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Alpe d’Huez supermoto 2012

By Steve Burns -

Touring & travel

 11 August 2012 10:27

Have I just witnessed the end of an era? If my information is correct, then the spectacle of Supermoto in the French Alpine village of Alpe d’Huez has had its day.

No more will the thunder need to compete with the thoroughbred race bikes bark, or the residents need to rub shoulders with the temporary influx of adrenaline fuelled petrol heads and their support crews.

The resort is no stranger to sporting gatherings as tens of thousands flock here for the annual Tour de France mountain stage in the summer as well as the strange appearance of events such as naked volleyball in the past.

But it would seem that the present mayor has had enough and the rumour is that this year’s event will be the last.

It's a shame as it has all the hallmarks of a classic motorcycle even; stunning setting high in the mountains with the most amazing access road clambering up to the 1,800 meter high picturesque village.

While not taking part or watching the competition there are so many things for the adventure seeker to do, mega downhill MTB tracks, paragliding, dry luge, and if the altitude does not leave you breathless the scenery will.

I for one truly hope that this is just a rumour because I will be back next year to witness the thrill and excitement of both the French and Italian rounds of supermoto in all it’s noisy glory and this time I might even throw myself off the top, hanging beneath a nylon canopy preferably.

Race 1 report
The First race of the weekend in the Italian championship, held in the spectacular surroundings of Alpe d’Huez, saw a win for Mauno Hermunen#131 (TM SHR) who led the race from the beginning, ahead of French brothers Thomas Chareyre on board the factory TM and Adrien on the Fast Wheels Aprilia.

SHR Racing's Hermunen set a fast pace from the outset with lap times consistently in the low 1:10s and being the only rider to drop into the 1:09s on the 12th lap of the race, with Chareyre unable to respond only lapping in a 1:10.4. Mauno finished 3.8 seconds ahead of his main rival.

The weather conditions were changeable to say the least, only to be expected in the 1,800 meter high alpine mountains, but despite this, race 1 was run in bright sunshine and brought a good haul for British team SHR who not only took the win from the French on their home turf but also saw their riders Matt Winstanley #251 on the TM SHR and Petr Vorlicek #202 (SHR HONDA) finish in 5th and 6th places respectively.

Vorlicek was able to hold off the Italian #8 finishing 4/10ths ahead at the line. Sami Solstola #146 SHR HONDA had a tough start to the race - his first couple of laps saw him roughed up and lose 3 places before he regrouped, dug deep and began to fight back, putting in his fastest lap mid race a 1,12.8 to close down on #68 Diego Monticelli aboard the Freccia Team Honda and pass him on lap 11 then go on to pull out a gap of over 10 seconds before taking a creditable 14th place with Malachi Mitchell-Thomas #666 only 3 seconds behind the Italian #68 in a well deserved 16th the 16 year old British rider posting his fastest lap of 1,13.6 on the 13th lap and fighting back to pass four riders and finish one place ahead of his grid position.

Race 2 report
Race two started under bright skies with a drying track, storm clouds were crowding around the peaks but all the riders on the grid were on slicks.

With the start line interviews over and the strains of AC/DC's Back in Black being drowned by the revving of 27 race engines the red light went out.

The hole shot advantage was taken by SHR’s Mauno Hermunen #131 making up three places off the line ahead of his main rival for the International Championship Thomas Chareyre #4.

SHR’s Matt Winstanley #251 slotted in behind the lead pair, ahead of Chareyre’s brother Adrien #5 and the lead SHR Honda of Petr Vorlicek #202.

Backing it in to the first corner with a clear track ahead of him Hermunen tried to pull out a lead by placing consecutively fast laps, but Chareyre stuck doggedly to his back wheel.

Lap 7 saw Hermunen #131 start to push hard and pull out a gap but to no avail and a slight mistake on lap 11 brought the live commentator to life, I had not noticed his absence until #4 made an inside pass on the last corner on to the straight and hysterical garble gave way to” Alle alle alle” echoing around the track and the crowd going wild.

Despite posting faster lap times Hermunen was unable to pass in the latter stages of the race, finishing half a second behind to split the points for this the 5th round of the Championship.

17 seconds down the track was the #5 of Adrien Chareyre followed 5 seconds later by #251 Winstanley and #201 Vorlicek just held off Lazzarini #30 to take 5th.

Hermunen has only finished off the top step of the podium twice this season, both of them being a second place to Chareyre which leaves him 18 points clear in the standings with only 2 races to go.