. Second special, I have to start with my schedule but the bike does not start, they're in a frenzy, Lose 3/4 minutes, finally I give birth and afterWinkler_1998_13 a few km I sned in a climb among the vegetation almost reached the sea. The bike no longer starts again I lose others 5 minutes, I feel that I'm in a hurry and unpolished. Luckily the special is easy along the beach. Shooting Quaglino, I pass him and give him 2 minutes. Too bad without all these problems I probably would have surpassed him in the rankings.

Pink Lake Special: now the left hand is unusable, I have the carpal tunnel that makes me very bad. Even in the dakars I have suffered from this problem, especially on the right hand.. In the early hours I had to go slowly and then slowly passed me, but those who had passed me no longer wanted to get over it so as not to take the dust again. I had surgery on the right but on the left I have the problem. In any case I stand in front of Quaglino in the PS. even if it's not enough to get past it in the general. This was the most difficult Dakar I've ever run. What a satisfaction to bring it to the end! Instead of being euphoric I feel melancholy, probably because I feel that this happiness I feel, so intense, I won't try it anymore because I understand that this will be my last Dakar.

Ndr: Aldo Winkler will finish the Dakar 1998 30th place on 55 riders at the finish line, fifth Italian at the finish line.




DAKAR 1998 | YAMAHA dominates, but Austria Korps are pressing

PeterhanselAnd’ was the victory race – the number 6 and a record – announced and discounted Stéphane Peterhansel and his Yamaha 850 twin-cylinder. If for the driver French there is the satisfaction of having overtaken Cyril Neveu, standing at 5, for the Japanese company is the number 9. And it will probably be the last since Yamaha has announced its retirement from the “toughest race in the world”.

Leave space for single-cylinder, KTM and BMW, Probably, Honda's return. In fact, the supremacy of this fantastic duo has been very evident since the beginning of the race. Let your spirits in Europe, stages in France and Spain where the approach to Africa was a routine fact rather than a real race, “Peter” has quickly accumulated a considerable advantage, a detachment that he was able to administer with the usual intelligence in the second week.

Only small uncertainties in a triumphant path: some fall, slight technical problems with the fast-moving twin-cylinder Yamaha XTZ 850 Trx; In short, nothing that really could worry this great champion who could, though, no longer lining up at the Dakar with a motorcycle: "If Yamaha leaves – so he said on arrival – abandonment too. I'm too tied to this House to accept another offer. I could only go back to Africa by driving a car.".


He tried to undermine this overpowering KTM squadron.: a kind of motorized army run by the former pilot Heinz Kinigadner, made up of ten official pilots and a large number of private. The KTM LC4 660 they couldn't withstand the same pace as the Japanese twin-cylinder but they defended themselves very well by winning most of the special tests (12 on 19). On 55 pilots arrived on the beaches of Dakar well 31 they were riding a KTM.

Although Peterhansel was unapproachable – the same men of the Austrian House say so – having placed Fabrizio Meoni behind him, with a not-so-impossible detachment on 18 race days, it was a great performance. The Italian driver was the real opponent of the French: careful in navigation despite the continuous malfunctions of its GPS, a real hard man in enduring his 40 years and then the injury to the left shoulder, able to find the right way in a sandstorm and to be able to get to third and fourth place in the Dakars of '94 and '95.

And even he may no longer be kicking off next year since, despite being a “Official” to all intents and purposes, doesn't have a contract with KTM that protects him for the future. Returning to Italy he found his everyday life and a motorcycle dealership to run. Behind him, always with KTM 660, Andy Haydon, New York an Australian driver definitely used to the big spaces and already at ease at the first Paris-Dakar. And then a South African, Alfie Cox, already a valuable pilot in the enduro. These two pilots, beyond their very good ranking, demonstrate how even novices of the African marathon can assert their skills in off-road driving.


The lack of real tra traps in navigation has therefore brought out those who really go strong outside the asphalt, that is, enduro pilots. Let us not forget that Peterhansel himself is a protagonist of the World Enduro. Even our “Giò” Hall, several times iridescent in the category, went very strong, turning the race into a very long mule track. He placed 17th due to some road-book reading errors and some Ignition problems in his KTM. He also risked not finishing the race alone 2 km from the arrival in Dakar for a fall that left him unconscious for a few moments and with the bike almost destroyed.

OTHER ITALIANS Honour also to the other Italians who finished the very hard race: 24th Guido Maletti (Ben 11 Investments) With the Maletti 1998-1its Kawasaki KLX 650R, but he could have been higher in the rankings if he hadn't taken the nine-hour flat penalty for the electronic ignition malfunction. He did not lose heart and continued to rise in the positions. Gian Paolo Quaglino and his Honda XR400R ranked 29th. Quaglino is at Dakar Number 5 and it's the third that ends. Right behind, Aldo Winkler with the KTM 660. And’ one of the veterans with his eight holdings. The Turiner wins the fair-play award because, like a gregarious old, he generously gave to Giò Hall, blocked by electrical troubles and “Official” KTM, the spare electronic control unit of his Kappa.

