MotoGp Le Mans

If anyone fancies a cheeky trip to the MotoGP, drop me a PM. ride on the Friday, back Sun evening.

Went to the 24 hour Le Mans this weekend, was awesome place with great views, facilities.

Did you stay in one of the campsites, are they still total anarchy?

I went to 24 heures du moto most years in 90s and 00s. The council used to deliver stacks
of pallet boards which got chained to bikes and dragged across the
site with bikers surfing on them before building bonfires.

What with the fires, smoke and engines revving all night, it was one
very mad place. One thing must be missing… the bang, rev, bang, rev,
bang of bikes held on full throttle with the kill switch flicked on
and off so they repeatedly hit the rev limiter and then fuel explodes
in the can, modern bikes with fuel injection won’t do that, don’t ask me how I know!

Spot on Mike.  Absolute carnage :slight_smile:

My SAM write up  for Mike DaBike :slight_smile:

Ever wondered what happens when 76,000 of the continent’s less responsible bikers are given free rein from the local police, a boat load of alcohol, a 24 hour bike race and a camp site to stay on for 3 days?   Probably not, but for those wondering, you can experience this first hand courtesy of the Le Mans 24 Hour moto race that takes place in April
and has now run for 40 years. 

Tickets (with camping) are around the £80 mark with the need to pay for the ferry/petrol costs on top.  So what do you get for your cash?   Well clearly the main attraction, is watching the 24 hour motorbike (Moto) race.   As a sporting spectacle, Le Mans gives you more racing to see than a whole season of Moto GP does. Due to the large number of teams - 60 - and the enforced pit stops (roughly every 50 minutes as they refuel/switch riders) there is always something happening as riders bunch up both in the pits and on the track.   I was also lucky enough this year to see a British team come third (Allez les Anglais) which is pretty rare in a traditionally French dominated race. 

You also get to attempt to get your head down on one of the 2 campsites next to the track, and this is where you really need to be organised.  There are two sites, green and red, which differ in a number of ways.   The green site/camp (genuinely named concentration) where we stayed, wasas expected full of bikes, tents, camp fires.  Cars were banned and we had to traipse in on foot with all our camping gear from the car park.  The variety of set ups was as you’d imagine, from pairs of tents camped
together to a few Motorcycle clubs that were 20 strong.  A huge variety of bikes with most head shaking being a Gixxer with a matching trailer.  My head nearly exploded on seeing that :slight_smile:

Anyhow, the atmosphere was good, the beer flowed, barbies burned, and a number of French sports bike owners performed a strange ritual of revving a bike to its limiter for 3 to 4 minutes at a time.  As funny as this was to listen too, it soon lost its attraction at 2am when you were ready for some kip.  I reckon 2 hours max was achieved before the sun came up and we heading for a well needed shower.

Saturday was the start of the actual race at 3pm, about 30 hours from when the first arrivals started, but the highlight (as bizarre as it sounds) was the tour later that evening that we made of the ‘red’ campsite.  All daywe had seen various smoke flumes going up and heard various explosions.  The constant ambulances sirens / lights were also a taster of the dangers of biking mixed with too much alcohol in 28 degrees heat.  But one mate was busy wetting our appetites (he went red the
previous year) with stories of how bikes are “sacrificed” by locals and so we headed off to see exactly what was happening.

I’ll start by describing what we met at the entrance.  Half a dozen bikers, helmetless, shirtless, beer can in hands, upto 4 people on each bike, riding around in zig zags on the gravel.  Basically lads being lads and showing off.   The revs, the smoke, the exhaust bangs were the French equivalent of lads doing stoppies / wheelies.  There was no security andI genuinely got the impression the police unofficially agreed to leave them to it, as they were scared to intervene.  And this the territory ofthe notorious CRS who I have witnessed at first hand previously, widely seen as thugs in uniforms happy to crack heads first and ask questions second.

Next up was a guy sat on a collapsed chair that was being towed by rope around the site by a mate on a bike, all naturally while holding onto his beer can.  These things are clearly important in chair drag racing. Next up was the bike that was left with its accelerator fully jammed on(in neutral) to run until it fell off its stand.  The dangers were
clear and I positioned myself behind a car in the hope that I’d be protected if the worst came off.

Around another corner and we saw a number of people with ear protectors and we soon realised why.  Bikes were now being run with the purpose of turning their exhausts into flame throwers.   The exhausts were ripped off and alternative exhausts added with items like house pipes or garden funnels, anything that was round really.   Holes were made in the new exhausts and oil (not petrol - that would be silly) poured in so the exhaust fumes would ignite and basically huge flames were then seen coming out, along the popping noises that meant that the ear defenders were a wise addition.

I am not sure at what stage a bike (they were mostly bandits for some reason) was ready for the final act, that was basically to set fire to it and to kill it.  RIP crosses sat in front of those already killed, and they were left for all to see.Clearly most of these bikes had seen better days and most were transported to the event for this bizarre death ritual that would have environmentalists shaking their heads at it all.  Whilst there, we saw an ambulance come in and it seems most were needed as a result of the bike accidents which were thankfully at low speeds given the lack of space / gravel / big number of people around. 

All in all a rather interesting, if intimidating insight into the world of French underground biking.  A real life “Lord of Flies” experience that was more than a little frightening.  I would recommend the trip to anyone but please, please if camping go for the concentration (green) option or I fear you will end up traumatised,  

So this month’s top tip from yours truly is when venturing into the world of Mad Max, take a guide, be sure to do it sober, by all means take a video and make sure you leave your “IAM headshakes” at home.   The French do things a little differently it seems :slight_smile:

Thanks BL that certainly brought back a few memories,
unfortunately not all good…

re. CRS, they did come in one year, when I saw a biker
killed in front of me, on the D323.

He lost it accelerating down the slip road, joining the dual
carriageway next to the racetrack, and the uprights under the crash barrier on
the central reserve chopped up his body as he slid along. “Il est
mort”, was all I heard another biker say as we stopped at the bottom of
the slip road. Then there was a crackdown, I’ve still got the “Rouler sans
alcool” badge they gave me.

Rouler sans alcool ?   What’s that in God’s own language?

Thanks BL that certainly brought back a few memories
If I was going to bet on another LBr having experienced Le Mans camping at the 24 Hr, it would have been you mate :-)

I am told the MotoGp is nowhere near as anarchic, same with the car 24 hour race.

I did Le Mans MotoGP with the wife in 2010 and we stayed in a hotel.
I booked the tickets and hotel through

All most enjoyable and rather civilised, she doesn’t do camping :wink:

(just checked and motoexpress no longer include Le Mans on their list)

BTW all my trips to Le Mans 24 hrs and MotoGP were by bike not car!