Lucchese: “No stress, just fun and the result will come”
The Dakar careers of Ahmed Al Kuwaira and Manuel Lecchese are closely linked. Both men met thanks to one of Manuel’s videos. The Italian has indeed specialised in preparing rally-raid bikes and he was contacted by the Qatari who was then still a bike rider. From that first encounter led a deal: Ahmed was about to compete in the Qatar Rally and Manuel offered to come and help out in exchange of a plane ticket. That first experience was the first of a long sporting relationship. The Qatari engineer later switched to the SSV class and both men were side by side during the Morocco Rally in 2018 and several other events. They would eventually be bound to do the Dakar together but that took quite some time. It could have happened in 2019 but Lucchese injured himself prior to the rally. Before this edition in Saudi Arabia, both have already done the Dakar: four times for Lucchese on a bike, once for Al Kuwaira in an SSV. And even for this edition it looked like they would again have separate paths. Manuel Lucchese, a self-made rider from Verona still has that dream and thirst to ride the Dakar on a bike. Earlier this year, he had sent his entry form and prepared a KTM to try and win the Original by Motul class. Several brand issues and a phone call later and Ahmed and Manu finally struck a deal to be on the start line of the Dakar… together! Fourth of the Qatar Rally at the beginning of the year behind three Toyota Hilux drivers while they were in an SSV, they naturally have ambitions for the Dakar in their Yamaha YXZ.
ML: ‘’When I was six, I used to read all the motoX magazines of my dad and asked him for a bike. He first laughed. My grand-parents then took me to watch a minicross race (motocross for kids), and on that evening I learned to ride a bicycle. A few months later, there was a motorbike waiting in my room. That’s how it all started. When I was a kid I used to go an train in Spain during the winter and I remember going to see the Dakar prologue stage in Castellon. All the riders were my heroes. Everyone told me that the Dakar costs a lot of money and that at my age (23 at the time), it was too soon. I decided to show people but especially the young kids like me that everything is possible, through crowd-funding or just sheer determination. You need to have a vision of where you want to get. Vision. Determination. Sacrifice. Never ever give up. The mindset is what counts most.
For 2021, my plan was once again to enter in the Original by Motul class. I had the bike, a KTM and I had sent my entry. I had even lost weight. But Yamaha approached me and insisted I work on developing a bike. Then Ahmed contacted me and asked me to do the Dakar with him. He only wanted me at his side. I considered things and it was safer to go with Ahmed and push back the bike project with Yamaha next year.
The first time we got in contact with Ahmed was thanks to one of my Youtube videos he liked. He wanted me to build a bike for him. That’s how it started. I was then his mentor during his bike career. He then tried a SSV and took me along. He doesn’t have any rally background. He used to do track racing.
I thought the navigation would be easier but it’s actually much more difficult. You have to adapt to your driver and he drives super fast. A few years ago we won a stage in Qatar in front of Reinaldo Varela and this year we finished fourth of that rally.
Our goal is to have the same approach as for the Qatar Rally: no stress, just having fun and the result will come by itself. We have the pace to do well but our car is almost standard. It’s such a long rally that we have to start slowly.”.
- Marque : YAMAHA
- Modèle : YXZ 1000R SS
- Préparateur : Angelo Montico
- Assistance : FN Speed
- Classe : T4.2 SSV de série non turbo
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