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A Special 24 Hours Motorcycle Race

6
August
2009
  Posted at 06:30:00 PM
  File under  France Racing
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Travelling
France

We've seen all sorts of 24 hour races; motorcycles and cars have the famous 24 hours of Le Mans race, but there are also boats, trucks and almost any form of transportation known to mankind.

Solex
But here's a 24 hour race that involves are very unlikely PTWPowered Two Wheel - motorcyles, scooters, mopeds .... the French Solex Open link in a new window.

The Solex, also known as VeloSolex, is more-or-less a bicycle with an engine. Developed way back in 1905, the 2-stroke engine was capable of attaining 40 kph, but you were required to pedal to reach that speed.

The engine was mounted in the front (on top of the wheel - there was no gear box, you tilted the engine onto the front wheel for traction, and if you had to stop, you moved it away from the wheel). The carburetor were designed with an elegant simplicity, so much so, that even after the VeloSolex was stopped, the Solex carburetors kept on selling. Solex carburetors were even used by Japanese motorcycles, manufactured under a license by Mikuni.

The Solex has two speeds; Stop and Forward. But I digress... back to the race.

Every year, around this time in Chaumont Click for map, they hold the 24 hours of Solex. They have several categories, from the standard Solex:

24-Solex-Race

up to the Professional Prototype category:

24-Solex-Race

But it remains the same good old Solex two-stroke engine. Teams of three riders for each machine. The Pro Prototypes ride a distance over the 24 hours, of some 1500 kms, at speeds of 100 kph. The "standard" Solex will ride 900 kilometers over the 24 hour period.

The start of the race is done the old-fashion way; running to your "motorcycle". During the 24 hours, spectators are amused with concerts and other forms of entertainment, just like in Le Mans.

Click here for more information Open link in a new window (in French).

Below is a small video of the race. You might want to turn down the volume, since these little 2-strokers can make a lot of noise..

24 Hours Solex Race of Chaumont
(3 minutes 3 seconds)

     
Click to see the Video clip






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