Our expert and former participant in the Paris-Dakar Rally, Hubert Rigal, was able to find, following a year of investigation, one of the most astonishing bikes amongst the prototypes of the 80s that entered the ultimate challenging rally of the world.
It all started in 1986, when the technician Joël Guilet and the journalist Pierre-Marie Poli, chief editor of the French weekly magazine Moto Journal, had the idea of a revolutionary bike.
Sponsored by the Écureuil savings bank, the Team Écureuil was created with the goal to enter this bike in the 1987 Paris-Dakar.
Equipped with a BMW engine (the make who won the 1983 and 1985 edition), the particularity of this “ERS 1000” is its modular conception and the carbon so call “frame”.
The design is composed of three elements:
– a body in Kevlar-carbon weighing only six kilos,
– the engine-transmission-rear wheel unit, attached beneath,
– the front suspension, attached on the front.
The principle benefit is the quick disassembly: it takes only six minutes to remove the engine and transmission! This makes it easy to adapt the bike to the challenges of each stage.
In 1987, three Écureuil entered the race, ridden by Pierre-Marie Poli, Marc Moralés and their logistician, a former police officer, Daniel Pescheur.
Poli’s bike didn’t make it to Dakar, Pescheur’s burned in the desert and Moralès, even though it passed the finish line, wasn’t qualified.
The last Écureuil…
The here presented bike is one of only two surviving complete and original examples (of the 1987 model), and it is in working order.
This is the one used by Marc Moralès in the 1987 Paris-Dakar that had arrived in Dakar but wasn’t qualified… Actually, during the last stage, Marc Morales ranking 7th overall, broke his clutch near the Lac Rose (Lake Retba), only three kilometers from the finish line!
This machine is complete and original with the exception of the headlamp protection, which could be reproduced easily.
It’s running perfectly: Hubert Rigal was able to start the engine himself.
It has the correct parts such as the 17 inch rear and 21 inch front wheels.
On different stages, it was either equipped with 18, 19 or 21 inch wheels.
The engine, a 1023 cc 1050 model prepared by Herbert Scheck (the well-known German pilot and tuner of the BMW factory), was ordered by BMW France.
Just as for the 1987 Paris-Dakar, the bike is equipped, with a Marzocchi fork and two Öhlins shocks.
The carbon body and the engine mountings in honeycomb aluminum were built by ERS in Lyon.
The bike is available in France, without road registration documents. In fact, back then these prototypes raced with registration documents provided that actually corresponded to a serial production bike.
A rare opportunity to find such an exceptional bike which, even if it has disappointed the expectations of its inventors, is part of the Paris-Dakar history.
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