And then it comes Roberto Boano (38but with 47 years behind), once a well-known crosser and now known as jarno and Ivan's father, much more than young hopes of the enduro. Made the Dakar with the trusted Honda Africa Twin, which is still a twin-cylinder but is light years away from the performance of the Yamaha that won; were nothing more than for the greater weight, the lower power and the different, and less sophisticated, suspensions. In 50th place Lorenzo Larry with his Suzuki DR 350. He did it all by himself, without a mechanic-co to help him, coming sometime late to the bivoiacks, but always spin-to from the solidarity of the other pilots.

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Dakar 86 – The diary of Aldo Winkler

After long preparations and emotions, a heck of a time stolen at work but it was not enough especially to work out the details on the bike. Departure for Paris arrival in Rouen and handling in the same city red tape of the race, momentum transfer at Versailles (that cold) a little episode when we departed we forgot the fact that it was cold and we had to make these gloves with the cross 60 kilometers to frost.

Three kilometres of ice, Unable to stand. Prologue won by Poles who mounted the studded tyres.

Three kilometres of ice, Unable to stand. Prologue won by Poles who mounted the studded tyres.

In Paris a few days allows the rolls, incidentally the rolls are a road book that is given in book form to put them inside the box of a laptop you have to shorten one sheet after another to do so they can be rolled and unrolled. You try to rest despite a big thrill and also tension that continues to rise. The prologue in 60 kilometers (under the snow) one beastly thing, the bike is very high without letting the slightest hand proves undriveable. the prologue takes (3 km) It shows an amazing thing was a sheet of ice with mud Rails under harsh, There are countless flights wasn't standing that grind the new bike already looks old destroyed by flights.

Aldo Winkler left, and beat Grassotti the protagonists of this adventure

Aldo Winkler left, and beat Grassotti the protagonists of this adventure

After a new year's not great because it's a little’ the tension a little’ the company, hovered the anxiety of departure. The first of January a severe cold on departure, I'm very excited, almost frightened when giving birth I didn't even dare to turn to greet Paoletta, I had the fear of not being able more starting. The first kilometers I make with Beat (Grassotti his Team-mates Ed), under bitterly cold that explains how anyone can go in motion. The departure from Paris is a very exciting thing seems to follow a human cordon from Paris to Thirst, all that say hello and celebrate, Unfortunately, the rush to get hurt this chance to get in touch with this enthusiasm. The first problems the cold and rain are preventing the engine to function well. Turns off constantly, crackles and not okay. This fact gives me incredible anxiety and I expect to stop at any time. At some point the engine stops and beat unaware of my stop. I try to get there traveling alone until Thirst (He also had problems and in the dark never saw him). It takes me a nostalgia as ever I was taken, wants Paoletta and emotion I cry under the helmet. I'm looking for something to write her and tell her that I love her but I don't find it. Meanwhile a Japanese on the bike number 2 (Yasuo Kaneko ndr) is hit by a car and dies instantly, see the incident and think that it could happen to me I held further, but now you have to erase this idea otherwise we leave more.

aldo7Arrival in Sete at 2 in the morning (We started at 8 the day before) embark the bike after many difficulties. We don't find Grisoglio (our assistance ndr) with our stuff and finally at 3 We go to sleep. Of course in Algiers after endless bureaucratic queues we start at 6 in the evening and it's almost dark, We expect 700 kilometers of transfer. It's raining and it's cold, We soaked, on a road made entirely of mountain curves with black asphalt without streaks where nothing could be seen. Beat was better than me and I'm stepping stone to him even if I couldn't anyway nothing. Luckily the road improves with the mileage and not raining anymore, We arrive at 2 am and we sleep on the ground. The anxiety of the bike that isn't working properly continues.

First stop hours 6.00 the departure. We start in reverse order, and this occurs across Algeria. Who is at mid-table Snatcher, Why must pass the first that are slow and overtaken by the latest that are fast, result travels constantly in the dust. All well and good until I break the trip master. Of course I get lost on a plain of small sand dunes filled with thousands of tracks in all directions. I reach Gilles Picard, I follow him, then I see Peak but I keep getting lost more and more. I am consoled by the fact that after a short time we form a group of thirty including the strongest in search of the right track. The first contact with the road book is disagreeable too many notes with text and drawings and a few kilometres in French. The first contact with Africa Tour is not bad, the food is good and it does too much tail but do not give the water!


