Thrilling battles in changing weather brings victory for Gravity
For Round Three of the E-Xplorer FIM World Cup, Saturday 29th July 2023, the backdrop scene was the dramatic volcanic mountains of the Auvergne region of central France and the changing weather was the main protagonist with heavy rain during the early heats and hot sunshine for the finals creating challenges for the teams in this all-electric motorcycle World Cup. At the end of the weekend, it was Gravity who took the top rostrum position with Robbie Maddison’s Madwill team in second and Championship leaders, MIE taking third this time.
It was a challenging tight and twisty course in Vollore-Montagne, with tricky obstacles and dramatic jumps which lent itself to some very close racing to the delight of the enthusiastic crowds in this area of France where off-road motorcycle racing has a huge following.
There were also a few casualties along the way with superstar freestyle Australian motocross rider, Robbie Maddison dislocating his shoulder on the first day of testing and handing his ride to Swiss enduro rider, Jonathan Rossé, who arrived late on Friday evening and joined the team having never raced an electric motorcycle. He adapted very quickly steering his way to second with his team mate, Sandra Keller.
“It was a bit surreal,” said Jonathan. “I got the call on Friday late morning and jumped in my van and we were in Vollore-Montagne by 6pm on Friday. I had a few laps of the track and the electric bike to acclimatise and then it was full on into the event on Saturday. But when you get a call from Robbie Maddison and the chance to take over his seat you go for it. I had never ridden an electric bike in a race so it took a bit of time to get used to a different style of racing. So, to finish in second was incredible.”
It was not such a happy ending for the Australian team Flair who field the husband-and-wife duo of Jack Field and Rhianna Buchanan. They had to withdraw from the event on Saturday afternoon when an injury to Rhianna’s knee did not recover in time for her to race.
While the rainy morning sessions proved advantageous to some of the teams particularly the EM Factory Team and the Fanatics Team of British duo, Dylan Woodcock and Rosie Rowlett, it was not to be the same in the sunshine soaked finals where it came down to Gravity and Madwill in the final with Gravity taking the honours.
Whilst Robbie Maddison, who made the long trip from the States, had to settle for spectatorship with his injured shoulder, he was full of praise for the event which is only the third ever in this brand-new series.
“It was a great day of racing,” said the FMX superstar. “The track was really well designed and gave us some close battles. It is a great series with a very rosy future. It is important to be promoting the world of EV in motorcycling, it has to be the future, and to do it in such exciting and entertaining racing with a world class field of international men and women out here is fantastic.”
As for the winning team, they were delighted to produce a home win for their male rider, Camille Chapeliere and Gravity’s female rider, Italian, Kiara Fontensi who was thrilled with the fairy tale result having stepped into the saddle of Tjasa Fifer who had commitments elsewhere.
“What a great event,” said the six-time FIM women’s motocross World Champion. “ I obviously had a great team mate with Camille and we worked very well together from the start of the weekend. I am delighted for the team and to be able to win at his home event. “
“It was really close,” added Camille. “Each race this afternoon (Saturday) was very tight and it could have gone to any of the eight teams competing today. Our bike suited the course here and as team mates we seemed to really complement each other. We are delighted to take the gold trophy.”
The trophies were all chainsaws painted gold, silver and bronze with a humorous tribute to the heavy woodland terrain of the event and encapsulates the element of fun which is fundamental to this young championship.
“I am delighted with the way the finals went this afternoon,” said Co-Founder and CEO of E-
Xplorer, Valentin Guyonnet. “The rain caused a few issues in the morning and we had to change the timetable to accommodate the very heaviest downpours, but we must learn to operate in the rain and I was pleased with all my staff and volunteers that we worked together to create such a fantastic spectacle.”
“The afternoon of finals produced very close racing,” he continued, “It was anyone’s to win. The messaging from this area is also on point. This region of France is considered to be the ‘lungs’ of the country. The thick woodland and verdant countryside are both stunning and essential to the health of France. The focus behind our series is around climate change, sustainable living and equality amongst men and women; our choice of location for this event sums up the importance of these messages.”
The final round of the all-new FIM E-Xplorer World Cup will be announced in the coming days and the team behind the series have assured it will be a very popular location and event.
“We will be announcing the final round in the coming days,” said Co-Founder and Chief Championship Officer of E-Xplorer, Carina Munte. “We have some final negotiations but believe it will create quite a stir and an ideal location and collaboration. Watch this space.”
Valentin Guyonnet, Carina Munte or Deborah Tee
For all the latest E-Xplorer news visit the championship’s official website fimexplorer.com.
Note to Editors:
The E-Xplorer FIM World Cup is a cutting-edge, international electric all-terrain motorcycle racing series, founded by a team of visionaries, including Valentin Guyonnet, Carina Munte, Alejandro Agag, and Eric Peronnard. This event is the epitome of excitement, technological advancement, environmental sustainability, and adventure, catering to a diverse audience.
The competition comprises private and factory teams, with each team consisting of two riders of both genders. These teams will compete in a range of thrilling races, held at various locations, including city streets and natural terrains.
Get ready to witness the pinnacle of racing excellence at the E-Xplorer FIM World Cup.