Interview with Vicente Espinosa Paredes, raid pilot in the desert.  today is

Married and with two daughters, this pneumatic automation businessman from Zarca has traveled to the desert for the third time to participate in a raid.

– What is a raid?

The raid is a type of motorsport and motorcycling rally that is carried out with cross-country navigation, avoiding natural obstacles such as mountains, rivers, stones, sand, etc. and traveling long distances. The raid I just did is like a small Dakar, with the same navigation elements, but with the difference that, for safety, they force us to regroup at each refueling and food point.

– What characteristics does the raid you have carried out through Moroccan lands have?

It’s about adventure, not competition. This type of raid serves as an introduction to roadbook navigation before jumping into competition.

-How many times have you participated in the raid?

This is the third time I have gone to Morocco. Previously I was there in 2012 and 2016.

– How many people participate?

The organization usually does not allow more than 25 or 30 people. This year we have been with 15 motorcycles, two ATV-quads, a van with spare parts and luggage and two support SUVs with food and drink, fuel, mechanics, organizers, doctor and nurse.

– What are the rules established by the organization?

The organization does not allow a pilot to go alone, he must always do so with at least one partner. In addition, it is mandatory to have the roadbook and GPS installed on the motorcycle, but not with the track, but with a series of waypoints. I do the raid with a colleague from Tarragona who I met 15 years ago and with whom I have done some KTM enduros in France.

– How many and what stages make up the race?

The raid is made up of seven stages, one of them through the ERG-Chebbi dunes, where the pilots who compete in the Dakar train). This year the itinerary was Marrakech-Boulmane Dades-Erfoud-Merzouga-Zagora-Ouarzazarte-Marrakech. Each year the stages usually change, since Morocco offers infinite possibilities.

– What is the hardest part of the day?

Without a doubt, the distances we travel, since we travel 300-350 kilometers a day through different terrains and landscapes: mountains, snow, sand, rivers and, of course, the complicated but desired dunes.

– And the most satisfying thing?

The most satisfying thing is the feeling of freedom: the desert, the motorcycle and me.

– How did the idea come about?

Every off-road or trail motorcycle fan dreams at some point in their life of doing a raid through Morocco. Since I was little, the Dakar had a big impact on me.

– What is the reaction of the natives when they see you?

As we pass through small villages, children run out onto the roads to greet us. We usually stop and give them some gifts that we carry in our backpacks (pens, small toys…). It changes their face.

– How and where do you spend the night?

Every day we sleep in a different city, depending on the stage. Sometimes we do it in hotels and other times, in a tent camp in the middle of the desert.

Does your concept of life change after living this experience? In what sense?

Yes it changes, yes. Last year was a trial by fire for me. After suffering a health problem, I wanted to test my limits. I overcame the challenge and believed in my possibilities again. Passing through the villages and seeing the faces of the locals, I appreciated the values ​​of life.

– What does it feel like to drive through the desert?

It is a very strong feeling. This year we have done the queen stage of the great Merzouga Dakar Series Raid, a very physically demanding stage with very complicated navigation. I managed to finish it very well, leading four drivers behind. At the end of the stage, at the hotel we met the great pilot Jordi Arcarons, author of the stage layout, who congratulated us for having passed it, being amateur pilots.

– At what moment did you decide to embark on the desert adventure?

I had always been attracted to the landscape and people of Africa. This, together with my passion for motorcycles, just needed a push. This one was given to me by my dear wife, Rosi.

– What problems have you encountered at a mechanical level?

Almost every day there is some mishap. This year my bike broke down and I can only do four stages. I did the remaining three off-road. Another day I had to repair the motorcycle of a colleague who, while fording a river, fell and completely submerged it in the water. Another of the pilots, Sergio Anguiano, this year’s Dakar participant, suffered a fall in the second stage and damaged his chest, so he was forced to abandon.

– Do you plan to return next year?

Yes, I am already registered. Also, I want to take my wife, Rosi, to share this adventure. She would go in the support cars and I would go on the motorcycle.

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