K-124 Days 2011 - Jour 1
K-124 Days 2011 - Día 1

K-124 Days 2011 - Day 1

Sunday 24 April 2011
by Ben Swales
popularity : 9%

PNG - 382.8 kb Those who were at K-124 Days 2010 won’t forget it in a hurry. Buthiers was great, but to see what the BTFC team were capable of setting on their home turf was something else! The rain came to play the party pooper and made conditions even more difficult: the first round pushed the riders to their very limits on the rocky sections on the side of the hill. The riders were in hell, the spectators, following their heroes, were sliding about in the mud, the sound of brakes echoed through the woods; it was like Glastonbury for trials bikes. The second round, which took place in the lower part of the venue, was more traditionally UCI, and the sections were even more difficult! In short, the first international fixture of the season was definitely one of the hardest. Just as Alain Rémy wanted it. This year there are no sections on the hill, to the disappointment of some of the riders, and both rounds are to take place in the lower part of the site. This doesn’t mean that things will be any easier for the riders however! The sections are even harder than last year! As an example, the landing of the enormous gap from the wooden tower, which we all remember from last year, has been raised by 30cm! Everything is more difficult and more technical. Alain Rémy, who views this trial as an experiment, testing the limits of the riders and of trials itself, has done it again! The riders, who come to K-124 days from all over Europe for the same reason, to push themselves and to see just how far they can go, were not disappointed. This year there are a record number of spectators, both experienced trials fans and ‘newbies’, attracted by the hype. The organisers have done an impressive job, the weather is much better than last year and the atmosphere is buzzing, despite a technical problem that put the loudspeaker out of action for the first day. At about 15:00 the Elite and Super Elite riders began their warm-ups, with huge sidehops and front wheel moves being thrown all over the tyre sections. The trial, which had been supposed to start fifteen minutes later, was pushed back, so the warm-up was prolonged, to our great pleasure. With the riders all gathered together on the one section, we were treated to a great display of skill! The Coust brothers were vying to outdo each other with an enormous gap to front. Vincent was attempting a huge gap at quite a height; he managed it, but fell violently shortly afterwards. He got straight back up, however, and this time he made it perfectly. Benito Ros, last year’s winner, was piling the pressure onto the other riders. Then the trial begins and the festival is under way. The level of riding has been raised once again, the atmosphere of the event is magical and the crowd rub shoulders with their heroes all over the site.

Gilles’ riding is in another dimension, pushed further by the crowd of spectators following him around. He finished his first lap without conceding a single point, and with incredible style. Gilles will be an incredible force to be reckoned with in 2011.

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Vincent Hermance is riding very strongly this year, under the watchful and experienced eye of Marc Vinco, and does his best to keep up with the pace set by Gilles. However, a few mistakes cost him dearly. He is currently in second place with 19 points.

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Benito Ros seemed to have some trouble getting into the swing of things, but once he did, he fought like a demon to catch up. He made up for his early mistakes by finishing the top section, apparently on clean, but a missed flag meant that he picked up the maximum penalty. He took another five in the next section and his hopes of victory slipped from his grasp.

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Giacomo Coustellier is on impressive form, riding well despite some big mistakes that left him shouting with rage. He finished on the same points as Benito Ros.

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Théau Courtès is trying his hand at Super Elite this year, but he had to make use of a few strato dabs just to get through some of the bigger sections.

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Guillaume Dunand, last year’s Elite Winner, had some mixed results in the sections, getting through some of them and coming up short in others.

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German Champion Hannesz Hemrmann is also riding in Super Elite this year: he is there to learn, to gain experience from the best, and attempts everything in his path. He often just misses the mark, taking unlucky fives in some sections, but his level of riding is impressive, especially on the big moves.

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The Elite competition was just as spectacular. Four riders have separated themselves apart from the others and it is all to play for between them for the overall victory. Belgian Vice-Champion Iciar Van den Bergh is currently leading, flying through sections with impressive consistency, conceding just two points on his second lap, in the dreaded wooden tower section. Local boy Morgan Rémy is in second, putting his local knowledge to good use on the sections. Two-time Junior World Champion Ion Areitio is showing the more experienced Elite riders a thing or two in third place. Nicolas Vuillermot struggled in some of the sections, but still managed to keep up with the top three. The first day of this festival of trials is over. It was intense and difficult and set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Day two looks set to be charged with emotion and intensity and with the sections being run in reverse, should be just as, if not more difficult than the first. Alain Rémy has even added some extra hazards to some of the sections! We can’t wait!

MORE PHOTOS & INTERVIEWS COMING SOON...


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