The Dakar Rally is one of the most well-known motorsport events in the world. Even casual racing fans usually know at least a little about it, and even people who couldn’t care less about racing know the Dakar name. It’s like Monaco, Le Mans, or the Indianapolis 500 that way. So, if you’re an OEM that’s never participated in Dakar before, it makes sense to recruit an extremely experienced rider, doesn’t it?
That’s exactly what Fantic Motor is doing. The company wants to get into participating in rally raids in a big way. For that reason, it’s teamed up with one of the most experienced Dakar riders of all, Franco Picco.
How experienced is Picco? We’ll put it this way: Dakar 2022 will be the 66-year-old’s 28th ever Dakar Rally. Picco first contested Dakar in 1985, for Yamaha. Over the years, he’s ridden (and even driven) many different machines. He’s also participated in some other rally events, as most seasoned rally competitors like to do whenever they can. He prefers sand to dirt and is thus very much looking forward to Dakar 2022.
Currently, the Fantic Racing department is working on crafting Picco’s machine. While the company of course has plans to bring its new 2022 motorcycle lineup to EICMA 2021, it also intends to unveil the machine for its Dakar debut there, as well. The new machine will sport a 450cc single-cylinder, four-stroke engine. The company is staying quiet about any and all other Dakar details until EICMA.
“The Dakar represents a myth, capable of exceeding the limits of the motorsport thanks to the appeal and the adventure which always have been key points of this competitions, including legendary feats of the pilots and the motorbikes committing a race in the desert for two weeks,” said Fantic Motor CEO Mariano Romano in a statement.
“[It’s] an extreme race where it is fundamental to ride an agile, fast and extremely reliable vehicle. For the first participation of Fantic, we have the aim of crossing the finish line at Jeddah to mature experience thanks to the contribution of a valuable pilot such as Franco Picco, a Dakar pilot since always, the perfect person who will guarantee us amazing feelings,” Romano concluded.
Dakar 2022 is currently scheduled to take place from January 2 through 14, 2022. Contestants will compete over the course of 12 grueling stages across Saudi Arabia. We look forward to seeing how Fantic and Picco fare in their first Dakar outing together.