Interview of 2005 to Franco Zotti and remembrance of Meoni

They had met several years ago. Before junior enduro Championship, then in the Tuscan League of the same specialty. Were the 1980s.

On one side was the goriška region «a little’ Gascon and always ready to joke», on the other, the Florentine «sloppy and explosive physicist».

Goriška was Franco Zotti. The Florentine, Instead, the name of Fabrizio Meoni, whose life has gone off in the South of Mauritania, in the final stage of the Paris-Dakar. Different characters but sharing the same «passion» for wheels with claws.

Who won?
"The races were always very hard fought – Remember -. When it got to push, Fabrizio pulled back. He had grit for sale but was also very technical». Zotti barely holds back the tears. "I was born a son. But he died a friend», says. Councilman-biker, In fact, has just celebrated the birth of Ari (in honor of beauty therapy Ari Vatanen) but his heart is broken for the death of Fabrizio Meoni. The two – In addition to racing enduro National Championships – have in common the participation in various editions of the Paris-Dakar. "But we never crossed. He started later and now with official means», Remember sighing.

I remember canned Fabrizio Meoni?
"He was a true sportsman. Loyal, Serio, a professional from head to toe. He also had an excellent technique. Ah, How many challenges in the Junior Championship! Though, even though we were opponents, We have always been friends. In our environment all value and respect all».

The Dakar, though, have you ever crossed.
"No. He started later despite his age is more or less the same (Zakaria has 45 years, Meoni had 47, Ed). Fabrizio, though, He entered through the front door, with factory bikes».

She, Instead, she competed also from private?
"I have taken part in six editions of the Dakar, from 1988 at 1993: four times in motion (riding Honda 600 XR and 250 XR and two Suzuki 800), Once on board a truck Mercedes Unimog and, the last, driving a Daihatsu Feroza. Unique experiences, unique».

The Dakar has a special charm…
"It's a grueling competition and risky. Those who participate must take into account that you might not come home. And don't think that accidents are always spectacular. The Dakar you die, sometimes, because of stupid accidents. I still remember the death of poor motorcyclist giapponenese Nomoto».

As he lost his life?
"We had just travelled from Paris on new year's Eve. Was the 1988. Nomoto, After few kilometers, It was centered in the Middle by a car driven by a drunk. He died instantly: He didn't even have time to see the desert. And then I can not forget the terrible death of fellow travellers: they sleep under a truck, the pilot – the morning after – sailed and li swept. I could mention dozens and dozens of other cases. In 1988 died 10 people among pilots, organizers and locals, the year after fifteen '.

And the experience is not enough. As evidenced by the death of Mahmoud.
"The desert is a traitor. The pitfalls are everywhere. Only where I was sure to find flat desert run, also reaching the 150 per hour. In other areas, the pace was more tranquilla: having no assistance, I couldn't afford to break the bike. The big, Instead, whizzing at high speed. Their goal is to win, My was to arrive in Dakar».

And in Dakar we arrived with the tiny Honda 250.
«Incredible satisfaction. No Rider in the history of the Dakar was able to go to the end with a bike so small. For me it was a victory».

One last memory of Meoni?
"I was impressed her sentence that this would be his last Dakar. A sentence almost prophetic. Hello, Dear Fabrizio».

Interview with Francis Fain



Patricia Wolf, Honda XR250

Patricia Wolf and Frank Zotti: Dakar goal centered with success!

Friends dakariani, We found among the dusty stacks of magazines, an interview with Motosprint to Franco Zaki and the late Patricia Wolf. There seemed dutiful and respectful to not give it a space on this site.

The Paris-Dakar race is a race hard enough in itself, but there is always someone who decides to complicate it further with some outlandish idea as to leave the French capital on three wheels, in sidecar or trike, or relying on reduced power of a 125 or a 250, being then to flounder at walking pace in the sand.

Usually these initiatives where they believe little even the same protagonists, that reflect the way home after a few days of Africa. Make exception to the category Franco Zotti and Patricia Wolf, departed from Italy to reach Dakar Edition 1989 riding two Honda XR 250 four-stroke.

"I did it because if you get to the finish line with a 600 you're Nobody explains Zaki — while finishing the race with a quarter of a litre is worth something more».

Gorizia, Twenty-nine years, Zakaria is the second Dakar after a brief participation in the 88, of which you spoke because to try to increase the budget jumped into water from a high bridge 22 metres. This year instead of to finance itself has quit his job…

«Risk his life by jumping into a river to raise pennies is madness, for this I gave up. I quit my job and settling for the ten years that I worked as ma-gazziniere I paid membership. For the bike, the mechanic and the expenses I made of debts. Once home I'll find another job and to pay. Isn't it crazy. Everyone has their dreams and if I arrive in Dakar I will have fulfilled my».

For Patricia Wolf instead, to run with a 250 wasn't exactly a choice. "In reality, After the course the Pharaons Rally didn't even come to Dakar the idea came when I was at the car dealership will run in to order the bike with which Ormeni 89 Maximum Orme-ni offered me to participate with a bike identical to that of Zamindar that was ready. I couldn't refuse».

27-year-old German Darmstadt, Patrizia is coming to Italy three years ago for one of his first races and hasn't most gone.

"I started running in the enduro in Germany, but is Bergamo the capital of this specialty, so I stop-ta finding a sponsor in IPA (a company that manufactures prefabricated) that today is also the company I work for. Eventually I'll have to leave Dakar but basically my favorite specialty is enduro. To run just a motorcycle and away, without much trouble to support».

Graduated in architecture at the University of Frankfurt, ipersportiva (to train practical jogging and cycling), Patrizia discovered in Africa love of motorcycles. It was in Algeria, in Tamanrasset, to practice free climbing, another of his favorite specialties, and he saw every day some biker departing or returning from the slopes. Until someone didn't try. "I enjoyed it very much and so I ended up changing sport, also because I came back from Africa all flayed for a fall while climbing a wall and because I no longer friends with the same passion».

His second Paris-Dakar rally was the only woman in the race. Traveling at a speed that in the sand does not exceed 60 km/h frank and Patrizia travel one side by side, helping each other to get out of trouble when needed. Shoulders have a bundle of seven to eight pounds between tools and replacement parts. All you need for luck. The imperative is to stop only in Dakar.

Ed. Franco and Patrizia regularly arrived in Dakar on their little Honda, at 31° and 32° position, on 60 bike to the finish!