17-18 May 2003

COUPES MOTO LEGENDE - MONTLHÉRY 

 


The fact that this was last year that the Coupes Moto Legende were held at the Autodrome of Linas-Montlhéry filled many of us with a little sadness. Next year the event will move to the racetrack of Dijon. We'll see if a similar atmosphere can be recreated there. I certainly hope so but the special ambiance of Montlhéry will be missed.

The Laverda symphony attracted some attention..

The weekend started with a few disappointments. I had hoped to find the new SFC1000 prototype at the Laverda stand but it was not there. I also had hoped, and I know many with me, to see the V6 on the track again but also this machine remained in Italy so we could not enjoy the fabulous music that never bores...

Was that bad start of a bad weekend? No!

An original aluminium 5000 batch tank on a replica SFC

For me the Saturday started when just after breakfast I rolled my Electronica to the Laverda hospitality tent where it was going to be displayed and from time to time I would take her out on the track which hopefully was going to be dry because the weather was not very nice and the forecast was not very favourable as well..

When I stopped the SFC in front of the tent, Piero Laverda was waving to me. I put the Electronica on the stand, walked to him wondering what was the matter when he said ‘Marnix, do you want to ride my TT1 racer on the track?’ What a question, of course I do! All this meant I had to dash back to my tent to put riding gear on as the session was starting within 15 minutes.. 

When I returned, Piero Laverda and Augusto Brettoni were busy starting the orange/blue racer, apparently the battery was already empty after their attempts to bring life in the unwilling 100+ bhp RGS racer. A starter battery helped and with the aid of a few hands partially covering the bell mouths as an artificial choke, the TT1 fired up with a big bang and flame from the completely open megaphone.. My goodness what a noisy beast and what an aggressive throttle response with that light F1 crankshaft spinning in there. Piero warned me for the combination of enormous performance in combination with high weight of the bike. I comforted him by telling him that I am quite used to riding an RGS, but knew at the same time that I never rode it on a racetrack and that this was a ‘little’ faster than my stock bike at home..

Knowing the battery was low I made sure that the engine would not stall and I cautiously rode through the crowd to the parc fermé where press and television were awaiting the riders. This screaming bright orange (with a touch of blue) Laverda with ‘Piero Laverda’ written on the screen attracted a lot of attention and soon I had to pose here and pose there, while Piero was correcting the Italian journalists about the correct spelling of my name..

Then on the track we went. It was not completely dry, so with the always present oil on the track which is partially concrete with tarmac patches, the condition could best be described as tricky, especially knowing that I was on a fast and heavy, left shifting, racer.

I took things easy during the first lap and the bike felt like a good handling RGS and the torque was certainly promising. When I went op the banking for the first time I felt fairly comfortable and I when I came down to take the first chicane I was confident the beast would take the line that I am used to taking through it. I was wrong… The RGS had different plans and decided to take a line that headed right over the kerbstones and into the gravel… A mighty struggle followed which must have been an interesting sight to see and which had more to do with a rodeo than with road racing, but I managed to stay clear from the gravel but wobbled over the antique kerbstones while heading up again in the second section of the banking… The TT1 had given clear warning that she has something to say also..

On the straight the acceleration was fantastic and when giving full throttle the clutch started to slip a little. The engine revved amazingly quickly to the indicated red line at 8000 rpm on the glass of the white faced Veglia-Borletti rev counter. It was obvious that it would happily rev beyond this limit but hey, this is not my bike so no messing... we shift up at 8000.

picture: Jörg Strehler

The 300mm cast iron Brembo discs worked better than on my standard RGS and that was something that came in very handy, even though the sheer mass of the bike needs lots of getting used to on the track.

The racing version of the Marzocchi front forks was much better than the standard RGS forks, which aided efficient braking, especially on the bumpy concrete of the banking.

 After a few laps I was used to the bike a bit more and the track had dried up where it counted so I could put down some more confident laps and put my thumb up to Piero while passing the pit lane flat out. I had fun chasing a very nice Eckert Honda 1000 racer and a fast lady on an original blue JPX Honda Endurance racer who had passed me earlier (just the right company!) but now I could keep up and together we started lapping some slower riders. The session was over before I knew it and I would have loved to stay out longer because I was getting more and more accustomed to the machine.. Thanks Piero for the trust and for giving me this great opportunity!


Very nice 1976 cast wheel Electronica # 18317. Very original (except the Konis), very loud and very fast.