A great interview with Steve Berry for his new Africa Twin Marathon !!!
The passion for motorcycle racing came at an early age from my older brother and his friends. They were very much into motorcycles and followed motorcycle racing and the Paris Dakar rally every year and I remember admiring the riders and the hardships they faced during the grueling race.
I first gained interest in the Africa Twin specifically a few years back and had the opportunity to import a RD03 in nice original condition that was a German bike, very nicely taken care of. I loved it so much that the next step was to find a true Marathon!
I looked for the last two years at every opportunity where a Marathon was for sale and either the bike didn’t seem right, the price was more than I could pay or the location was difficult for import. Over the last couple of years, I have rarely wanted to own something like I wanted a Marathon with their great history. The only bike I might want more, and is impossible, would be a NXR750. To me, being able to buy a Marathon was something I could have only dreamed about.
As I mentioned, I have looked for the last two years for the right Marathon. It can be very hard to find motorcycles like this from the US where there is not the knowledgeable community of Paris Dakar fans to help.
Two people helped greatly during the search, Cedric Mann and Jonathan Parke. It was ultimately Jonathan that saw this bike on the Africa Twin Marathon Facebook page advertised by Laurent Lebeuf of France and emailed me the same day it was listed.
After a few days of talking back and forth via Facebook with Laurent, we agreed on a price and I began the process of importing the bike. Laurent was fantastic in providing lots of pictures, video and history of the Marathon.
This can be a difficult process because as a buyer from overseas, you are trusting the seller completely. All of the great people on the Africa Twin Marathon page were very helpful and welcoming!
The Marathon was owned by Mr. Laurent Lebeuf of France. Laurent was most helpful and patient in helping with the shipping process as it took some time to arrange the pickup in France to be delivered to the James Cargo terminal at Heathrow. This was also during the time leading up to the original Brexit schedule so logistics were very difficult to arrange. I cannot thank Laurent enough for his gracious help. I hope to meet him some day in France.
The travel arrangements were difficult to say the least. I used James Cargo to import my RD03 and they did a great job so I used them again. As I said, the lead up to Brexit had created logistic problems all though Europe in getting cargo shipments to England.
It took about three weeks to find a courier to transport the bike from France to London. After that, the import process began to the US. It took another three weeks or so to finally get the bike on a flight to Salt Lake City from Heathrow.
The bike ended up missing three scheduled flights due to various reasons. I think this increased the anticipation of finally receiving it.
The day I found out that the bike was actually on a flight was great! I arranged for the next day, Saturday, April 7, to drive to Salt Lake City 140 miles away to get the Marathon. The people at Delta Cargo were very helpful and allowed me to uncrate the Marathon in their parking lot and load it into my trailer.
The first glimpse of this Marathon was incredible. It was like falling in love the first time again! It is very hard to explain the emotion of being able to own such a great piece of history.
Whether to ride the bike or not? Yes, I plan to ride it, but carefully!! The Marathon is basically irreplaceable so I will be careful. I do want people to see this wonderful example of Paris Dakar racing history so that people in the US can learn more about this incredible motorcycle and the brave and talented riders that competed in the race.
I plan to show it next year at The Quail Motorcycle Show, hopefully along with Sam Roberts and his Marathon. This is the premier motorcycle show in the US. Also, did I say I will be careful with it?
This bike was the first series Marathon and was ridden in the 1989 Paris Dakar rally by Michel Audot and was #164. Audot did not finish the 1989 race. It was also believed to have been ridden by Fabrice Roche in a later Paris Dakar rally after the Marathon was sold by Audot to Roche.
The Marathon was beautifully restored by Cedric Mann who also helped with some of the history of this Marathon.
Because of the restoration by Cedric, the bike is in very nice condition. It runs beautifully and the appearance is wonderful. I could not be happier with the Marathon. Again, this is part of the process of buying a bike overseas. So much trust is put in the seller and Laurent delivered exactly what I wanted.
The Marathon has some long history of being owned by different people. First by Michel Audot who was a French policeman. He sadly passed away and his wife sold the bike to Fabrice Roche. Since then it changed hands several times and was stored for many years before Cedric found and restored it. It was raced in two Paris Dakar rallies.
