Swiss Monty - In the Beginning
Friday 26 November 2010
by Ben Swales

PNG - 335.7 kb When we talk about Monty, we more often than not think of Spain first and then Switzerland second. Jacqueline and Robert Gavillet and their son JoŽl managed to make Switzerland the second stronghold of the Spanish brand that is so linked to the origins of our sport. It is with a some sadness that we tell you that at the end of last year, after 23 years of loyal service to biketrials, Jacqueline and Robert Gavillet took their retirement and handed the reins of their Monty import business over to another family. The Vuilleme family, who hail from Epauvillers, between Delťmont and Porrentruy, have taken up the torch and have been in charge of Swiss Monty since 01 January 2010.

Here’s a look back over the history of the Gavillet family’s passion, a passion which has left a mark on the sport in Switzerland and beyond. Part 1 of the Gavillet saga: In the Beginning! Thanks to Monty for the translation of the original article.


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Jacqueline & Robert take their retirement after 23 years in the “ Velo‐Trial “ World and transmit their business as an official Monty agent in Switzerland. It is the occasion to remember the passion of this family towards the “Velo Trial “in their country and abroad as well, along these years since they began with this sport. Great funs of the motorbike races, Jacqueline & Robert were present in all the “ Gran Prix “ circuits during the years 60 and 70 following their friend and retired rider : Paul‐Henri Chollet. Robert, as an ingenious, self‐taught and concentric carpenter, began being the machinist from all the motormen round the Moudon area. In 1970, Jacqueline & Rober had their son and they gave him the name JoŽl, in allusion to the popular Motocross rider JoŽl Robert.

1970, Jacqueline on Robert’s motorbike with a 6 month old JoŽl in her arms. This bike would take them all over Europe!

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Robert found out the trial sport with motorbike at the beginning of the 70’s and he will practise it as amateur till 1976, when Robert broke one of his knees while he was riding and this fact prevented him of continuing with this sport. But along these years many young people from the woods where Robert used to train had already taken their motorbikes interested in this sport and began to imitate to the pioneer Robert so this sport could go on without him in this area.

At the start of the 70s: Robert on his Honda 125TL, modified for trials use, with JoŽl. By their side, some of the future founding members of the Moudon Trial Club Passepartout.

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These same young riders founded, in 1983, the “Club Passepartout“ in Moudon and Robert was named as honoured member. JoŽl, at the age of 13, was already well interested in the trial with a motorbike, but in those days the possibilities to practice this sport in Switzerland were difficult and if one were young even worse. Then, he would only ride with motorbikes let from members of the club.In the same year. Some members of the club went to Spain in order to make a weekly training and there, they discovered some young people performing trial with a bicycle. They decided to buy one unit and took it to Switzerland. The bicycle was the Model: Montesita T10 developed by the former Spanish rider Pere Pi. As everyone said, in those days, to perform trial on a bicycle was the best school towards the trial on a motorbike , Joťl changed to the bicycle and the club let him its T10 for a long time, along the season and the next winter. Joťl began to imitate the members of the club with their motorbikes.

1983: JoŽl on the Montesita T10 that he was lent by the Trial Club Passepartout

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Then, the family following some indoor trials in Switzerland had the occasion to discover the shows performed by the French rider Tierry Girard: All of them were enchanted from what a rider could do with a bicycle.

Indoor Trials in Sierre: a demo by Thierry Girard (centre) et Alain Pascal (left)

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In 1984, Joťl already got his own bicycle. A Fantic. The “Velo‐Trial” was not yet well known in Switzerland and the competitions were only taken place in the German Switzerland part. Some bicycle riders from a neighbour club took him in one competition and Joťl finished second in the beginner category in his first event. Towards the second competition, all the family moved to it and JoŽl prepared the bicycle for his son. This is the beginning of everything.

