All-terrain – Interview and video of the “Holeshoteur” of the Enduropale 2008 –

Interview and video of the "Holeshoteur" of the Enduropale 2008

All-terrain - Interview and video of the

At over 200 km / h on the beach, Mickaël Kavaliauska came in 1st at the end of the Touquet straight on the handlebars of a "900 CBR"! Mickaël tells us about "Son Touquet" and offers us an exclusive film from the on-board camera…

At the controls of a 900 CBR transformed by Motoland, Mickaël Kavaliauska achieved the feat: to arrive 1st at the end of the Touquet straight line after having exceeded 200 km / h on the beach! Endurist and stuntman Mickaël talks to us about "Son Touquet" and offers us an exclusive film from the on-board camera !

Delayed by a bad flu and the professional unforeseen events of the showman, we were finally able to find Mickaël Kavaliauska, winner of the Holeshot of the Enduropale 2008 between two shows. Interview.

Site: Two weeks after your Holeshot in Le Touquet what do you have left ?
Mickaël Kavaliauska:
A very strong moment and an exceptional weekend! Everything went according to plan with the best possible scenario. For making 30 dream starts the days before, I don’t think I made one as good as the real one. The goal was to get there mostly at the end. I am the father of a family, it should not have been suicide. We wanted to put all the chances on our side. The proof everything went well and I did better, I came to the end in the lead !
When I first saw the videos, I had the hairs straightening out on my arms. Much more than when I crossed the finish line. Seen from the outside, I was impressed !
All the people I meet, congratulate me, I have the feeling that I have gained recognition from those who know motorcycles and especially off-road.

Not just any "badger"in CBR

Before catching the motorcycle virus, this giant from the north of France was part of the French elite in bicross, participating in the French and World Championships.
At 17, he went on strike in the bicross, to force his parents to let him try his hand at motorcycles.
From the age of 18, we find Mickaël on the Picardy motocross and supercross races. In 2003, he even tried his hand at supermotard and made a full season in the French championship.
For 8 years he has been riding enduro just to ride more. Without any particular ambition Mickaël is one of the good nationals, at 33 he has just finished the 2007 season, in the Ile de France region, league champion in Enduro 2.
His taste for motorsports and motorcycles, brought him somewhat by chance to Disney Land Paris. Since 2001, Mickaël left his job as a salesman, where he was bored, for a permanent job as a stuntman. Today in addition to motorcycle and car stunts, he recruits and trains new stuntmen. Risk management and stress management are part of his daily professional life. His job has served him well throughout the preparation phase of the Holeshot. And as he explains: "stuntman is planning the worst that can happen in order to put all safety on our side so that nothing happens, where when something does happen, there are as few consequences as possible".

M.-N.C. : How did you find yourself on the starting grid at Le Touquet riding a 900 CBR? ?
The idea came from Thibault, one of Motoland’s mechanics in Amiens. They had a 900 CBR wreck and part of 450CRF lying around in the workshop. Thibault suggested to Eric Duminy, the boss, to make it a motorcycle for the Holeshot. Chez Motoland le Touquet is an old story with 17 or 18 participations. The idea quickly won over Eric, but a pilot had to be found. Eric had contacted Jean-Charles Lenain, who had already done the Holeshot du Touquet in 2007 for BMW. It was Jean-Charles who told Motoland about me. It must be said that the passion for motorcycles brought us together quite a few years ago on MX grounds, and now we are from the same family, because he is cousin to my wife.
I think that in addition to my riding for more than 15 years, my job as a stuntman has decided Eric. When Jean-Charles told me about it I was up to the task right away, because the idea of ​​trying the Holeshot had been in my head for a while. And the idea of ​​being both on the same grid made us feel a lot more, and encouraged me. But Jean-Charles did not yet know that I was going to pass him…

M.-N.C. : The bike was prepared by Motoland, but can you tell us about the beast ?
Motoland mechanics kept the engine and frame of the CBR. The sports car had to be transformed into an all-terrain machine. A 450 CRF was used to transform the front and rear to give more travel. The rear was the most difficult. During the 1st test, we broke the wheel axle. Mathieu had to lengthen the swingarm and put on a quad shock absorber. It is equipped with a desert tire, and a steering damper. With 130 horsepower the motorbike was prepared only for the Holeshot.

