Memorable Women from Dakar

The 46th edition of the Dakar Rally, which will take place for the fifth time entirely in Saudi Arabia, started a few days ago.Because of the exotic scenery, the history that is intertwined with the myth, our sensibility to strong emotions, but for us the Dakar is perhaps THE competition par excellence, able to give unique and unrepeatable sensations.
A race made up of pilots who test their technical and physical abilities, who compete with themselves and everything around them with the goal, stage after stage, of getting a little closer and closer to the Olympus called “the finish line”.
But here we don't want to talk in general, here we want to talk about a category that perhaps most would have a hard time approaching at such an event: women who have challenged the desert.The relationship between women and Dakar dates back to the first edition of the Paris-Algeri-Dakar, in 1979 there were seven female motorcyclists at the start. Among them, Martine De Cortanze gets the best result: she finishes 19th with a Honda 250 XLS, ahead of 55 riders.
History, however, is made by Jutta Kleinschimdt, the first and only woman to triumph in the Dakar, and she succeeded with a Mitsubishi Pajero in 2001, the year of Fabrizio Meoni's success in motorcycles.
Also unforgettable was the feat of French-Italian Camelia Liparoti with her quad bike: after retiring in the 2009 edition, the 46-year-old from Livorno completed all the editions she participated in, finishing 13th in 2010, 10th in 2011, 9th in 2012 and 15th in 2013.
But the Dakar does not necessarily mean getting away from one's partner for two weeks.Some people take their partner with them.And we're not talking about waiting at the bivouac for the end of the stage with some anxiety and apprehension, here we're talking about cheering each other on: for years the driver Nani Roma, winner of the 2014 edition with a Mini All4 Racing, has shared this experience with his wife, Rosa Romero Font, who faces the Dakar with the vehicle that involves the most energy expenditure, the motorcycle competing for the Himoinsa team.
Then in 2015, Spain's Laia Sanz, finished eighth in the overall standings with an HRC team Honda. With Laia, however, we are dealing with something unique, a girl who before turning 30 wins 13 Trials and 3 Enduro World Championships.
For some it represents a revenge on life, for others an opportunity to test their limits, physical and mental, and for still others it is simple and pure fun.
Returning to this year's edition, we must be particularly proud to have Rebecca Busi as the only Italian rider in the race.
The 27-year-old from Bologna is on her third Dakar, having achieved the record of youngest Italian participant in the 2022 edition. This time, however, the awareness is greater, after her fourth place at the World Rally Raid Championship in 2023. This is also a record for an Italian pilot.
Apart from racing and representing us in the best way possible, Rebecca also throws an interesting insight into what is the relationship between the world of car and motorcycle racing and women::
"I think other countries are better at valuing the presence of women in such contexts. I'm thinking of places like Spain or South America, where racers are real media stars. It is not my ambition; my only desire is to race. But I'm sure that if my story were known, maybe some young girls who want to start racing and think they can't make it would feel less alone. Now, if I could give hope to even one girl, I would be happy."
These are stories showing to the world that a woman can do anything, even face the desert and become a part of legend.
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