4,570 km on a 1984 Land Rover, renamed “wheelbarrow” and made even more performing by special SABO shock absorbers. A respectable road map, along the whole of Morocco, from Tangier to the border with Mauritania, crossing the territories of Western Sahara, formerly a Spanish colony and cradle of the Saharawi people. For the second consecutive year (2018, 2019) Massimo, an agent of the traffic police of Florence, tackled the roads and dirt tracks of the North African country alone, a journey he had long dreamed of.
“I have always had a passion for off-roading, so much so that I had already bought a Land Rover, which I later replaced with the current one, a model from 1984 that I bought in 1990. However, I had always limited myself to short excursions in our woods of the ‘Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. Work, children and other commitments did not allow me to go further. In the meantime, I have always continued to read up and get passionate about travel, with a predilection for Africa, in particular for Morocco, where I had been on an organized trip and I had to want to return, this time traveling freely “.
In 2018, were you finally able to fulfill this dream?
“When I realized that I could finally make this journey, I first had to put the Land Rover back in reliable condition. First I fixed the engine, going to overhaul each component, then I started the chassis, and this is where I met SABO ”.
A chance encounter?
“Not really, I have a dear friend who works in the Roberto Nuti Group plant in Vicchio del Mugello and, when he heard that I had to replace the shock absorbers to face a demanding journey in the desert, he offered to build four SABO shock absorbers tailored to the my vehicle “.
SABO builds shock absorbers for industrial vehicles, how did they work on a shock absorber for an off-road vehicle?
“The project was based on the design of the original Land Rover shock absorber, on which they then worked with customizations, such as choosing the most suitable oil”.
How do you rate the result?
“Great. The original shock absorbers I had on the off-road vehicle were now worn out. The car had no stability and could not have made such a journey. After mounting the SABO shock absorbers, I felt like I was driving another vehicle ”.
Have you made special requests to SABO technicians?
“No, I explained the journey I had to make and, above all, the load I had to carry with me: a 60 kg tent mounted on the roof of the car and a wooden box in the trunk. I’m not an expert in mechanics, my needs were stability, safety and comfort ”.
Returning to travel, after the first experience of 2018, in 2019 you returned to Morocco.
“I made two different paths. Morocco is a special place, which combines natural and architectural beauties with a human warmth that I have hardly found elsewhere. In both cases, I embarked in Savona and landed in Tangier, from there a long journey on asphalted, dirt and desert roads, this last stretch I did in the company of other enthusiasts “.
So a totally solo trip except for the desert part, right?
“Exactly, in the Western Sahara, in Dakhla, I joined a group of hikers led by an Italian who lives there and who has been accompanying tourists and off-road enthusiasts in the desert for years. Three busy days, during which my ‘wheelbarrow’, and the SABO shock absorbers, did their duty “.
Have you faced any other challenging stretches?
“I crossed the Atlas Mountains. It was October and on the highest passes I found some icy stretches of road, and then descended and found over thirty degrees. For the rest, many kilometers, on roads of all types and conditions ”.
Have you ever suffered from loneliness?
“I chose to travel alone to be free in any decision I had to make. Then when you are there you meet a lot of people and, as I said before, the Moroccan people are extremely hospitable, with some of them I still write to myself. Finally, it must be said, when you are alone you find comfort even in small things, I was talking to my car, to which I had given a face, a little face that I had drawn on the rearview mirror, with which I spoke and compared myself during the trip “.
If you had to describe SABO shock absorbers with three adjectives which ones would you use?
“Reliability, safety and stability. I would definitely recommend them to other fans like me ”.
Are you definitely looking into some other travel now?
“When you start it’s hard to stop. Precisely because I enjoy traveling with my Land Rover, I look not too far. Always Africa, perhaps Tunisia, we will see ”.