Le Touquet Enduropale - Day 1 Friday
File under Racing France
Author: Mike Werner
Location: Normandy, France
|Le Touquet Enduropale 2007 Photos|
Photos of the Le Touquet Enduropale motorcycle beach enduro are available ! There are some 950 photos available, and can be seen, downloaded and/or purchased.
Click here to access the photo site.
Well, after a long and very cold ride, riding at -5°C, I finally arrived at the beach resort town of Le Touquet. Already the town was buzzing with motorcycles and quads. Although the race is Sunday, Friday and Saturday are technical days (scrutineering), and Saturday is also the quad race.
This is the first time the race is run as the "Enduropale", and after 30 years of this crazy beach race, it will be the first time that the race is not run via the dunes. (By the way, the race was started by Thierry Sabine, the same man who started the mythical Dakar race).This time, it's beach only. But..... the beach is not just a straight, there are many jumps and chicanes. Just have a look at the following photos (25 photos, so it might take a while to load).
To get from one side of the "circuit", the organizers have installed tunnels under the jumps (woops). Handy, and easy to go from one side to another.
The woops on both sides are close to each other. After the initial straight, you go into the circuit. This way you can still see the other competitors.
The jumps are not that wide, and the first few are going to see 1,000 motorcycles trying to go through them. But they are high, so those that will jump, will create a nice show for the public.
Here is the starting line. They will start in 2 waves, the first being the pro's, then followed by the rest. But the 2nd wave leaves a few seconds after the first, and it has been known that private entries catch up.
This is what you'd be looking at if you're at the front line in the starting grid. Basically you've got a straight line of some 7 kilometers which you need to take at full speed. The first riders to reach the end and turn in have the advantage, since seconds afterwards, you have the remaining 1,000 motorcycles trying to get in to the bottleneck...... an interesting sight.
After the straight, you need to run the circuit, which is 15.5 kilometers long. The race starts at 11:50 and the first to arrive at 14:50 wins!
Along the beach are many tents and caravans. This is also where the quad scrutineering took place.
They had to queue up in front of a tent to have their quads and papers checked.
The motorcycles scrutineering took place in the town's school gym. The motorcycle were to ride in on one side, go through the technical and bureaucratic inspections, and then ride out.
Motorcycles from many different manufacturers were waiting for inspection..
These are the transponders that are installed on all motorcycles, so that the organizers can know who did how many rounds...
The motorcycle and riders are assigned their dorsal numbers.
Don't really know who the rider is over here.... ;-)
Outside, there were many vans preparing their motorcycles for the scrutineering. Some had just rented motorcycles and needed to ensure that they were in running order before showing up for the inspection.
There were quite a lot of teams present. Many were sharing logistics and mechanics.
Quite a lot of foreigners were getting ready. Here's a Dutch team from Herman Verboven.
There are also English participants.
OK, now we know who the rider was, it's the kid...
After the technical inspection, the bikers have 10 minutes to get to the parc fermee (the closed parking) which is located opposite of the school gym.
Here, the motorcycles are parked until Sunday. Once it's there, you are not allowed to touch it.
Many motorcycles are showing a sticker announcing "Free Ingrid Betancourt", the French/Columbian woman who was running for President of Columbia and got kidnapped by the drug gangs and has not been seen for several years.
The parc fermee is very appropriately in front of the Casino.... you can see how lucky you are before the race...
At the far side of the 7 kilometer circuit, at the Stella Beach town, is the technical support area, ie, the pits. This is where the riders will stop to tank up, and to repair their motorcycles.
This is where you'll find all the big names of enduro motorcycle manufacturers.
This is also where you could find the big names in the enduro world. Here's Cyril Despres, last year's winner of the Dakar, and runner up of this year's Dakar race.
They've all brought their very big support trucks with them.
And of course many were being interviewed; here the Yamaha France team being interviewed by the local TV station.
This is the place where the pit stops will be held. The area is not ready yet, and will be by tomorrow morning.
That's it for the first day of the Enduropale. More will be coming over the next 2 days.