Super Moto, Supermotard at the Alpe d’Huez
The Alpe d’Huez, 21 hairpin turns, average 8.1% grade, 13% maximum, 13.8km (8.6 miles). Climbing the Alpe d’Huez is a regular event on the Tour de France, and played host to the bobsled events during the ’68 Winter Olympics. Besides having a world class ski resort, what else can you do to attract summertime business?
Supermotard racing. Supermotard combines ashphalt & dirt sections requiring riders to display 3 skills: road racing, dirt track and motocross. Born in 1979 as “Superbikers” on the American TV show “Wide World of Sports” The idea was to find the best all around rider.
Supermotard (aka Super TT or Super Moto) has spawned its own class of motorcycles. (Think KTM Duke, Husqvarna, Yamaha YZ426F) These bikes are equipped specially adapted tires. Any other type of bike will not work and attempting supermotard style is not a good idea.
It also has spawned a particular riding style. Instead of leaning into the turns, stay on top of the bike and push it down beneath you. Result is the back wheel slides out in a drift like fashion. Put a boot down (appropriately called an ‘outrigger’)in the turn at redline to save yourself from disaster and soon enough you’ll be slippin’ and slidin’ with the best of them.
The racing is spectacular, drifting, passing, jumps, bumps, these guys go all out. We particularly enjoy Supermoto racing since the Alpe d’Huez plays host to a weekend of race action every August.
We never get tired of riding up the Alpe d’Huez, all 21 turns. The race is free, you can move to different parts of the track to see the dirt or street portion better. It attracts plenty of riders and motorcycles and all around makes for a good time.