FRENCH CHAMPS

MONTGENEVRE, FRANCE

It wasn’t initially planned to do a race report about the French Championships, which took place in Montgenèvre next to the Italian border in the Hautes Alpes. However, after a successful and quite surprising weekend, we had to let you know more about them!

We were ready to give our best and bring back the 3 possible National jerseys in the elite women, junior men and elite men’s categories.

After a heart breaking week leading up to these championships with the loss of our good friend Ivan “Zoz” Oziol, with who we spent unforgettable memories, hanging with him as he was the same age as Gaëtan (Ruffin), sharing the same school classes with Myriam and Gaëtan for 3 years. We shared so many good times with him riding, racing, travelling, partying and most of all having fun, that we will never forget. He probably gave us the extra power and crazy motivation that helped this weekend…

A big tribute for our friend Zoz! ©KenoDerleyn

A big tribute for our friend Zoz! ©KenoDerleyn

The track was like a ski race for the first minute, with high speed hilly grass corners, then dropping in a rocky and dusty gully, to a few motocross style steep corners, finishing with jumps and high speed flat and loose corners.

Thibaut was the fastest guy on the top section ©KenoDerleyn

Thibaut was the fastest guy on the top section ©KenoDerleyn

After the seeding run on Saturday, Myriam was leading in the women by more than 10 seconds, Gaëtan (Vigé) was 3rd in the juniors and Thibaut was surprisingly leading the men’s field by 1 second, Rémi was 6th and Gaëtan (Ruffin) 11th.

Rémi still with style ©KenoDerleyn

Rémi still with style ©KenoDerleyn

Finals took place on Sunday. Gaëtan (Vigé) was the first of the team to cross the finish line and hold the hot seat for a while as he was out of top 20 seeding, he raced with the junior category as the 2 last juniors were starting among the top 20 men. His time wasn’t beaten and he eventually became the new Junior French Champion!

Junior ©KenoDerleyn

Junior ©KenoDerleyn

Then, before the top 20 men, the women’s race took place. Myriam had a pretty messy run with a few mistakes, but she still managed to keep it together and won her 3rd French Champion title by 5 seconds.

Pompon in the dust ©KenoDerleyn

Pompon in the dust ©KenoDerleyn

Gaëtan (Ruffin) finally had the run he was capable of. He was the first to beat Thibaut’s time from seeding and took the hot seat by more than 2 seconds! He will finish 6th, 3 seconds back. He wanted to give his best for Zoz and he did it!

Gaetan was happy to do a good run for his friend Zoz ©KenoDerleyn

Gaetan was happy to do a good run for his friend Zoz ©KenoDerleyn

Rémi wanted this title so bad because he has narrowly missed it every year since he has raced in the elite category. But unfortunately, it wasn’t to be again, a mistake on the top section cost him some precious time. He ended up 4th only a few tenths off the podium. Absolutely no doubt he will get his revenge soon enough!

Everybody was happy for Thibaut! ©KenoDerleyn

Everybody was happy for Thibaut! ©KenoDerleyn

Thibaut was the last man down the hill. Quite an uncomfortable and unfamiliar situation for him but he managed to keep his calm and he stayed focused, putting down the run he wanted. Even if he was afraid that he’d been too cautious on some parts, he crossed the finish line with the fastest time by 1 second. French Champion after 17 years of racing is a great reward for him! He did it for his friend and was so stoked to dedicate this victory to him!

FOR YOU ZOZ! ©KenoDerleyn

FOR YOU ZOZ! ©KenoDerleyn

We had hoped for a weekend like this – 3 titles out of 3! All the men in the top 6! It’s definitely the kind of weekend we like, so we won’t stop!

No words ©KenoDerleyn

No words ©KenoDerleyn

See you in Mont Sainte Anne for the next World Cup in less than 3 weeks!

Thank you all!