Second stage: fire damper and many bottoming weaken the frame. Catch up with you anyway lnsah and here I wash in a hotel room by Boano. The track with many potholes and stones with fast sections, lnsalah-two special quick, I reach the machines, do not see anything. It's really dangerous because in the dust when you've passed have those 200 meters that run into thin air, an anguish. See pass next to you huge boulders, chasms and think "enough 1 Metro in there and now I wonder where I was "? Second special made with Beat, I wait because it breaks the joint is we end the special with rattano engines and are not nearly as.

The relationship of established with their bike becomes almost mystical, talk to him, beg, the fai confidences. Become a partner with whom you share the nature and all its expressions.

In the transfer to Tam splittin' mousse, we stop at a bar, Let's proceed to melt further the mousse. The asphalt is bad, interspersed with a runway full of ugly fesh fesh (impalpable sand) with big trucks under Rails caused by passage. At some point I no longer see Beat and although the mousse into pieces, I'm going back for about ten kilometers to her research, thinking it was dropped. I don't see it. I go back in the direction of Tam. Having always regret that Beat, knowing I had drilled, I would abandon. Looking back on those ten kilometers turned down looking for her, the fact that I had not found. Change the rubber and even as inflated air bladder, Luckily the assistance arrives and wheel change allotment manetta, still missing 150 km. It gets dark and break the headlights, and go in the dark with the light of the stars, and late night arrival in time not to take the deal in Tamarasset.

At the hotel I find Batti, and there's no time to wash. Stage I feel good in the stones on Assecrèm Tam Tam. Do I get a fright unbelievable to go in the dust an opponent, I leave the racetrack and step into a period with large stones to handcuff and I do a flight. In the air off the bike and helmet standing. Divine grace! I broke the nut that holds the shock to the frame, the brake Rod broke through the muffler. I finish the stage slowly continuing to not exploit engine, I suffer a lot of danger in overtaking after that fright.

"Ero talmente disperato che l'avventura fosse finita, I prayed that the assistance came. Armando replaced the engine and I left for the remaining 600 km, the night was waiting for me..

“I was so desperate that the adventure was over, I prayed that the assistance came. Armando replaced the engine and I left for the remaining 600 km, the night was waiting for me…”

Tam Agades, departure in a large river dried up full of Sand Springs, the engine Cove and hardens, continuous up to a piece of tough track where mollo a moment. The ignition is turned off. I'm stuck, and I begin to disassemble to replace to get it started, sudo all the water in the body, I can only remove the motor hoping it gets assistance. She comes to the 5.30 After waiting for six hours in a mixture of despair, resignation and pissed off. Hours of fire. engine and gearbox allotment scared of finding myself in the desert at night, not knowing where to go, step on the border with Niger, do I fill up from a truck in the desert. Continuous and I get lost. I no longer see traces and off piste between rocks stones and sand springs. I take the Monocle and I can see some lights I headed in that direction and I find the machines swept under the carpet. Gathering confidence and with this also the track, I reboot but I still missing 600 km upon arrival. I don't care to stay on the trail not to Miss. The track was a mixture of fech fech, soft sand and hard Rails due to the fact that all rally was already past including truck. Of course I'm reducing speed, the lack of visibility into the height of the bike, the track is an impressive set of difficulties. The falls are countless more, every fall you always enjoy effort to raise, Falla restart then, that effort!

"Ero stanchissimo, but still enjoyed the legendary Ténéré ..."

“I was so tired, but still enjoyed the legendary Ténéré…”

Fatigue assails me and I stop the truck Belgarda in need of repair and I sleep a to recover energies. Arrive back support, We share and I am heartened also by standing behind, make me light and when I fall it helps me get up. I can't stand it anymore, for a while’ of km driving Ciaudano (of care Ed) but I take the bike in time for the last 150 kilometers of asphalt to handcuff to arrive on time at eight and didn't take the penalty. At 8.30 allotment for the Special, I care only for a minute, I'm shocked and I don't take anything. Unfortunately it will be the last time that I see her. The stage of the Ténéré is going to be impressive but beautiful, you are in awe before the great desert, but the stage I find it easy. But the engine will harden again. I stop and let it cool down, shooting air and allotment going easy on the anguish that splitting and let me walk. At the slightest noise I am terrified, I speak to the bike, Please continue, clicking the last 150 kilometers in the dark until thankfully I see the lights of some cars that I show the way.

In the meantime I broke the chain joint, but I can get everything right surprise well with maximum

"JCO responsabile di Sonauto, great rider and Great Lord. I once helped him disinsabbiare his bike, Since then, even though it was a special stop to ask if everything was ok"

“JCO responsible for Sonauto, great rider and Great Lord. I once helped him disinsabbiare his bike, Since then, even though it was a special stop to ask if everything was ok”

calm. I sleep on the ground but the cold still remains persistent. I know I have bad teeth and hands with deep cuts for cold weather. Dirku-Agadem is the infamous stage, transverse dunes reported by some fallen bookends. The Wind clears the tracks, This is a very dangerous stage, the wave-shaped dunes at the Summit break sharply with sometimes perpendicular slopes. Not knowing the first dune I jump, making impressive jumps. In fact this stage causes many accidents, Mercandelli injures his shoulder, the Anquetil falls gashes shoulder trauma, the jaw, the teeth and the cheek bones. And dramatic look at a bloodbath. Beppe Gauri falls and breaks the ligaments of the knee. A Tatra trucks you Hood forward, and one of the drivers will remain paralyzed. Arrival in Agadem, that only proves a strong military in ruins in the middle of the desert. Don't get nothing to eat, talking the sleeping bag because of a mixup. With Beat I go to a well in 5 km and despair of the thirsty I drink not caring about anything.

