Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
860 Paris-Dakar I Hubert Auriol- 1986
The desert bull
Though BMW was the first to succeed with a twin in the Paris-Dakar, Cagiva established the modern parameters for desert racers.
When the Cagiva group acquired Ducati, their outstanding gain was the famed Pantah V-twin four-stroke. A high-performance modern design, the Pantah eventually in its 851 Superbike version achieved 160 hp and was the terror of the racetrack. It was also narrow and uncomplicated, an ideal engine for Africa. After a first outing in 1985 with Ligier, the Italian company entered under its own colors in 1986, with an 860cc version ridden by the dependable Hubert Auriol (winner in 1981 and 1983 on a BMW). It was an awesome machine, developing 80 hp, with a 112 mph capability, a ready-to-race weight of 485 lb and a range of some 350 miles.
Five Years for a Victory
The full potential of the Cagiva was never in doubt, but racing it in an event as hazardous as the Paris-Dakar was a long and dismal task. In 1986 the entry into the lists of the fabulous NXR was backed by the full might of Honda. Cagiva was always in contention for victory, but only succeeded in winning Paris-Dakar after five years of trying after the official withdrawal of Honda. In 1990, Edi Orioli, who placed first on a Cagiva 904, and Alessandro de Petri, who was third, finally achieved the Varese firm's ambition.
Engine: 860cc air-cooled 90-degree V-twin four-stroke
Power Rating: 80 hp @ 9000 rpm
Valves: overhead camshaft
Fuel System: carburetor
Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive
Suspension: telescopic forks, 12.2 inch travel (front); swinging fork with twin inclined dampers, 11.4 inch travel (rear)
Brakes: floating disc (front); dn1m (rear)
Wheels: wire: 21 inch (front); 17 inch (rear)
Weight: 375 lb
Maximum Speed: 112 mph
The Paris-Dakar Cagivas have developed tremendously since this first model of 1986, though the basis is practically unchanged.