Haute-Vienne is on its way to commemorate Hubert Auriol, the great man of Paris-Dakar

La Haute-Vienne sur la route de l

On January 10, 2021, Paris-Dakar driver and former manager Hubert Auriol (1995-2004) passed away. To pay homage to this man who shared the best as well as the darkest moments of this indescribable human adventure, the veterans and fans of this rally decided to create the “Hubert Auriol Classic” in his memory. It’s also an opportunity to revive a rally, its name has now been cut from its first stage and it no longer tastes like it used to.

23 motorcycles and 9 cars, despite “several departures due to fuel supply problems,” condemn Xavier Picard, member of the organization and moderator of yesterday’s Dakar blog. It is not enough to overshadow the event that brought so many people together on the roads, [on] see people on our way. It is a picture of a certain French nostalgia for Paris-Dakar”.

Most of the cars participating in the Hubert Auriol Classic are driven by ex-Paris-Dakar drivers. One of the existing cars crossed the sand dunes of the Sahara in 1982.

Between the two compliments, he openly discusses the two wheels, but also the good old days. Anecdotes instantly published by André and Jacky would be wrong to leave aside. For these two cyclists “always in the basket”, this commemorative rally brings an entire era to life. “The men were outfitted like road workers, this has nothing to do with today’s equipment. So when they landed here completely frozen, we waited for them with a pot of mulled wine we had prepared,” recalls André, holding his seventeen motorcycles. “I didn’t want to throw them away, I love them so much. Even the person I passed the license to “continues with the naughty blue eyes of sixties.When André passed his two-wheeler’s license, he went there on a motorcycle. The time of cheats, not “hooligans”, corrects the curious.

Enthusiasts, who came to relive the most legendary period of the rallies, took their places on the track with helmets under their arms and jackets wrapped around their bodies. A guard of honor, made up of old and new members from the world of two-wheelers, arrives to greet Christophe Meillat, largely the 1997 marathon category winner and local boy. Christophe Meillat had not ridden his KTM since winning the marathon in 1997.

There’s a hustle and bustle around the ex-champion, who just stepped into the parking lot of his hotel, Florida. “Christophe, a photo? Selfie? “. Christophe Meillat has a hard time hiding his feelings under his thick biker shell. He was the first to arrive on the scene, outstripping his comrades by twenty minutes, not expecting such a welcome. Still shaken by the departure ceremony held in Versailles that morning in the presence of Hubert Auriol’s daughter and grandchildren, the pilot said a few words with misty eyes: “Today is also a tribute to Paris-Dakar. I had a great career, but now it’s over for me.

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The hugs are tied together, it’s hard to clear the way for the driver who never strays away from his KTM. “I won with him in 1997” and today pays tribute to Hubert Auriol with him.

Sarah Younan

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