Racing on History Down Serre.
Words: Jon Stout
Photos: Lukas Leroy / Stoutmanjon
Serre Chevalier, France, a ski town located high up in the French Hautes- Alps, opened a bike park 5 years ago. With 8 trails in total and a passionate full time trail building crew of 4, its already fairly well established and liked in this captivating mountain region.
So what better way to promote a bike park than run an urban DH race in its stunningly historic neighbouring town of Briancon?
While taking a break from the tools of my job as a mechanic for the Polygon UR team I decided to join in the fun and give this urban DH racing a shot myself.
With Andrew Neethling still recovering from a fairly well broken hand and the Hannah’s off to the US it was down to Remy Morton and Jonty Neethling to represent team Polygon UR . Some other top names were on the start list too including ex world cup racer and now “free rider” Camille Blanchard as well as many other French cup regulars. Filip Polc also made an appearance and would be favourite for the win.
The track had a pretty spectacular top section. Starting in the remains of an old fortress the track weaved around the surrounding gully which provided a 10 meter double, a drop from a 6 meter high wall onto a long wooden landing and a death defying piece of woodwork before putting you out through an archway and into the street section.
The 10 meter double was for sure one of the top talking points of the day. The rumour was that it hadn’t been tested and with an average amount of speed from the left hander before it was unsure if anyone could generate enough BHP’s to clear the gap which had such high consequences. Luckily, huck man Jonty Neethling was on the scene and on his second practice run he quite positively “gave it ham” to be the first to send it. The high surrounding castle walls offered spectacular viewing points of what was easily the toughest feature of the track. The French locals gathered here in numbers for race runs to provide an almighty cheer for the select few horsemen that had the cannons and balls to make the gap.
The street section was made up of a few pedal sections and some cool features with the odd return to dirt. A stair set double with cheering kids, a few hucks to flat and of course the well spectated, sketchy wooden double right before the finish. No expense was spared when it came to building materials or track design and the finish arena held a great atmosphere all day.