News Cyril Despres Spearheads Andorra 500 Classic Moto Road Rally

Cyril Despres Spearheads Andorra 500 Classic Moto Road Rally

Andorra 500 Classic Moto Road Rally

Andorra is a tiny principality covering only 181 square miles that sits land-locked on the border between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains.

Its capital and largest city, Andorra la Vella, is home to fewer than 20,000 souls, and as of 2012, only about 85,000 people lived in the entire country. But its location blesses it with the splendor of rugged country and Mediterranean climate.

On average, it gets 300 sunny days a year. This is the backdrop for the just-announced Andorra 500 Moto Classic Road Regularity Rally.

The event is the brain-child of five-time Dakar winner Cyril Despres who plans the inaugural event for June 2015, though the final date is not yet set. Depres, who recently retired from racing motorcycles to become a new Peugeot rally driver says the rally was born out his passion for motorcycle sport.

“Obviously I’m really excited by the challenge of switching from racing on 2 wheels to 4, but I couldn’t imagine not having any direct involvement in motorcycling. As an ex-mechanic I’ve also always loved the simplicity of classic bikes and this way I can continue to work and ride with the close knit team of people who’ve been alongside me for years. It is also a great pretext for getting together some of the many enthusiasts I have met on my travels these last 15 years and make some new friends along the way,” Depres says.

Andorra and neighboring France and Spain have fantastic scenery and the kind of twisty roads just made for riding motorcycles. With a strong culture of sport and motorcycling, the Andorran government is fully behind the project and sees no inconvenience in closing roads and providing logistical back up to support the event.

The event participants will cover 500 kilometers over three and a half days riding. The route, three loops from the rally HQ based in the mountain village of Ordino, has been carefully designed to show the very best of what the region has to offer in terms of countryside, roads and cuisine.

Depres and his team have a particular affection for the bikes of their youth so they agreed from the outset to make the event as inclusive as possible, with classes for machines from “pre-war” to the “eighties.” For fans of modified machines, there will also be categories for café-racers, bobbers and modified neo-retros.

Although Depres is strongly associated with “off-road,” the event will only include a couple of kilometers of gravel track.

“Riding bikes in the dirt is what I did for work. Riding classic bikes on the amazing tarmac roads we have here in the region is such a pleasure and that is what I want to share with participants,” he explains.

“But of course, with my background, there has to be an element of sport. The ‘regularity’ component, with participants having to maintain an average speed over closed roads and local tracks will give the Andorra 500 just the right dose of competition.”

The details are still being finalized but the idea is to “pepper” the route with timed specials, plus gymkhanas and a concourse d’elegance. Just enough to raise the event above a simple “ride-out” without making it too serious.

Included from the world of rally is the system of navigation, with all participants’ machines being fitted with a Tripy electronic GPS road book. Much simpler to use than its paper equivalent, it brings a taste of Dakar to the event while allowing everybody’s average speed to be accurately calculated.

Another goal of the event is to recreate the conviviality of the rally bivouac, so while hotel accommodations will be provided for all participants, the evenings’ activities will be center around the rally village in the hotel’s grounds, with music groups, presentations by Depres and some of his colleagues, nightly barbecues and a gala prize.

The exact date of the event will be announced in November and other details will be given as they become available. For more information: email contact@andorra500.com, or visit www.andorra500.com.

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