Agadem – Zinder, this infamous stage, very long in a zig-zag of sliding bar of Sand Springs, the desert landscape slowly turns into Sahel 400 km facts in a few hours. Over the special we expect others 600 km of transfer. Here we see Baron just tumbled out of a nasty stretch of asphalt, Unfortunately remains irreversible coma for years because of this accident. With Beat I stop to eat at a shithole though we eat well in spite the place and we arrive late at night. My bike starts to consume oil.

"Giornata di riposo a Naimei, in albergo con tutti i privati italiani per sistemare le moto".

“Rest day in Naimei, in hotel with all private Italian to fix bikes”.

Zinder – Niamei: long transfer all of cross- 600 km eating the dust of machines that surpass us. I leave for the special but at the start I breaks the change. The bike remains in third on a track very sandy. Beat goes on and I don't like it, I'd be behind him to help him. Delivery very agitated and naturally fall continuously. You pit the tank and I lose gas like a fountain from the tap. I get up as quickly as possible in an attempt to repair the tank kicking better. I finish the special and transfer to Niamei of 200 km arrival late at night. Niamei closed, I find it to be welded on the frame and I lose the last hope to get through because we hoped that the assistance would come. One would expect a night of fire, I couldn't sleep all night because of the mosquitoes that we were eaten alive. In the morning we had the hands and face were swollen from mosquito bites. The Dakar has no mercy: departure at 4 in the morning.

Some moments immortalized in Dakar 1986. In the photo above the great Veronique Anquetil.

Some moments immortalized in Dakar 1986. In the photo above the great Veronique Anquetil.

Away by the previous night we got a special 450 km. I lose myself almost immediately and I completely just clueless in a terrible landscape shrubs, hillocks and Fords, with huge rifts. Luckily I find a car with a Japanese motorcycle racer and in their company don't despair takes over. Following Zaniroli we find the track but the orientation is very difficult. Find cars in the opposite direction to your, feeding your doubts. Bush must follow the tracks, but sometimes you cannot even trucks leave tracks, bend the shrubs and they straighten out like nothing ever. I no longer have the road book from Agades because were were on the truck assistance that never came. Arrival in late stage that it is night and the last kilometers full throttle for fear of the dark, but I fall several times. I ask all the water.

See the special Beat him too destroyed to such an extent that I have to start the bike. We are still waiting for 120 km of transfer and 160 Special that we do side by side, almost afraid. We walk almost a kilometer at a time, and falling in turn we all do 120 kilometers. We arrive at Gourmararus at 2 in the morning, everyone here is upset. Sabine helicopter crashed and died with four others. We are all overwhelmed. We start in the morning at 10 to make 1100 km to Bamako referred 160 of track. Here I see the chopper, was reduced to a cubic metre of metal! We arrive in Bamako at 3 At night, messed around and rush to get makes us pull on the asphalt.

Infinity pool a cow in the road that I hit to smear with shoulder. I saw the Horn in my throat. After this fright I slow down and put off Beat, My headlight is insufficient because the second lamp I gave it to him.

In the hope of getting Beat riaccellero. Not do I time to get cow scare myself a shooting without lights and reflectors stopped in the middle of the road. Big spaventoma now I got used to it. As usual arrival late at night. A few hours of sleep and awake again to go. 60 km of transfer and 700 km special and new 300 track transfer. Now we are discouraged. Beat no longer wants to leave, the organization is in the balloon, There is little medical care and two helicopters in less. Childbirth and special begins at 10. The track is slow to 40 kmh media, curves, Rails, holes, sand, in the Bush. The place is nice, but I am undecided whether to continue! I stop, I eat and share, Clap arrives but was totally on the ball, was loud crashing. Just, Decides to retire.

Boano con il suo meccanico "Garino".

Boano with his mechanic “Gabriel”.

With Boano and we are the only remaining Italian Germanetti, There we console and move on. We pick ourselves up again when we fall, Now you can't stop. We are in the middle of nowhere. The track is awful, slow and full of stones in the middle of the forest. Almost getting dark hole rear wheel, I try to repair it but I can't. The refit and seeking assistance in a small village. Hundreds of people surround me. It seems incredible that so many people can live in four huts of wood and hay. Help me and I can share. After a short time the mousse before gives way and the bike becomes undriveable besides the fact that meanwhile dropped the dark. Meeting a pilot with a broken leg do I console arrived assistance allotment.

