Obituary – Charly Custard’s Father
Claude Coutard, better known as Charles Coutard’s father, was the last pioneer of trials in France and the founder of a dynasty that can only be compared to the Lampkins. He passed away last month aged 89.
Involved in the organisation of the St-Cucufa international trial in the early 50s, Claude was also a keen rider. In 1961 he gained international status on his JLO-engined bitza. In 1968 aged 40 he was second to an unbeatable Christian Rayer on a Bultaco, a brand he was the first to import into France with his friend Claude Peugeot, becoming friends with Senor Bulto in the process. In 1981, after 10 years of a successful Bultaco dealership in Lyon, coaching his son’s career – Charles was eight times French champion and spent eight years in the WTC top ten – and winning the French sidecar championship in 1975 he moved to Rochepaule, Ardeche where, with wife Josette, he opened a trials school that lasted 20 years, with top riders of the time becoming teachers for thousands of young and not-soyoung enthusiasts.
He also created his famed and often copied ‘Vieilles Tiges’ event, welcoming hundreds of riders over 40 or twins hockmounted from all over Europe. Claude was also influential in the development of classic trials in France and until recently a regular contributor to Trial Magazine. He will be sadly missed by our community worldwide – Jean Caillou.