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European Diary 2 By Bob McCaughan

Back to Diary 1

The second edition of Bob's diaries from Morzine shows the British how to bring the races to town.

Introduction
You wouldn't get this in your local town! Thankfully the French go for it big time and have taken over the town of Morzine for this weekend. The main event is the Free Raid Classic VTT, but you wouldn't miss it as there is a 4X course down one street, dirt jumps and music stage in the Square and trade stands all over the place!

'La Free Raid Classic VTT'
This runs for 3 days (Fri ' Sun), uses 11 chairlifts and comprises 7 areas including Morzine, Les Gets, Chatel and Champery. The ideal bike is short-travel (4 - 5'), full-suspension, as the competitors have to pass along many mountain ridge sections, with all the main ascents taken care of by the chairlifts. There have been many new downhill sections taped out for the event which have been formed by a grass mower path cut through the meadows / ski pistes, joining to woodland and existing DH trails. I'll have some photos of the areas covered in the next diary.
Dirt (Big Air) sponsored by Dirt SUNN

Teams ' Planet X, 24 Bicycles, Felt, Dragon Fly & On One
With about 20 riders taking part in this event and spending the first part of their time giving verbal abuse to the commentator for blocking the dirt jumps, while throwing stickers, T-shirts, semi-naked Frenchmen to the crowd, they decided to try and catch him with their rear wheels.
When they did get a shot at the jumps the riding was pretty good with backflips, heel-clickers, no-hand landings, nothings and the odd Superman thrown in. The best crowd-pleasers were when the commentator shouted 'Choo-Choo' and all the guys came down in succession pulling big jumps and emergency transfers if the rider before had a stack!

Biker Cross sponsored by Mavic & Marzocchi
About an hour of close racing on a Sunday avo can't be bad, especially as it's down a main street in your town! The course was built from the Pleney lift station down to the main square in Morzine (about 400m long). Comprising a raised, gated start to a big RH berm, road crossing jump, stutter bumps, big double into a tight S-turn to a small double and finish. All told the view was good.
From a high vantage point about ' way down the course (@ stutter bumps) I saw the road crossing being avoided by some lesser mortals (it did require full speed and commitment) and the fast line over the stutter bumps (to jump from the flat start and clear ' of them, rather than jump from the up-slope and land in the middle).

Trade Areas & Features
Trade stands included Michelin, Marzocchi, SRAM, Giant, Scott USA, Planet X and Commencal Bicycles, with many more smaller retailers. Bits of note were the 24-Bicycles (24' wheels only) full-sus. frame with an air-shock above the top-tube. Made me wince slightly as it is a moving part ideally placed to squish yer family jewels.
Ellsworth Dare frame was looking pretty robust, but the one to sell family members for is the Santa Cruz V10 with 12' Marzocchi Monsters (what kerb, boulder, fallen redwood etc)

Sponsors:
WWW.JOLLYGOOD.COM
WWW.CHAINREACTIONCYCLES.COM

 

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