I'm in a forest with dense vegetation, and the track is really ugly, stones, very deep water drains with the ascent with a fine powder that doesn't allow you to see the stones underneath. Characteristic are the bridges with four ACEs, or if you prefer there is deviation and you go into the water with large stones. The darkness and tension does not allow me to enjoy so much wonder. in a Ford I remain trapped because they mistake the ascent. When I see it I can't take this road well because there were deep furrows caused by truck. With the mud to the knees and the bike planted up to the wheels almost soaring the move of strength and finish the last energies. I put it in a vertical position and after endless kick starts and to boost I take off from the grip of the mud. Meanwhile, the chain was stretched to such an extent that it ran on that poor pinion now worn.

Beat Grassotti immortalized in Bamako, After a transfer zany.

Beat Grassotti immortalized in Bamako, After a transfer zany.

Continuation but cross your eyes for fatigue, I fall and remain under the bike without the strength to pull me up, with his foot under the bike. Look at that position a lot’ of time until fortunately passes an assistance of Cagiva and I set up. Allotment but shortly after I stop by now exhausted and I say goodbye to the race, and I'll jump on the floor to sleep. After a while’ of time the cold wakes me up and allotment, always with the front way mousse. Arrival in Labe at 1 p.m., and I can hear the happy news, was closed and the race was stopped, The next day I can share, are still in the race. Departure at 8 waiting for me 250 km of Mule-awesome, worse than Assecrem, stones, water drains Rails and climb steep slopes. If I was in Italy with a trials bike I would have that piece.

Gran Hotel Dakar :D

Gran Hotel Dakar :D

I do almost 600 meters on the edge of the precipice, on a wide strip 20 cm. Thankfully they end even those special kilometers and the next is about to begin. In fact, after the border I expect another of 400 km. Surprised to notice that after 200 km remained without oil! Now the engine goes to oil and a little’ of gasoline, Unable to go even at high rpm. I leave for the second special, but there are no with his head, I'm wrong a lot and do many straight wrong way. After a while I lose my perception of my speed, I seem to go slow instead going strong. I take a hole and then another, flashing forward, I do a flight of six meters and remain in the air for an infinity of time. I pass out. I just recovered the bike destroyed with a tap of the gas ripped through. The lie on the opposite side so you don't lose other gasoline and try to fix the leak. I'm shocked, Haggard, sore and scared. No lights, with still many kilometers to do in the dark.

"Ci sono momenti in cui si procede per inerzia, the isitnto of survival is the feeling that brings you back ..."

“There are times when we proceed by inertia, the isitnto of survival is the feeling that brings forth…”

I get back on my feet and I share in an attempt to get through the stage with light. Do other 20 km other hole, another meeting with the bike but this time I nosed ben 12 meters from the pit. This time I also hurt, Luckily nothing broken, but there are pains you. In retrospect i shudder. Now the bike is destroyed, Crooked, i lose my senses twice and I get a nosebleed. I take your senses after a long time. I recover and the first wish is to get to the end. I do what I can from now on is a challenge with myself and with my willpower. Surplus at a snail's pace to a village, where wonder of gasoline to finish the stage, Pago 10 liters 40 dollars, less and less of 500 Franks who wanted. I'm still 150 km but without lighting proceed is virtually impossible. I put myself in the middle of the road and stopped all asking you to follow me to enlighten the road. After receiving the refusal of nearly a dozen car, I find Peruvian participants that take as long to go fast because they are special and they don't want to lose positions.

"Il deserto ti presenta tante tipologie di difficoltà: from the sand dunes, from rocks to fech fech ..."

“The desert gives you many types of difficulties: from the sand dunes, from rocks to fech fech…”

I do what I can, unbeknownst of substantial risks with a motorcycle virtually undriveable. Arrival at 22 and amazingly I didn't even got the deal, but as soon as I stop collapse and suddenly feel the pain. I ask George to shelter the bike and I go to sleep, logically always for Earth. The next morning George tells me not to be able to repair the bike as well as decreased makes no sense continue. I insist, but there is nothing to do, abandon the race, but it still doesn't do I need a reason. I take three rations of Africa Tour and go to the station. Elargisco a tip a guy who tells me what to do. The bureaucracy to carry the bike is a Babel infinite, Finally seems to have solved everything, I just have to wait for the train. Luckily I see two Italians, working for FAO, reassure me and I guarantee you will take home. They feed me and take me back to the station. Strengths we load the bike on a freight train smelly and full of stones. Finally I sleep and even the stones seem to a comfy bed.


