Homegrown heroes took control on the first day of 2023 FIM Trial Vintage Trophy competition at the ski resort of Auron, high in the French Alps, as the FIM Trial des Nations (TdN) weekend got under way with a distinctly historical flavour.
Now in its second year following a successful debut event at the 2022 TdN at Monza in Italy, up for grabs are the FIM Trial Vintage Trophy for best overall performance on a vintage motorcycle and the FIM Trial Vintage Motorcycle Trophy for best performance on an authentic vintage motorcycle.
The first edition saw Philippe Berlatier, who across his career helped steer France to five TdN titles, come out on top in both categories, but after close of play today he currently sits second on his Bultaco behind Yamaha rider and fellow countryman Jean-Philippe Lerda with Fantic-mounted Franck Olivier completing a French one-two-three.
With fine weather adding to the friendly atmosphere and strong sense of nostalgia, man-made sections constructed from carefully positioned rocks bookended a twelve-section course featuring a mixture of hazards in a dry riverbed and plotted on a steep, loose hillside.
Organised by Moto Club de La Gaude in conjunction with the FIM, the event is open to all twin-shock motorcycles with a period-appropriate blue Trophy route and a less demanding green Support class route. Results are moderated according to a rider’s age, not the age of the machine.
With a good entry of twenty-five riders taking on the Trophy route, there is a strong international contingent on a real mix of machinery pushing for a podium position with Belgian Eric Verkenne (Yamaha), Eduardo Alvarez Blanco (Fantic) and Diego Urreta (Fantic) from Spain, French rider Michel Petitdemange (OSSA) and Britain’s Robin Luscombe (BSA) completing the top eight.
French riders are also filling the top three positions in the Support class with Julien Berthier (Bultaco) leading Pascal Benis (Kawasaki) and Thierry Lerda (Honda).
Day two of the FIM Trial Vintage Trophy gets under way at 09:00 local time tomorrow.
The action from Auron will be streamed LIVE on FIM-MOTO-TV at a cost of €7.99 for full weekend coverage.
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