A world champion arrives on foot Camelia Liparoti is not the kind of woman who likes to complain. 2009 quad racing world champion in rally raid, she crossed the finish line in a quite interesting way yesterday: pushed by kids who were bare...
A world champion arrives on foot
Camelia Liparoti is not the kind of woman who likes to complain. 2009 quad racing world champion in rally raid, she crossed the finish line in a quite interesting way yesterday: pushed by kids who were bare chested or sported the jerseys of the Argentina soccer team. "It is rather funny actually. It's an anecdote, not a catastrophe." A former ski champ, Camelia is also a photographer and columnist for magazines like "Quad technique" and "Quad4"; she enjoys life and is never depressed: "On the long straight stretch, in an easy section, my engine died... twice! Twice I put myself in third gear and people pushed me. And then, about 1km from the finish line, which I could see, impossible to move!" She bursts out in laughter, rearranges her pony tail and Camelia, the Quad Lady, looks back on her second Dakar and summarizes it in a few words: "I made mistakes navigating and I dropped to the bottom of the standings. But slowly but surely I came back; I would have loved to at least do something in a stage... not win, just do well. To be in a better position in the standings." More comfortable this time around than for her first participation thanks to a fantastic 2009 season, Camelia only arrived once "in pieces" as she puts it. It was in Iquique. "I took the big sand slide at night. The race HQ was telling me to rest but I was fine." A familiar noise roars in our ears. Assistance has brought the quad's engine back to life. Camelia puts her helmet back on - a Lazer helmet with feminine pink drawings: "I like it. It's kind of sexy. I believe you have to stay feminine, even here. So I am a little woman on a little quad."
Henri Magne Trophy: Wouter Rosegaar gets rewarded
Since last year, Nani Roma has taken the initiative with the organizers of the rally raid to hand in an award to a deserving co-pilot who gets rewarded either for his behavior on track, or for his commitment to the less-well-known job of navigator. The trophy bears the name of Henri Magne, double Dakar winner as co-pilot to Kenjiro Shinozuka (1997) and Jean-Louis Schlesser (2000), who died racing the Morocco Rally in 2006 on board the car he shared with Nani Roma: "I know that Henri really wanted to defend the status of co-pilots and that he wanted to encourage young people to have a go at that job as a job of choice. So this year, we chose to give the Trophy to Wouter Roosegar, who is obviously a very talented co-pilot already as he is ranking 15th on the eve of the finish line." Talking about early starts, the Dutchman is a typical example: he is only 26 and this year's is his fourth Dakar with a 100% success rate. The years that seperate him and his driver Tonnie Van Deijne have no influence on their friendship. And the trophy awarded at the end of the rally might even strengthen it further: "I am both very surprise and very proud of being awarded the trophy," admitted the young man humbly.
"Cali", the pro of the last place
In terms of pugnacity, Christian Califano can now be called the master. After leaving the rally raid exhausted and with a stitched up tongue in 2009, he decided to have another go at it in 2010. Hit by the thrill of the ride even through the painful experience, the former rugby player prepared his rally raid with a mentor of choice - to say the very least - Cyril Despres and opted for the humility needed to master the raid, making the most of the good advice of the two-time Dakar winner. "Cali" was however not spared by the hard times during the two weeks of this year's rally. On the eve of the finish line, he even went through moments of doubt: "I almost withdrew twice today again because the stage was far from easy. In the sand dunes in the beginning, I got stranded in the sand, unable to move the bike because I was exhausted. I felt really depressed for about an hour but then I hopped back on and had another go at it. Then I stuck my wheel in a tree and the time it took for me to get it out seemed like eternity. Now I know that the finish is not very far but I won't even think about it!" At the end of the raid, the former international rugby player might get the symbolic award of being the last man in the general standings: "Of course, where I am in the standings is completely meaningless, but it would be great for Cyril to be first and for me to be last. Had we wanted to arrange that, we would have been unable to do it."