Axel Alletru: “When all seems impossible, there is always something possible”
January 15 th 2020 - 06:39 [GMT + 3]
With a particularly unique background, extraordinary determination and clearly efficient driving skills, the leader of the rookies in the promising SSV category is discovering the Dakar with enthusiasm, whilst providing an inspirational performance.
Axel Alletru is not a driver like the others: he is one of the revelations of the SSV category and is the leading debutant still racing thanks to his 7th place in the general standings as well as his leadership of the SSV standard class. The prototype buggies leading the race ahead of him can reach speeds of up to 130 km/h, whilst his machine is limited to 120 km/h. A look at the classifications in which he is shining after nine stages is enough to almost forget that the man from Northern France is also competing with another handicap. Following a severe accident in his first sporting career in motocross, in which he won a title of European Champion, he became paraplegic and lost 80% of his muscles in his lower limbs. Far from giving up, he went on to win swimming titles in para-sport and continues to prove that obstacles can be overcome. “I want to put across a strong message on this Dakar with the hashtag #jepeux2020 [French for I can 2020], and it’s taking shape,” explains Axel. “With all the complications that my situation involves, it’s a wonderful gift just to still be here and it’s even already a victory. The goal is to show that you can bounce back in life. If had had a role model to follow when I was recovering at the physiotherapy unit, it would have been an extra source of motivation for me and that’s what I want to give to people: positivity”.
His approach is very much people-focused, but that has not distracted him from the action. On certain portions of some specials, he has been able to compete with the leading drivers such as Lopez, Currie, Kariakin or Varela, all competitors driving with more powerful vehicles. “I didn’t expect to be battling for the top places, but I’ve realised that I have the ability to be in the top 3. In the dunes, I’m often among the leaders, but on the long, straight portions I often struggle”. Naturally, the young man who will soon be 30 years old is showing sufficient wisdom to not compromise his first experience on the Dakar, on which he is finding reasons to be cheerful both during racing and at the bivouac: “I’ve never experienced anything like the atmosphere there is here. We are all together for two weeks and people look out for each other. It’s completely different from motocross, BMX or swimming. This philosophy is in keeping with my spirit and values”. By just listening to this competitor bursting with enthusiasm, it only seems natural that destiny will invite him to continue participating in rally-raids with even more ambitious goals: “The aim is also to stand out in order to be spotted by an official team. I’d like it to occupy a big place in my life and I hope there will be opportunities to be seized”. It is difficult to see just how the performances and personality of Axel could go unnoticed…