Classic Bike (UK) - - Classic World - Gilles Valade

New Cale­do­nia, a French ter­ri­tory com­pris­ing dozens of is­lands in the South Pacific, isn’t a place you’d as­so­ciate with Ducatis, un­til you speak to Gilles. “Our Du­cati Own­ers Club there has 90 mem­bers and around 150 bikes,” said the for­mer club pres­i­dent. As New Cale­do­nia only has a go-kart track suited to pocket bikes, Gilles trav­els to France to race both mod­ern and vintage Ducatis.

He was rac­ing at Phillip Is­land courtesy of Aussie Al Harper. The pair first met at a French vintage rac­ing en­durance event and last year Al vis­ited Gilles’s Pacific home and rode 500 miles around New Cale­do­nia with 24 local Du­cati club mem­bers.

Gilles was on Al’s 1981 TT2, an orig­i­nal racer built up in Ger­many for Bat­tle of the Twins. It only has a 598cc mo­tor but Gilles was mix­ing it with the big boys all week­end.

Gilles was show­ing his Gal­lic flair both on and off the track

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