There I download the bike helped by some fellow travellers, I find a cab and incredibly the roof load. The taxi was fetid, but at least I was put back in motion. Night falls and the taxi stops at the crossroads of the entrance of the city of Dakar. The taxi driver takes me in the square that was also the bus and kindly offers me a latte at a bar frequented by shady characters. Finally the taxi driver decides to start afresh and takes me where I had booked the hotel before leaving, hoping that someone had already arrived.

A small regret, If I had broken down I would arrive at the bottom. In fact the stage which left from Kaies came undone and the Organization decided to avoid Mauritania and go in convoy from Kaies in Sant Luis, before taking the runway on arrival. Damn!

Source: Aldo Winkler's facebook page

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Prologo maldetto! Aldo Winkler Dakar 1988

Departure to Paris so proud to be in the team Honda Italy B had found even the sponsors but this photo reminds me of a dramatic prelude, the bike rattava the prologue and this photo shows that I wanted to work on it but here at little squalificarmi's a janitor comes to scold me threatening my life if I hadn't gone. The next day I will regularly, and I'll do 800 km in the cold and ice with broken with the bike that was a little’ accelerated. In 5 km from the Eiffel Tower sthe rear brake drum shoes scollarono, and I had to remove the wheel to make it free. After 300 km will break the chain, the giuntai and after another 30 km the chain was still cracked.

I softened the bike to some viewers and a polite gentleman with the machine he took at breakneck speed I'm taking Highway at the head of the rally because the trucks were leaving for first, I give a chain and I went back to repair the bike. Resumed the race all sweaty and LY, but it was in extreme lateness practically last and from time! Trying to catch up with the bike in these conditions I went as hard as possible, in the heat I jumped a stamp control (Pena 2 penalty hours) and I got to take Cale Marseille, and while was fixing to fix it definitively I took an ankle boots in an attempt to start it without recoil. I got on the ferry aching with 2 penalty hours and destroyed by fatigue and tension. Honda trucks Italy retreated and Honda France gave support to Italian riders but I was excluded, the airborne mechanic fell ill and returned to Italy. I found myself without assistance and without mechanical. You will think: how much bad luck! You and true but the most important thing and that I got 19° Dakar and without the two-hour penalty would do 12°!
How many memories in this simple picture…

Text by Aldo Winkler

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Private Italian in Dakar 1988

Beppe Gauri on his Suzuki DR650

Beppe Gauri on his Suzuki DR650

Fourteenth absolute, and best Italian private in Dakar, Beppe Gauri is unique in boasting private title. He was just a mechanic by plane (the famous Annapurna, little one to save space) and some cash distributed among truckers who rented the space.

"It was tough – commented the bergamasco – the hardest of my experiences. Fortunately my Suzuki DR 600 he marched as a clock, without ever reporting trouble. But I worked harder than ever: This race is becoming a real beast for pilots who do not have a real team behind, with the masseur, numerous spare parts and more».

Aldo Winkler, He has hired a single officer of the year and leaned at Honda Italy, He had fewer problems; but he paid for a three-hour penalty by jumping a control passage between Paris and boarding: three hours that ultimately weighed on placement.

Aldo WInler on Honda to Set

Aldo Winkler on Honda to Set


"This race — summed up in Dakar — asks the pilot increasing concentration. I'm often asked: but who made me do? And I must say that I was not trained because of work commitments keep me busy all year round. But it is a fascinating race: in a few months I'll die from the desire to restart-King, Although today I am dead tired».

Bruno Birbes is the private “rich”: with two associates bikers has put together a budget of 300 million and was assisted by a personal truck and two mechanics by plane. BMW dealer in Brescia, raced the twin finishing nineteenth.

"I arrived in Dakar for the first time — says Charles Edson — but also modified. I swear a grind like I have no intention of sobbarcarmela. Saved me the experience».

Bruno Birbes on his BMW

Bruno Birbes on his BMW

Only eight Italians were able to get to the bottom of the Paris-Dakar. See them coming night after night, dead tired and covered with dust, with many adventures to tell each bivouac, It was great and exciting.

Source Motorcycle Racing
Special Tks Stefano Magician for the article

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Group photos Dakar 1988

Italians in Dakar, standing from the left Fatemian, Charles Edson, Orioli, Terruzzi and Gates. Kneeling Spike, Gauri and Winkler.



Cover Magazine Motosprint 1989

Cover of the weekly magazine Motosprint dedicated to Franco Picco and adventure of Aldo Winkler dispersed in the desert.


A history of wilderness and fear with a happy ending, signed Aldo Winkler

Mario and Giorgio have done for me line up on the phone, calling me once I get my turn. It took a while’ time to talk with Paola because the operator was struggling to take the international line and had to repeat several times the number. For three days my wife received from me in cursorily, but all in all reassuring. We talked, disturbed by the presence of people in the queue. I offer another cigarette and smoke it again while answering questions and greetings to those who did not expect to see me cross the threshold of the Sofitel Gaweye Hotel of Niamey. When he finally Let's Eat is past midnight. The hotel restaurant is closing, but agree to make an exception to the rule. And’ Smart and clean: but I still wearing the outfit, boots included.

