Usually he is laconic. Prefers to listen carefully to the interlocutor. A few specific questions during the conversation and a short monologue – this is the usual style of conversation between the president of the International Centaur Association Grigory Nikishkin.
But today it is hard to recognize. For more than two hours now, he has been talking, stopping only occasionally in order to sip tea or listen to some extra urgent information on the radiotelephone.
A few days ago, Gregory returned from the Paris-Dakar rally, in which he participated as a full-fledged racer, and decided to share his conclusions and observations, in a word, to throw out a load of impressions. Suddenly I catch myself thinking: but with his heart he is still there – in a race, in the mountains of Spain, on the rocky plateaus of Morocco, in the sands of Mauritania and the savannahs of Senegal … Maybe what he says will seem interesting and instructive for those our compatriots, who, in a year, may want to repeat the risky experience of pioneers and go to the start of this prestigious race, having managed to avoid the annoying mistakes and mistakes made in the first “journey of amateurs.” So, a word to an eyewitness and a participant in the events …
And it all started like that …
In motorsport, I am a beginner. True, I have the qualifications of a second-class driver, therefore, since I began to engage in serious business, I prefer to drive my own Rolls-Royce myself. In the last year I was carried away by off-road jeeps.
My dream has always been to participate in the famous race. If in the sports news releases they showed reports from the Paris-Dakar rally, I literally became numb and tightly stuck to the TV. Naturally, when the opportunity arose, I could not help but attend the start of the next race, which, according to tradition, left Paris on January 1. It was in 1994. Here, from conversations with riders and rally organizers, it suddenly turned out that almost anyone could participate in such a prestigious competition as Paris – Dakar. I thought – there only purely professionals drive there. And then they say: “Get the car ready. Declare. And, welcome, to the start. ” Of course, I caught fire! The decision was made instantly …
However, to begin with, apparently, some explanations should be given – in particular, what is a rally, or raid, Paris – Dakar, which for seven years has been occupying an honorable third place in the list of the most popular and massive races after Formula 1 and sailing regattas .
For the first time, an international auto-motorcycle caravan started from Paris in the direction of the Black Continent on January 1, 1979 under the leadership of the main “instigator” of the raid – the famous French car and motorcycle racer Thierry Sabin, who died seven years later in Africa, on January 14, 1986, at one of the stages of the “Dakar”, or simply “Daka”, as this intercontinental run is also called.
The circle of participants in the rally is expanding every year. This circle included such world-famous racers as the Finn Ari Vatanen, the Belgian Jackie X, the French Cyril Neve and Hubert Oriol. And also people who., Having become famous in other fields, retained the spirit of romance, a thirst for risk and a passion for adventure, such as members of the august Monaco House Carolina, Stefano and Albert, or Mark Thatcher, the son of an unbroken “iron” lady Margaret – however, you will not list all.
The largest international corporations and firms consider it an honor to invest a lot of money in organizing and conducting Dakar: for example, the notorious German company Telefunken, the official sponsor of Dakar-87, laid out a very tidy sum that year – 6 million francs , no more, no less.
Like any sporting event, Dakar consists of high-profile victories and bitter defeats. But not only – tragedies happened at the race at different times: in its “black list” there were already twenty dead and countless injured. And not only among the participants: for example, in 1982, in a Malian village, which stood just in the way of the raid, a local boy died – he played on the road, and, of course, he was accidentally hit by a car rushing at crazy speed, in dust clubs, . The same misfortune happened two years later in Burkina Faso, the former Upper Volta: under similar circumstances – gape on the side of a country road, a mother with a baby was killed.
In other words, the Paris-Dakar rally is full of drama, a multi-day, multi-labor, intense endurance contest – both of people and cars, shrouded in a halo of genuine, vibrant romance.
There are five offsets in Dakar – respectively for two types of cars: jeeps of three different classes, manufactured by such world-famous companies as Citroen, Nissan, Land Rover, AvtoVAZ and Mitsubishi; trucks coming off the assembly lines of no less famous Mercedes, KamAZ and Tatra. As well as motorcycle brands “Honda”, “Yamaha”, “Kajiva” and others.