A First-of-Its-Kind Electric Motocross Race Series in Saint Tropez, France

In early September, motorcycle connoisseurs Oliver Le Quellec and Vincent Prat (founder of Wheels and Waves), hosted a world-premiere motocross race for electric bikes in the heart of Saint Tropez, France featuring the motorcycles of Swedish company CAKE.

Past future Perfect by Sebastien Zanella

The chic coastal town nestled on the banks of the French Riviera first became famous in the 1950’s with the release of the iconic film God Created Woman, featuring the smoldering Brigitte Bardot. Saint Tropez has long been a mecca for the international “jet set” crowd. Still widely acclaimed for its pristine beaches and bustling nightlife, Saint Tropez doesn’t seem like the typical place where one would host the electric equivalent of Formula 1. However, due to Prat’s and Le Quellec’s unique vision and the zero pollution and absolute silence that electric bikes offer, the world’s very first electric motocross championship took place amidst bars, restaurants, shops, and hotels in the center of the village.

The track was tight, the action fast and quick. [Fabio Afuso]
“The silence of the motorcycles made it possible to hold the competition in the heart of the city without creating the slightest nuisance, noise, or odor,” Prat explained.

More than 1,700 tons of local soil was moved to create the track. Prat enlisted the help of a local architect to ensure it was the best possible track for the riders.

1700 tons of dirt in an empty lot in the center of Saint Tropez – instant motocross! [Fabio Afuso]
“The track, halfway between a BMX and a motocross track, promised to provide a fast and spectacular spectacle,” he stated.

The ephemeral track’s main advantage was its total visibility, enabling the audience to follow the duels in detail and to fully appreciate the piloting efficiency of the riders.

The competition brought together more than 100 riders with widely varying levels of experience and backgrounds. Motocross world champions such as Mickael Maschio shared the track with pilots who only participated in the sport recreationally. All riders operated the CAKE Kalk, a 67kg electric machine that delivered the power and torque comparable to a 200cc thermic motocross bike.

The CAKE Kalk racers and roadsters in various liveries: a winner of design awards all over Europe for its clean, Dieter Rams styling. [Fabio Afuso]
After a day of qualifying, 48 pilots who achieved the best lap times in their respective categories were selected and divided into three series of 16, including the Swallows, Cuckoos, and Eagles, to participate in one-to-one races with direct elimination.

“The Swallows opened the competition,” Prat explained. “The 16 pilots of a very good level offered a quality show and the victory went to Amaury Mobius.  Then came the Cuckoos category. The winner was Sebastien Jondeau, who perfectly mastered his competition. The Eagles category, made up of pros, delivered a breathtaking performance with virtuosos showcasing the gestural art of the pilot becoming one with his machine.”

A gopher’s eye view of the action! The riders could really throw the 63kg bikes around. [Sebastien Zanella]
For 2021, the race is slated to be added to the Urban Motocross circuit and include a trials and an endurance event.

“The objective is to create a real testing laboratory for new mobility in Saint Tropez. Additionally, the promoters are working in collaboration with the Federation to create a real national and international championship,” said Prat.

Organizers Vincent Prat and Olivier Le Quellec take a well-deserved break from organizing a pioneering race event. [Fabio Afuso]
[We are watching the future of motocross competition unfold before our eyes, right in the heart of the most unlikely of places: a major tourist destination on the French Riviera.  Amazingly, a parking lot was filled with dirt, the course shaped, the riders arrived, the race was run, and everyone was pleased, in one of the most moto-bureaucratic countries on earth.  If it can happen in Saint Tropez, it can happen anywhere.  Sadly, although invited over a year ago, The Vintagent team was unable to attend/race at Elektrafuture in person, due to the worldwide travel ban on American citizens for our failure to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 within our own borders. – ed.]

 

Stephanie Weaver is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. When she’s not locked to her laptop, she can be found riding horses and motorcycles.

 

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