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Coupes Moto Légende
2013 sees the 21st Coupes Moto Légende.
Until 1984 the circuit at Dijon-Prenois was the home of the French Formula 1 Grand Prix. Since then the track has specialised in racing historic cars and bikes, continuing the tradition of the glorious days of racing.
Dijon has played an important role in the history of the motorbike. During the first half of the 1900s the Terrot factory made bikes of all description. Between 1925 and 1930 they won the majority of the motorbike championships, making them the number one constructor in France in front of Peugeot.
We report on the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Coupes Moto Légende - little had changed
The second "Coupes Moto Légende" meeting since the closing of Monthery was held on a very wet weekend in the beautiful Burgundian countryside at Prenois, just north of Dijon. The top names from the fifties, sixties and seventies – Phil Read, Giacomo Agostini, Paul Smart, Ron Chandler - to name but a few, proving to the thousands of spectators who turned out to see these legends that despite being in receipt of an old age pension and a bus pass, they can still ride a racing motor cycle very fast and stay the right way up.
Phil Read was badly bruised due to a tumble caused by a mechanical fault whilst testing a few days previously but he was not battered as at last year's meeting, courtesy of a misunderstanding with a large security guard, and was able to dispense with the dark glasses and sticking plaster and smile for the cameras of the many people who wanted to record the occasion.
Always a controversial figure, love him or hate him the man is a legend, he pitched his skills against the best of them, and to be walking, and talking after fifty years of racing motorcycles bears testimony to the man's ability to be a top attraction wherever he appears.
The vintage fraternity are also well catered for, with British enthusiasts seeing and hearing machines and marques previously not known about - a large autojumble with a gathering of clubs, creating a wonderful atmosphere, despite the rain and the mud.
There is no spectator/participant segregation at Prenois, and 18 euros for a two-day meeting represents the best value I've seen for a motorcycle meeting.
As for getting there, the minor roads route is probably the finest riding experience for the vintage or classic enthusiast, about 400 miles from Calais and scenery to dream about.
Put it in your diary for next year.
T.J.L May 2005
Coupes Motor Legende 2006
Phil Read with fans
As the old time favourites take to the track, the weekend at Dijon Prenois lives up to expectation once more.
Phil Read and Ron Chandler were doing their stuff again, as were many ‘old’ faces from the past, all enjoying themselves. No ‘Ago’ or Sammy Miller this year. Many would have liked to have seen Mr. Edenbridge (John Surtees) on the track as he was the only man to be World Champion on two and four wheels. The man’s poise, style and speed are not just rose tinted spectacle memories from us old boys but something the younger generation would love to see.
At 21 euros for a two day entry pass to the Coupes Motor Legende 2006, what better value could you have? This included free parking, access to all the competitors, club stands and a large auto jumble, plus of course, the racing. This year it was bright and sunny, and the journey to and from on the wonderful traffic free routes with breathtaking scenery made for a great trip.
At this race meeting you will see machinery that you did not know existed, and you might even find that illusive spare part at the auto-jumble…
coupes Motor legende 2007
Monday 21st May and I was again travelling by Eurostar to Beautiful Burgundy to enjoy the sights, smells, and of course, the Coupes Moto Légende at Prenois.
Fortunately I have expert friends of long standing in La Motte-Ternant and Ormancey who are motorcycle enthusiasts so transportation isn’t a problem. We use the car as humping all the gear, for riding a motorcycle is a chore when attending a meeting in the nature of Prenois; plenty of walking! When I see people riding in shorts and T-shirts it makes me wince, and no gloves….! – Trip over a flagstone and it hurts.
Prenois stayed dry during both days, not so during Saturday night, but the new car parking arrangements seemed to work very well, and 21€ for a two day ticket was good value. The friendly and good-natured atmosphere that always prevails at this meeting, and indeed anywhere else that motorcyclists gather, gives lie to what the national press would have the public believe about “bikers”.
Middle-aged Caucasian males seem drawn towards machinery, if they are not rebuilding some long-abandoned wreck, they are admiring the skills and perseverance of those who have.
There were lots of ladies at Prenois, no longer content to ride pillion and emulate Audrey Hepburn on the back of a Vespa, but in control of a piece of machinery that is capable of low-flying. How often you hear (from men)…”That’s a bird on that Ducati/Fireblade” etc.; sorry ladies but it’s the shape and stance from behind that makes you easily identifiable, always appreciated. Women usually dress and ride more sensibly than many young men, they don’t seem to have the desire to show off and risk crashes and crutches.
Prenois is not about competition, it’s about a great gathering of like-minded people, not having to get pissed to enjoy the day, or having to smash someone’s property, it’s the same atmosphere as where motorcyclists gather – that’s why they are not newsworthy in the national press. Long may it stay that way.
Many thanks again to the organisers at Prenois, to the participants for the sights and sounds.
TJL May 28 2007
See also: Patrick Burnham's Sport Textile Art of Jorge Lorenzo, the MotoGP Champion