JoŽl at one of his first competitions on the Fantic, an almost unbreakable (apart from the handlebars!). In those days, helmets weren’t obligatory…

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In 1985, JoŽl changed his bicycle for the best one in that ťpoque: la Monty T‐19. The first bicycle produced by Pere Pi, after his depart from Montesa.In the same year, Robert & Jaqueline took their son to all the competitions held in Switzerland. JoŽl had, then, 15 years old and the family decided to get his first licence and it was when Joťl had to face with the Elite riders, category A, dominated, then, by a certain rider Hans Rey . Suddenly, JoŽl decided to enter into the Beginner category in two events, after having checked his level with the other Elite riders to finish the season. JoŽl frustrated with his second place, on the first event as beginner, he took licence for his respective category on the next competition. He made great progress along the season and he finished making podium and 6 in the Swiss Championship general classification

Hans Rey, riding a Monty T19, warms up before a round of teh Swiss Championship. Here, the exercise was to climb the steps on just his front wheel… impressive!

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In 1985, during the summer, Hans Rey made a small report in the Cycle Federation newspaper and Joťl made the translation from German to French: “An event towards the European Trialsin Cup is to take place, in Granoble, France “ ( in that year, the World Trialsin Championship did not exist ) . Trialsin was the official name by the UCI for the trial on bicycle. Trial – Sin, literally, wanted to say: trial without engine. Robert et JoŽl took this opportunity to go to France and watch the zcompetition and to meet Mr. Pere Pi. (founder and director of the Monty brand ). In that time, he was also in charge of arranging a bus for all the Spanish riders following the whole World Cup, set during the summer holidays to facilitate to the rider families. The talking between Mr. Pi and Robert were in good terms. Robert explained that it was very difficult to get material in Switzerland, the Monty service was handed by an important garage ZŁrichois, whose mind preoccupation was the motorbikes, letting the trial bicycles apart.

The 1985 European Cup in Grenoble (France).

Hans Rey

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Frenchman Thierry Girard

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Italian Alberto Limatore

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Belgian Daniel Crosset

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Frenchman Sylvain Girard

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The great Ot Pi

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Regretting not having taken his bike to take part in this round of the European Cup, JoŽl immediately signed up for the following weekend’s round in Emmendingen, Germany, and Jacqueline et Robert didn’t hesitate to drive him down there. Despite racking up a number of fives in his first international competition, JoŽl managed to get through one section on a two and gathered a lot of great memories. He particularly remembers the first section, where a particularly nasty root caused Thierry Girard to touch the ground with his handlebar, costing him ten points, while local rider Hans Rey, committing the same error, benefitted from the leniency of the local observers.

The 1985 European Cup in Emmendingen (Germany)

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JoŽl taking part in his first international competition. Thierry Girard fived this section both times, You can see that helmets are now obligatory.

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In 1986, Robert took all the family to Barcelona during the Easter holidays. First visit to Monty factory and some material was taken into the car.

Ot Pi and JoŽl discutent in the back of what was to become the first SwissMonty service bus

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JoŽl training in Barcelona

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Ot Pi, winner of the Castellvi de Rosanes round of the Catalan Championship. The village would go on to host a Biketrial World Championship.

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Some months later, after having talked with ZŁrichois, Mr. Pi confirmed to Jacqueline and Robert the agreement to be the official Monty agent in Switzerland. This was the beginning of a great adventure for all the family, since Jacqueline was to be in charge of the account affairs and Joťl of the German correspondence. SwissMonty Promotion was born and a great business collaboration of self‐confidence and friendship began between the Gavillet family and the Monty brand. On the same time, Robert organized the first event towards the “championnat Suisse “ of Velo trial in Moudon, with the essential and effective help of the club “ Trial Club Passepartout) and that activity went on for 5 years, and Jacqueline taking care for the search of sponsors and for the bureau. But, the activities of “SwissMonty” took much of the JoŽl time that he decided to let his presidency to other members of the club. Since then “Le trial Club passepartout” had organized a competition per year since 1991 when another Switzerland club took the charges.

1986: the first competition in Moudon. In the absence of Hans Rey, Daniel Wenger from Bern (on the bike) would go on to win the round on a steel bike built by his father, JoŽl (standing on the pipe) would finish second. Robert is on the right, observing while Jacqueline took care of things at control.

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Part two of this saga:
- The Swiss Monty Adventure Continues