October 16, 2009

The 2009 12 heures d’endurance de La Tuque

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Back again for an eighth consecutive year, Les 12 heures d’endurance de La Tuque competition has again submitted some thirty five teams to the ultimate test in quad racing in Quebec. Twelve hours of sweat, grueling effort, adrenaline rushes and challenges for these racers who push their quads to the limit of their mechanical capacities. Some racers come out as winners, while others have to accept giving up, but all profit by living a gratifying experience...Without further ado, here is an overview of this event that took place last May 15th,16th and 17th 2009. 

Organization of Les 12 heures de La Tuque
The people in La Tuque are well-known for their warm ways with visitors and, this year again, the quality of the site and the organization of the event were in addition a fine surprise. David Duchesneau’s team, along with his teammates from the Ville de La Tuque, as well as the volunteers who put in over 3000 hours of work, can be proud of the 2009 edition of the event. They all picked up on the challenge of holding this quad competition, which is the most important in Quebec, in their hometown, and this, in difficult economic times. Technical improvements were brought to the race, a way of making competition interesting and motivating both for racers and spectators. The track was modified, making it easier, according to drivers  Karl Leblanc and Jasmin Plante in terms of layout, but much more grueling on the level of physical endurance, since the surface of the track was all made of sandy sections, which quickly became the scene for rough moguls, such as on a ski hill with bumps. Therefore, the only section to allow racers to relax a bit was the flat section in front of the pits. For spectators, a greater visibility of the racecourse was offered. It is important to note a commendable initiative from the students of L’École de Foresterie de La Tuque who contributed to the preparation and maintenance of the 12 heures course, under the supervision and precious guidance of Martin Hamel, racer and ex-student of L’École.
Hats off to the organization team!

Race management
Always devoted to the sport, the Courses VTT team was in charge of race management. A dynamic team, formed of 17 experienced officials, supervised the unfolding of the race. Many of these people, such as race directors Luc and Martin Boucher, have been working at Les 12 heures de La Tuque since its beginning in 2002 and can thus contribute to its efficient and structured functioning. Lynda Chénard, co-owner with Luc Boucher of Courses VTT, said she enjoyed her week-end tremendously and found it special to see her sons contribute as officials for the race. “In the beginning, back in 2002, they were only 7 and 8 year old kids...Today, as adolescents, it is a lot of fun to see them participate in important roles during the race...” as Lynda Chénard confided to us.

The race
Many know of this event, but for those who have not heard of it, this is a true journey experienced by teams of 3 pilots in a relay race consisting of 3 sets of 4 hours. Saturday morning is devoted to practice runs and timed trials, then on Saturday afternoon and night, the two first sets of the event are presented. The final decisive set occurs on Sunday, followed by the distribution of prize money. The start of the race is held according to the Le Mans style, which means that pilots have to run over to their quads, start their vehicles and get onto the track.

Timed qualifications
This year, the quickest lap on the track was realized by Performance Ultimate, Yamaha, Elka Suspension composed of Jasmin Plante, Dany Laflamme and Éric Meunier in 3:27.205 minutes. The KTM Canada team (Bobby Desjardins, Amélie Lavallée and Philippe Meunier) dropped the pole position by 4 tenths of a second by qualifying in 3:27.630 minutes. Team Refuel (Dave Larochelle, Paul-André Faucher and Stéphane Cliche) took 3rd place, qualifying with a second more.

General classification
Having taken the lead in the qualifications, the excellent Ultimate Performance team was successful in keeping up to the pace and managed, for the second consecutive year, to win this event. Jasmin Plante confided that his team success was due to a good team of racers, to a well-prepared Yamaha YFZ 450 by Performance Ultimate and to the cooperation of the whole team (including relatives and friends) in the pits, in order to lead to a concerted effort to victory. Very close behind, in second place, team Messier Sport-Gagné Lessard formed of Jean-Philippe Leblanc, Luc Croteau and Éric Lessard, put up a good fight finishing 1 lap behind the champion team (165 laps). Showing good performance skill, this team surprised many people by securing such a position on the podium.

Third place on the podium went to Can-Am X –Team formed of Richard Pelchat, Philippe Bellerose and Michaël Ouellette, which also finished 1 lap behind their rivals (164 laps). The Team Refuel took an excellent 4th position, in front of  the Moto Centre Ste-Hyacinthe team (Pierre-Yves Deneault, Sylvain Rodier and Renault Fortin), having completed the race free of mechanical problems. Many teams did not benefit from this opportunity, such as the Motosport 116 team (Karl Leblanc, Dave Filteau and Charles-David Deroy), a team which had the potential to make the podium. This team was in 4th position when a rock jammed the front brake disc. Furthermore, this team experienced motor failure during the night set. The KTM Canada team took 7th position, seeing Amélie Lavallée become the first woman to realize such a good classification. Amélie should not be ashamed of her performance, since she puts up a good fight to many of these men in her race season with the Pros at the FMSQ (Fédération des Motocyclistes de Sentier du Québec).

Amateur, woman and Iron Man classifications
With several years of experience behind them, the girls on the Motos Pièces Tracy Girls Team, composed of Marie-Ève Huppé, Karine Michel and Jessica St-Louis, reap in honors in the women’s class. They have proven that women can overcome great challenges. The Last Minute Team took in the victory in the amateur class while, once again, Guy Jr. De Montigny was the only Iron Man to finish Les 12 heures in its entirety. What a feat!

The 12 heures event ended on a positive note, while no intervention of the medical team was necessary on the track, a first since the beginning of this competition, back in 2002!
Furthermore, please do not hesitate to check out the talent of the racers who will continue to compete in various races throughout Quebec during the summer.