Swapping his habitual riding gear for ‘black tie’ Cyril Despres climbed the steps of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival to launch his book, Dakar X 4, celebrating his four Dakar victories. In the company of his partner Laia, Cyril rubbed shoulders with the stars for a noble cause – all profits from the sale of the book, spanning his Dakar career to date, will be donated to the school he helps finance, in an underprivileged suburb of Dakar.
“Normally a rider waits until the end of his career before publishing a retrospective. Except that I have never been a fan of convention! I wanted to tell my story, but there is also an ulterior motive. The school in Africa that I help finance needs funds, both to continue its vital work and to expand, so that more children in its neighbourhood can benefit from an education. All profits will be donated directly to the school, my way of thanking the people of a country that has given me so much.”
Talking about the Fabrizio and Cyril School, Cyril added:
“My team-mate Fabrizio Meoni died a few days before the end of the 2005 Dakar… He didn’t talk much about it, but we knew he financed a school in the suburbs of Dakar. The day after the finish, with his Italian friends, we went to visit the school that carried his name. The two hundred children there that day were deeply moved by the death of their patron. It didn’t take us long to decide to continue Fabrizio’s work, both to pay homage to his memory and to help the people of a country who had always welcomed us with open arms.”
The story of a total amateur who went on to achieve 9 Dakar podiums and 4 victories in just 12 years, Dakar X 4 features over 100 photos of the most prestigious and photogenic off-road race in the world, commented in his own words by Cyril Despres. Priced 30 €, it can be purchased online at www.cyrildespres-shop.com