The Grand Prix des Frontiers | Beyond Borders

Trials and tribulations at the Grand Prix des Frontiers

By Ari Henning, Photography by Patrick Bodden, Catherine Brennan, Etienne Photography, Thierry Dricot

With one lap to go we start to hit traffic, and the rider ahead of me gets held up by two backmarkers trolling through the first chicane. Late-braking into the second chicane brings him within striking distance. I show him a wheel on the outside in the following turn and he runs wide, pressing against my elbow as he drifts over to push me off the track. It’s a classic racing move, and I have to roll off the throttle to keep it on the pavement. He’s too far ahead of me to catch his draft going through the bends, but he knows I’m close and the pressure gets to him. He blows his entry to the final turn, and I glide across his bow, toe scraping the pavement as I race toward the waving checkered flag to a fifth-place finish.

For the first time all weekend there are smiles on everyone’s faces as I roll into the hot pit. Considering all the challenges we’d faced, a fifth-place finish isn’t half-bad, and everyone agrees that the trip was a success.

I’ve since been replaying the track in my mind and keeping in touch with Lionel, who is rebuilding the blown motor and assembling a backup for the 18th Annual Motos Classiques. Here’s to a less eventful 2011 effort with an even happier ending!

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