Our Henry Favre has once again decided to get involved: he took part in a really important adventure with an unlikely vehicle: a Vespa Primavera. As a company, we have decided to join him again this time as a technical partner, providing him with the engine to power those dusty ten-inch wheels. Have you already understood what adventure we are talking about? Here is the video he made exclusively for us
Here is an interview he gave, still sore almost a month after his return.
What have you done Henry?
Nothing special, I decided to sign up for the Sardinia rally with a Vespa. One of the worst ideas of my life, until the first of the five starts of the rally. A ’75 Vespa of those with many shock absorbers and twenty-one tires. If I write these words it means that I am alive, happy and with still working arms: it was crazy! I’m used to long and slow experiences, this time it was all fast and short: 300 km a day for four days, practically hell.
How did you prepare yourself?
Immediately I thought I had done a great thing that starts with “c” to sign up with a paper navigator called roadbook and with the formula that does not provide assistance. Then I thought that I always got away with it and that the papyrus with all the symbols, in the end, was just a treasure hunt. But the best part, but not too much, was when I realized that I had never ridden a Vespa for more than ten km and never on dirt. The first approach was very “denting” and the handlebar immediately decided to test its flexibility. Let’s say that the Vespa and the navigation systems were already super effective despite my inexperience, I took it for granted that I would succeed. The problem was my physique, alas. Once I also did mountain running races, then I got older. So I spent a few months training and following a low carbohydrate diet .. no I can’t lie, I immediately screwed up that training plan too. I showed up at the start as if I were ready for the Sunday Vespa Club tour. A month has passed and I still have pain in my back and wrists, it suits me!
Why did you choose the Vespa?
Well, in reality there is no real explanation, I had that at home and there was no money in my wallet for a super-amortized motorcycle prepared by Dakar. I must admit that the idea to start was to use a fifty, probably a Bravo with fifty forks. Luckily I changed my mind and started cannibalizing the spring wasp, making me very unpleasant to collectors.
How did you set up and prepare the myth of all time?
Bad very bad. I could have done better, but the rally in Sardinia was the only thing and the only experience I ever had with a Vespa, so my inexperience on that vehicle caused me some problems during the stages. I underestimated trivial elements such as not protecting the gear cables, while I went to oversize other useless elements. The Vespa has not been filled with reinforcement welds, and the only structural option is the fork of the Vespa et2 (very recent) and the super disc brake that has helped me not to end up in the bushes several times.
Tell us about the beating heart of the Vespa: the engine.
The Primavera was already born 125cc but the original horsepower was not enough, so the single-cylinder was raised to 130 with the use of the 57.5 MHR monobasic aluminum cylinder. It is a cylinder born to do many laps and many horsepower, but having boosters at the exhaust, it is certainly not a quiet waterfront cylinder, quite the contrary! I coupled the cylinder to a “basic” muffler not with too advanced an expansion and this allowed me to have a much more contained supply, albeit On-off. Especially with the Power exhaust, I noticed that I had a very ready engine at low revs, in a very useful rally when you find obstacles or paths and; during the transfers between the various stages, with the fourth short, given the multiple close together, I could easily keep the 110 times without making the engine scream
What did you break during the rally?
Together with Malossi technicians, we had thought of a Vespa maintenance card. Basically, every evening, after grinding 2/300 km of dirt road, the idea was to do some jobs on the wasp to keep it always active and performing. Yes here, the idea remained, because in the evening I was really “boiled” and the maintenance plan went to fry as soon as I heard “come and drink a bar?”. Thus, for about 900 km of stones, dust and mud, my vespetta did not bat an eye and appreciated the little care on it. You know: the wasps always work, and when they don’t go, it’s the condenser. Ah yes, then I must also tell you that I broke the muffler, but I have to find some excuse to justify the fact that I did not screw in the bolt (the only one) that holds it. In a nutshell, the whole muffler was hung for 80km on the two cylinder studs, then it decided to stop inside a prickly pear plant. The “violent cleavage” still echoes in Arborea.
What about the next crazy adventure?
There is not a real answer to this question. I have many things in mind, but I like to think about it at least ten times before putting it into action. I have a travel Hello somewhere, but given the times the word “travel” has become a bit of a utopia, so we’ll see what cool things to do in the coming months. Ah yes, I just got the 2021 rally dates, I’ll be there!