M.-N.C. : How did your "run" go ?
We couldn’t ask for more. The weather conditions were great, and the bike ran perfectly. I was well positioned for the start, on the right and on some hard ground. I had a great exit from the grid, with good timing against the drop off the grid. I think that’s where I got the advantage over Jean-Charles’s BMW and Aprilia. I did very good throttle management. Because it’s not all about going all the way and shifting gears. You have to control the traction of the rear wheel, with a tire that does not pull much. The 900 was fitted with desert tires used in rally raid and not sand. A classic cross-country tire cannot withstand high speeds. Before the race I went to locate the 7.5 km of beach on foot. This is essential. The start was very quick with load-bearing sand. There were some very fast parts but they could be very dangerous because they were strewn with bad holes. At Stella plage at 5 km, the organization created three bumps of 1m and 1.5m in the middle of the straight line, the bike behaved very well to pass them.

During the race, the bike was less stable than in practice. I was well supported by a good steering damper for the front, which is necessary but causes swerving from the rear. On the grille I changed the steering damper setting to free up the front a bit more, because I saw straight away that there were even more streaks. I think I did well, and despite that the bike moved a lot. I think this is due to the difference in the sand but also to the tracks and the ruts made by the organization’s 4x4s. At 200 km / h I felt it very quickly. To master the movements of the motorcycle, you have to remember the basics: do not release the throttle, and do not touch the front brake. At these speeds it’s more technical than it looks. I let the bike live, without letting it live too much either, tight legs … and buttocks … At 200 I had no room for mistakes.

M.-N.C. : The timing noted 200 km / h on average, what do you think ?
Objectively the 200 average seems a bit high to me. Because by taking a standing start, even if to reach the maximum speed it goes very quickly, the distance of 7.5 km does not seem sufficient to reach an average of 200. On the other hand I am sure of a peak at less at 210 km / h. During the sand tests, I had read 205 km / h on an on-board GPS. With the latest modifications the bike ran even better on race day, it took more laps.

M.-N.C. : After the Holeshot what did you do ?
I did the whole circuit, and a second pass on the beach straight, in slow motion, in quotes! I had fun with the other pilots who passed me and who made me sign the style "So you did ?". On the straight, the best are between 130 and 140 km / h, and there I was just opening the throttle a little to get back to where it was. Powerful the CBR !
I left the circuit and joined Merlimont by the road where one of my friends runs the PMU bar. I had promised him that I would stop by his bar if all went well. The cafe was full, they didn’t give an incredible welcome, it was delirious. And there all the pressure is gone.
As I took the 1st sip of a gallop, I felt my arms become cotton, my legs and knees started to knock. I had an adrenaline rush like never before. There I took the measure of what I had just done.

M.-N.C. : Timoteï Potisek says you hit him at the finish line, and he must have pitted with a damaged fork, what do you think ?
I have no recollection of a collision with Timotei. If something happened, he was the one to hit me in the wheel. I don’t remember it and it can only be a touch and certainly not a fall. If so, I can’t be the only driver he hit in 3 hours, but I was recognizable. Regardless of what he says, watching the videos shows that he had to return to the pit after his big fall on a jump. Timoteï spoke at the finish line disappointed he didn’t win, I think he said that in anger, not getting over his emotion.

M.-N.C. : Do you intend to line up again on Touquet beach in 2009 ?
I am open to any proposal ! But, I don’t think Motoland or BMW have any plans to start over, but why not, I have a first experience now.
For 2009, I have another project that is close to my heart, I would like to register on the brand new Dakar which will take place for the first time in South America. Like any good enduro rider, the Dakar has always made me dream.

Finally, for the curious: the 900 CBR of the Holeshot 2008 is on display at the Motoland store in Amiens (80).

Frederique DAUPHINOT – Photos FD and Mickaël KAVALIAUSKA

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