Touch the gri gri de la bonne route, the good-luck charm that for five years, Since I attend a competition in Africa, I always tied at waist, and I cannot but admit that her role as "Guide" has done this time too. I haven't eaten in four days, but I'm not hungry and I'm surprised a little’ I feel rather than have the stomach stuck. But when it's smoked salmon devour him in a Flash and I do the same with the grilled Tenderloin and French fries. The last meal, If you could call it, I did on the evening of 2 January in Termit dividing a piece of bread and a little’ with Roberto Boano. At the camp there was no truck of Africatours so we were left without dinner. Did not bring even the water and the only ration I could find was the half litre given to me by the service truck-Aprilia. With that I started towards Agadez on the morning of 3 January.

Meanwhile, a growing number of people around me who wants to listen to my story of ' Survivor ' and I start to tell reverting to a few tens of kilometers from the start… My Honda starts to burst, then turns off. I think they're clogged jets, or dirty fuel filter. Clean each other, and allotment for a track with many tracks. At least here will pass someone. I headed to la Falaise of Roaming until, near a large dune, the tracks cut eastwards. The signs of the road book however are different and I decide to follow them. I am not alone, on the sand i see the signs of the passage of three other motorcycles.

The engine shuts off again a little further on and again breaks down once cleaned the jets and the petrol filter. I reach an erg full of dunes and the engine shuts down again. The wind blows strong, and when I completed the ritual cleaning of the carburetor, He completely erasing your tracks. I decide to go back, to resume the longest joke. When I reach the oued of Egadò is now dark, so I decide to stop there to spend the night. I'm alone and I start to work on the bike in peace, scattering the pieces a little’ everywhere. I remove the saddle, I clean the air filter, the carburetor. I haven't finished replace when I approach the silent three guys, dressed in bright clothing. I'm hostile, but I realize only once gone taking with them my gloves, other things I had scattered here and there and especially the bottle with its precious water content. We lacked even this. I console myself thinking that I still have with me a sleeping bag.

The first light of day are already up. Rewind fast sleeping bag, do one last checked and put into motion. I walk the oued until crossing the tracks left by the passage of the race. I'm on the right track. Another fifteen kilometers and the bike stops again. This time permanently. Broke the brass housing of the main Jet. With the carburetor under these conditions it is utopian to think of leaving. I keep lambiccarmi the brain on a disconsolate carburetor, then I decide to turn the balise. Is something I wouldn't do. How to shoot the switch you are officially out of the race. Your Dakar is over. But considering that while the ride is firm to Agadez to the rest day I'm stuck here I don't see alternatives. Actions the fateful switch and wonder a bit’ because the red light stays off. I am convinced that only lights up to signal the last six hours of battery life which controls the functioning, and that the TSO is already aware of my position. I'll never know during the days spent in the desert that balise is broken and does not send any signals.

After a couple of hours I rather the evidence to the contrary when I see pass over my head a plane in your organization who sees me and sends me a message. I have to write my race number on the sand, and stay close to the bike. I'm on the right track and the truck broom will meet me. The plane leaves without letting me have. Nothing to eat and especially anything to drink. The thirst begins to be felt and the little water that I have taken away the tuareg. However I have localized and send relief efforts. I begin to speculate on truck balai, on how long it will be before your arrival. Cabbage, I tell myself, I lost the race, but patience. Even Gauri is withdrawn and will be waiting to Agadez. Once together we could get back on track, with the service truck, We could retrieve the bike, fix it, and cross the Tenere from tourists. I never have and idea fascinates me. Then we can proceed to Dakar, take the bikes and return to Italy.

It's just one of my many thoughts. The head blending to thousands and the time never goes. I think back to a book on the life of the tuareg and how they spend entire days in the desert properties like stones. I try to imitate them, but with poor effect.

I find myself counting the minutes, the second and with the slow passing of hours my confidence to see appearing the truck of salvation begins to fade. After dark the feeling of isolation is even greater, and decreases the hope. Begins to take shape the awareness that I might die. Not afraid, resignation.

You are welcome, I cry, I tell myself that I didn't give it to the people that I love all you deserve. I think a lot, Too much. I thinking that my wife will remain alone. Do I testament, dictating my last will and Testament on the pages of the logbook I have inside your wallet. Not a true testament. Is a letter to Paola. A love letter. I can get to sleep and when I sleep I dream falls, bathtubs, mineral water. Only aquatic dreams, but you can understand. I suffer thirst even more of solitude. At Sunrise starts my 3rd day scattered. Are increasingly pessimistic about the chance of being found. I'm starting to think the truck may have already passed two days before balai where I am right now. I stopped by while I was camped on the oued in a then-China kilometers away. Might also be finished off course, as indeed was, and never go more to get.