As mentioned, I started with the 1989 XRV650 RD03 I bought and imported in 2016. I still have this bike, one of very few in the United States. I now have one of two Marathons in the US. I am so proud to own this Marathon! I also have a DR650SE that I use for everyday trail riding.
Again, I want to thank Mr. Laurent Lebeuf for his help is buying and shipping this Marathon. Thank you Laurent! And thanks to Cedric, Jonathan and Sam for their advice and help, all of them are passionate Marathon experts. I am so proud to be part of the history of this Marathon!
La mia passione per le moto da corsa è nata sin da piccolo grazie a mio fratello maggiore e ai suoi amici.
Loro seguivano con grande trasporto tutte le gare delle moto ed in particolare la Parigi-Dakar di cui mi ricordo il coraggio e la determinazione dei piloti dimostrata in gara.
Ho iniziato a interessarmi all‘Africa Twin anni dopo e ne ho comprata una dalla Germania ben tenuta. Mi è piaciuta così tanto che mi son deciso che il passo successivo sarebbe dovuta essere una leggendaria Marathon !!!
Ho trascorso gli ultimi due anni alla ricerca di questa moto e a volte la moto non era in buone condizioni, a volte il prezzo non era congruo oppure era difficile l’importazione in America: più aumentavano le difficoltà e più il desiderio di realizzare questo sogno ardeva maggiormente…solo poter comprare l’NXR750 sarebbe stato un sogno più grande.
Trovare una Marathon è stato molto difficile perchè non esiste negli Stati Uniti una community di appassionati della Dakar che potesse aiutarmi; in questa ricerca peró devo ringraziare moltissimo Cedric Mann e Jonathan Parke, quest’ultimo mi ha segnalato immediatamente il post di vendita della moto di Laurent Lebeuf in Francia.
L’ho chiamato subito e, dopo qualche giorno di trattative, ci siamo accordati sul prezzo e sulle modalità di trasporto in America. Laurent si è dimostrato davvero gentilissimo inviandomi foto e video della Marathon, inoltre mi è stato molto prezioso in una trattativa dove la fiducia nel venditore deve essere totale.
La Brexit ha causato non pochi problemi nell’importazione della moto ritardando di alcune settimane l’arrivo in USA, anche se devo ammettere che l’aiuto di Laurent e dello Staff della James Cargo hanno permesso alla moto alla fine di arrivare a destinazione.
In America ho atteso l’arrivo della moto con gran trepidazione e, ad ogni intoppo, l’attesa aumentava ancora di più e finalmente il 7 aprile è arrivata a Salt Lake City dopo 6 settimane dall’acquisto.
Gli addetti della Delta Cargo mi hanno permesso di “spacchettare” la moto nel loro hangar e mi hanno aiutato a caricare la moto sul furgoncino.
La prima vista è stata davvero emozionante, un vero colpo di fulmine…difficile descrivere le emozioni di poter possedere un autentico mito !!!
Ho intenzione di utilizzarla davvero ? Credo di si….ma con molta attenzione !!! È di fatto unica e vorrei far conoscere agli americani la storia della Dakar e il coraggio dei piloti che vi hanno partecipato.
Parteciperó ad un evento chiamato The Quail Motorcycle Show assieme a Sam Roberts e alla sua Marathon, è il più importante evito per le moto e saró abbastanza attento con la mia nuova moto ?
La mia Marathon appartiene alla prima serie e ha corso la Dakar nel 1989 con Michel Audot con il numero 164; dovrebbe aver corso anche un’altra Dakar con Fabrice Roche, dopo la morte di Audot.
Il restauro è stato curato da Cedric Mann, che mi ha aiutato a ricostruire un pó la storia della moto. La moto è bellissima, viaggia bene e sono davvero entusiasta di aver acquistato questa moto anche se la distanza era davvero molta, mi è arrivato proprio ció che desideravo !
Voglio davvero ringraziare Laurent, Cedric, Jonathan e Sam per il loro aiuto, e consulenza…sono davvero degli esperti delle Marathon, sono davvero orgoglioso finalmente di far parte anch’io di questo mondo !!!