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The bikes they rode were five V50’s with only the strictly necessary modifications: the bikes were fitted with Marzocchi magnesium forks, rear shock absorbers with an increased run of 105 mm, exhausts that were redirected through under the tank and between the two cylinders in order to protect the manifolds against potential bumps, saddles that were borrowed from the V1000 I-Convert, while the tanks came from the V7 Sport and had been enlarged to hold 30 litres of fuel.
Die Motorräder, die sie fuhren, waren fünf V50 mit nur den unbedingt notwendigen Modifikationen: Die Räder wurden mit Magnesiumgabeln von Marzocchi, hinteren Stoßdämpfern mit einer erhöhten Weg von 105 mm. Der Auspuff verlaeuft unter dem Tank und zwischen den zwei Zylindern. Das schützt die Krümmer vor möglichen Stößen. Sättel, die von der V1000 I-Convert geliehen wurden, während die Tanks aus dem V7 Sport kamen und für 30 Liter Treibstoff vergrößert wurden.
Die ganze Story:
THE DAWN OF THE PARIS TO DAKAR
It was back in November 1978 that one particular bike immediately drew the attention of curious bystanders at a motocross circuit near Paris. Its V-twin engine and unusual size created a stir, but it didn’t take long to recognise what kind of bike it was: it was in fact the Moto Guzzi TT500 prototype, one of a squadron of 5 bikes that were about to leave to go and take part in the legendary and very first Paris to Dakar Rally.
The team came together thanks to a combined passion, and an organisational miracle (given the extremely short lead-time) achieved by the French importer Seudem, who got Martine Rénier, Eric Breton, Piatek, Bernard Rigoni and Alain Le Grand to the starting grid. The bikes they rode were five V50’s with only the strictly necessary modifications: the bikes were fitted with Marzocchi magnesium forks, rear shock absorbers with an increased run of 105 mm, exhausts that were redirected through under the tank and between the two cylinders in order to protect the manifolds against potential bumps, saddles that were borrowed from the V1000 I-Convert, while the tanks came from the V7 Sport and had been enlarged to hold 30 litres of fuel.
It didn’t take long for the public’s curiosity to turn into total surprise: having touched down on Algerian soil, the 5 Moto Guzzis soon proved to be the fastest bikes there, thanks to their excellent stability and a higher top speed than that of all of the single-cylinder competitors. However, the euphoria disappeared just as quickly as it began, when some of the technical limitations of such a strictly “on-road” bike began to surface.
The drive-shaft restricted the range of movement of the rear wheel, which was still one of the standard-equipment alloy wheels (the idea of changing to a spoked-wheel was discarded due to the cost and a lack of time) as was the swingarm. Potholes and gravel surfaces are merciless and the bikes’ handling suffered accordingly, as did the wellbeing of the rear wheels.
Notwithstanding all their best efforts, Rénier and Piatek took a couple of falls and were obliged to retire. Le Grand and Breton instead pulled out due to problems with their bike frames, but the biggest surprise of all was Bernard Rigoni, who arrived, smiling and totally unruffled, at the famous Pink Lake of Dakar in 48th position overall (there were no separate bike and car sections in those days).
A very worthy result, especially considering the technical features of the bikes and the fact that only 74 drivers made it to the finish line.
The Moto Guzzi squadron returned to the Paris to Dakar in 1981 and again in 1982, with new bikes, still derived from the V50, and new riders (1981: Noël Petit and Jacques Verley. 1982: Alain Deimart, Gérard Licari and Alain Demoor), none of whom, however, managed to finish the race.
Südafrika - STELVIO '13 - MG750S '74 - Kawa KLE650 '15
Schweiz - STELVIO '12
Motorrad Vermietung www.sunnymototours.com
Gästehaus Kapstadt www.alphabed.co.za