To say I am excited about this new two-day Classic trials event is a massive understatement. My first adventure to Andorra was back in 1989 in John Shirt’s ex-Parcel Force Mercedes 307D Van. We were in Spain on a visit to the Gas Gas factory in Gerona, when on route to the Spanish world round we took a detour via this small principality of Andorra close to the Spanish border. As it’s a tax-free haven the price of things compared to the UK was ridiculously cheap. The thennew Shoei TR2P trials helmet was the one to have, and we found these around 50% cheaper than at home. As always when you are abroad we also bumped into one of John Shirt’s oldest friends, Harold Crawford and his wife Audrey. A few of you will remember when ‘Harry’ used to compete in all the world rounds on his Yamaha living in his converted van with Audrey! He soon informed us that a gallon bottle of Jonny Walker Whiskey was a mere £12, which Audrey soon confirmed as she had bought one. As with many of the current FIM Trial World Championship rounds Andorra has been a firm fixture on the list for many years and the small town of St Julia de Loria at the southern edge of the principality welcomes the sport of motorcycle trials with open arms. Article: Frank Delubac and John Hulme • Pictures: Jean Claude Comméat/Canon Eos 5D
The ever-growing classic trials scene is gathering pace at a rapid speed, with the two-day format proving very popular all around Europe. My trip to the Costa Brava Classic is a firm fixture in the diary, and for events such as the Highland Two Day on the Alvie estate (which I'm unable to attend due to world championship commitments) we always have other motorcycle enthusiasts representing Classis Trial Magazine. This year, the Leven Valley Two Day trial joins the calendar for the first time in Kinlochleven, which is where we will be in September.
Andorra is a well-known place for the motorcycle trial enthusiast, and just three weeks before the classic two-day the FIM had visited the principality located in the Pyrenees between France and Spain for round three of the 2018 Trial World Championship.
A ‘hub’ for sports enthusiasts, it has welcomed the world of motorcycle trials for many years with the first FIM event held in 1992. With a population of around 85,000, Andorra is an independent principality better known for its ski resorts as well as enjoying a tax-haven status. Just for the record, Andorra’s most famous motorcycle trials resident is a certain Toni Bou. Andorra is a fantastic place and one of outstanding natural beauty, leaving an impression on everyone who visits the area.
On the weekend of 30th June and 1st of July, the local Andorra trial club took their chance in organising the first two-day classic trial in Sant Julia de Loria, which has an altitude of some 900 meters.
The first event attracted a very mixed entry of 163 riders with many locals entered along with riders from France, Spain, Catalunia, Belgium and Italy.
The original idea for the trial came from Xavier Crespo, the Andorra Trials Club president, supported by Miguel Angel Garcia and Joan Pere Santure who was overall in charge of setting out the course and the hazards. The hazards were plotted out high in the mountains ranging from the 900 metres of the start area in Sant Julia de Loria up to the dizzy heights of 2,200 metres. The total lap would be 22 kilometres, taking in 20 hazards on each of their two days. Three routes were on offer to suit riders of all abilities, and the riders reported back after the event that much thought had been put into the hazards by Joan Pere Santure and his friends. Many of the rocky rivers were used, which contained quite high levels of water due to the huge amount of snow in the winter melting under the summer sun.
The majority of the riders reported back that the two days of superb trials riding had been thoroughly enjoyed. As we have already stated, many of the hazards were in the rivers, but there was also a good selection of other technical hazards taking in the rocks and climbs found in abundance in this mountainous area. With the three routes on offer, everyone is invited to attempt all the hazards.
What is interesting to note is that no riders recorded clean scores on either day. The going between the hazards can at times be testing with some very long descents, but the local club has many marshals on hand to help in the most difficult areas.
Frank Delubac: “The routes down from the higher parts of the course require some concentration as they are at times quite steep, but at the end of the two days happy faces could be seen all around. The opportunity to compete in a trials event in this part of the world is a massive privilege, and I have to thank the organisers, all the staff, the Marshalls and everybody involved for being so kind and professional”.
Andorra Two-Day 2019
We have no date as yet for the 2019 event but as soon as we do will print all the relevant contact details and also put them on our website. You can also look at the club’s superb website: www.fma.ad/contacta/. Below we have listed some interesting information if you are thinking of riding or even spectating.
Where is the trial? Sant Julia de Loria, which is a principality/district of Andorra, is where the trial starts. Nearest Airports: Barcelona, Spain: 220km; Toulouse, France: 230km. For hotel information visit: www.visitandorra.com. There are many hotels and restaurants in walking distance from the start at Sant Julia de Loria and, who knows, you may just bump into Toni Bou!