If you could invite anybody at all to your dinner party, who would you pick? We asked Enduro superstar Cyril Despres…
Around the Horn
First up, without hesitation, the South African born explorer, Mike Horn. I don’t have many heroes, but this guy is definitely one of them. If you haven’t ever heard of him before then let me explain a little about him. Mike is an explorer who has undertaken some pretty incredible expeditions. While crossing the South American continent he traveled 7,000km along the Amazon River with a hydro-speed! Other feats include a non-motorised circumnavigation of the equator and walking to the North Pole during the Arctic winter. I like to think I’m quite a determined person but Mike takes determination and endurance to a whole new level. Maybe the other reason I admire Mike so much is because he’s a very accomplished sailor and I get seasick just looking at a boat. I had the chance to meet Mike once and on top of everything else he turned out to be an extremely nice bloke.
The multi-talented Loeb
Sebastien Loeb needs no introduction. His record breaking seven World Rally Championships have made him famous all over the globe and yet Seb has managed to keep his feet firmly on the ground. A true sportsman (he was a gymnast before taking up rally driving), he also knows how to party when the competition is over so that makes him an excellent dinner guest. One day, when I have finished riding bikes in rally-raids I wouldn’t mind having a go in a car so there is nobody better to ask for tips than Seb. Also Seb is a very good motorcycle rider himself so I reckon he could explain the differences between the two disciplines. I think I’d have to ask my questions early in the evening before he hits the wine!
A true innovator
As this is a virtual dinner party I’m sure nobody would mind if I invite another hero of mine, Thierry Sabine. Thierry was the creator of both the Dakar Rally and L’Enduro du Touquet. I never met Thierry before he died in a helicopter crash during the 1986 Dakar but his ambitions have had a huge effect on me. Before becoming a professional rally-raid rider I was a motorcycle mechanic in Paris and it was Thierry’s ‘invention’ that literally changed my life. The first thing I would say to him is “thank you very much!” The guy must have been a real visionary. The Dakar has the largest global TV audience figures of any motorsport event in the world while L’Enduro du Touquet attracts 300,000 spectators in the middle of winter! Both events are still going from strength to strength over 30 years after he created them. I’d be really interested to know what he thought of the modern day Dakar – apparently he was planning to take the race to South America just before he died.
Pink is the colour
For me the vital ingredients of any successful dinner party are good food, good drink, good company and good music. I have no idea what Pink is like at cooking but I’m almost certain she could help out in the last three departments. Although she was married to a freestyle moto-x rider and maybe she’s back with him again now (I let my subscription to Hello! Magazine lapse a few months ago) I have never met her. From what I have seen and heard about her she seems like a good laugh and wouldn’t be too embarrassed to belt out a couple of tunes around the campfire. The rest of my guests could join in at the chorus, I just hope they have better singing voices than me!
A Berry welcome addition
I could tell you that I would like to invite Halle Berry to my virtual dinner party because she is an important role model (the first African American actress to win an Academy Award) or because of the work she has done for charities fighting domestic violence. All of this would be true but let’s not kid ourselves, my primary motivation for inviting Ms Berry is because she is an extremely attractive lady with huge amounts of grace and charm. Mike, Seb, Thierry and even Pink are all a bit ‘blokey’ and it would be important to have some balance. As we say in France, “A little finesse in a world of brutes.”
I often find sitting around a table in a restaurant a little restrictive so I reckon the place to have the meal would be out in the dunes in the south of Morocco. Sitting around a campfire in the desert, in the middle of nowhere looking up at the stars is much more my cup of tea. I have great affection for Morocco and the people there. Although the Dakar is now in South America the vast majority of the races I have done have been held in Africa and the places and the people have given me so much. Moroccan food isn’t too bad either! We’d have couscous and a meshoui (sheep cooked on a spit over an open fire) plus the bread they cook there by burying it in the sand, simple but absolutely delicious. For the wine we’d go for different bottles from some of the places I have had chance to visit. Chile and Argentina in particular have some really great wine and I’d also make sure to get some in from Australia. I haven’t been to Australia yet but its one of the places I really want to visit and hopefully I will get to race there later this year. Of course we’ll also have a couple bottles of French wine to remind my guests where I come from. Bon appetit!
- Cyril Despres profile on redbull.com
- Dakar Rally event page on redbull.com
- Marko Grilc's Dream Dinner Party