I spend the morning in searching, then I decide to move. Tomorrow I might be too weak to do it, But today coming back for fifteen kilometres will rejoin the oued where I met the tuareg and maybe I'll find a drink.

There are now three days I don't drink, his lips are dry and burns your throat. Shuffle all my stuff, and before we leave, I draw a big arrow, with the tip pointing in the direction in which I set out. Then I load on his shoulders the sleeping bag. From that I really don't want to separate myself. I thought a very short ride in motion. Walking is a tremendous gear. Journey plan for ri-save energy. What interests me is to get there before dark.

I'm luckier than I expected. After six hours of walking I reach the oued ed instead of the tuareg rogue I find a very family friendly and welcoming. The man is old, much older than the woman living with him and five children, three males and two females. Don't speak French, but we intend to gestures. They understand that I'm very thirsty and give me to drink. Non-water, as I'm dreaming for three days, but camel milk. And milked from morning and curdle in its metal case. Has a sour taste, strong, almost disgusting, but is my salvation. The smallest child is sick, have a fever. I offer to give her an aspirin and the father accepts. I realize how this meeting has loosened the tension, how she rekindled hope. No more lonely. Are only abandoned. Now I have to find a way to get out of trouble. From a difficult dialogue with the tuareg emerge precise directions. You can reach Agadez traveling for twelve days by camel or you cross the asphalt road in Tanak and in this case the journey is much shorter: just five days.

I decide to settle for starting the next morning towards Tanak and while we try to understand the three tuareg who robbed. I explain to the old my misadventure but I regret it because now claims that I returned the stolen goods. The result is a violent and incomprehensible dispute followed by a start to Brawl, but fortunatamene you stop to threats. I returned everything, except the canteen which let to their camp, distance 10 km. My attempts to explain that it's not the bottle to be interested but only go back home as soon as possible fall into the void.

The tuareg makes it a matter of principle and tomorrow we set off by camel only after rescuing.

An operation that will unnecessary extra walking comporte, but my guide doesn't want to listen to reason. Meanwhile I spend time making myself useful. Shelter a water bottle made with an air Chamber by truck using patches that I had with me to remedy any punctures. An operation that increases my popularity in the family. Live from tuareg fascinates me and surprise me.

Don't eat anything. They eat camel milk, tea, who drink several times a day following a ceremonial complex. To prepare the drink is the man. Is heat a container of water in the ashes. Once warm, the transferred into another container with the tea leaves and from that to a more. Decanting follow each other endlessly before finally getting the glasses. The father realizes the ropes using bundles of grass. My first night by tuareg is not as hard as the two from dispersed. It will take time and patience, but I will get to the asphalt and salvation. By camel. The next day I would like to start at dawn, but there is the bottle to be recovered and to carry out the mission goes almost the whole morning. The tuareg,no hurry and are slow, extremely slow. And inutile che mi agitate. I'm one of them and I have to adapt to their rhythms. Rather I try to learn to ride the camel, but it's not easy. I would be ready for the first leg, but still no one part.

Passes noon and I keep looking at the clock. Are the 12.35 When I pass overhead a plane of Dakair. There I was hoping for more. I look at it, but don't try to attract attention. I looked at him fixedly and nor do I think for a moment the possibility of not being seen. Passes on me again, and I understand that I must report my presence. I'm starting to get excited, and I write my number on the sand. Also point out that I need food. I threw a message and an energy ration. In the package, reached after many peripe-aunts, There's a reassuring promise: "in an hour and a half will be taking the helicopter». I'm sure this time will keep the word. My friend Tuaregs can do without escort me in and I will be back to full speed Tanak Agadez. The helicopter is punctual and before stepping abandonment to wind the testament.

When we land in Agadez Dakair managers, who coordinated the research, I'm happy as I am that this bad adventure is over. They too have slept very little and are tired. Just Uncorked a bottle of champagne and a glass to make me shoot a little’ the head. Then we all start at a time of Niamey. With me there's Beppe Gauri who collaborated with Dakaír in rescue operations following especially my research. In a few hours they are before the grilled tenderloin with potato now safe. I try to answer all questions and I think I'd be much happier if you are interested in me because I managed to win a stage, Maybe just a fluke.

I think I would not have wanted to leave the motorcycle in the desert, because Mario, My mechanic, He had worked so hard to get it ready to race. It was a beautiful bike, but old. It's only for this which has broken. Why was old.

I also think that this experience has given me much, more than if I had finished the race, that photos taken with the automatic along with the Tuaregs will be among the most valuable of my album. I think that this experience has left its mark, that something in me has changed. If I return to Paris-Dakar? Leave me a little’ time to think about it.


source motosprint
Photo motosprint and archive fb Aldo Winkler