In 1980 four guys participated in the Paris-Dakar Rally on Vespa´s. The scooters were heavily modified, the contestants had big sponsor agreements and a support-crew were available with parts, tools and professional mechanics. They experienced a horde of problems, and some of them even had to quit the race. They shouldn´t have tampered as much with the Vespa´s and should have treated them with more care!
To participate in a rally like the Dakar, or the Budapest-Bamako unassisted on a Vespa is all about understanding the Vespa´s limitations, and about hurrying slowly. Like the tale of the turtle and the hare. If you go in to challenge the top positions you won´t even finish the race. If you drive the scooter too hard it will break down, and the time won on driving fast will be wasted repairing the scooter on the side of the road. Tuningparts are rarely build for lasting long..
The Vespa´s are build with overdimentional parts, and last much longer than new parts. We will therefore use as original scooters as possible and assure ourselves that they are in top-noch conditions. Most modiffications are luggage-related.
We are driving three identical Vespa PX200E. Vi skal kjøre tre identiske Vespa PX 200E. Everything in the engine is original, but we have replaced the exhaust with one that gives more torque and effect. Rather than the original 9 BHP we are now closer to 13. This also means that the fuel consumption should drop aswell.
Should we get unlucky and have to drive in the dark we have installed extra lights that we can use for emergency. Nevertheless, the Vespa´s aren´t able to produce enough electricity to run the light constantly, as it would drain our batteries.
As the scooters we will be using are notoriously unreliable, with almost as many known weaknesses as the number of parts it is comprised of, we will need to bring allmost half a scooter in spare parts, as well as enough tools to be able to take it completely appart and put it back together again.
As we need to hurry slowly, this means that we will be way behind all other participants, and as such cannot count on support from anyone. We need to be able to solve any form of crisis ourselves right there and then, whether it be medical or technical. The days will be very long and the rest stops few and short. We will go at it from sunrise to after sunset, every single day, for two weeks staright. This involves bringing lots of tools, spare fuel, oil, medical equipment, spare parts, camping gear… with only enough room to spare for one change of clothing.