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D15 – In the Sun Trip legend

27.04.2024 - The Sun Trip
The Sun Trip The Sun Trip

DAY 16 <-> DAY 14

At the end of the 15th day on the road, 12 participants were in Morocco, from the north to the south of the country!

Morocco is the Holy Grail of this Sun Trip 2024, and the participants who haven’t made it there yet seem to be looking forward to it. “It looks like paradise,” says Jiri Strupl, “it’s really nice and the people seem very welcoming,” says Luciano Trumpler. “The images I’ve seen from the first few days are just what I expected, so I’m going to enjoy it,” says Bertrand Goudenhooft, arriving in Tangier at 8pm.

It has to be said that these first days in Morocco are breathtaking.

Color, sunshine and smiles are the daily fare for our adventurers on this 3000 km loop, made up of 7 checkpoints.

At this stage of the race, we thought it would be interesting to have the perspective of our 2015 champion, Bernard Cauquil, who is also a great connoisseur of Morocco. His view of the adventure will be featured throughout this article.

I’m following the 2024 edition closely, especially the duel for the lead, but also the participants I know well, like Géry, Baudouin and Patrice. It’s a very beautiful course, especially the first half as far as Taroudant. I’m not being objective, as I like Morocco a lot, but I think it could become a permanent fixture. The country’s landscapes and regions offer so many different routes, and the choice of itineraries is immense”.

We can’t say it any better than Bernard Cauquil, but it’s too early to say whether a future major Sun Trip will be planned between France and Morocco. However, we’d like to take this opportunity to slip in an important piece of information: a Sun Trip Morocco project is being considered for April 2025! This project could take an original form, combining adventure/discovery for some and racing for others, over a reduced period of 10/15 days. More information in September!

Back to the 2024 adventure, to say that the peloton is gradually lengthening from the north to the south of the country, without much change to the order of the race. For some, the arrival in Morocco is taking a little getting used to, but on the whole it’s going well. “Morocco is very beautiful on one side and very ugly on the other. There are some beautiful, old, clean towns, but sometimes people live in poor villages, in very difficult situations”, says Vivien Dettwiller, still 4th in the race.

At the front of the pack, the pace remained frantic. We might have feared that the collision between the leaders would have broken the rhythm, but it didn’t. The pace picked up again, and today Jean-Marc Dubouloz and Jack Butler achieved one of the best performances in the history of the Sun Trip, covering over 400 km on the desert roads of the deep south, at the gateway to the Sahara. Carried along by the sun and also a little by the wind, they continue to demonstrate the level of performance offered by solar energy, being as fast as many of the travelers who cruise around here in motorhomes!

Bernard Cauquil, a great competitor at heart, is not unmoved by the spectacle.

It’s been a fascinating cross-hair since the start. I’ve been blown away by Jack’s performance, by the distance records Jean-Marc has set every day, and by the quality of his routing”.

And when asked what he thought of the level of this year’s race, his answer was unequivocal:

“I’m not surprised by Jean-Marc’s performance: he’s a guy who rides gravel a lot, and he’s in very good physical condition. His vehicle has proved itself on previous Suntrips to be reliable, durable and very fast. Hats off for the distance record, with 30 minutes less riding time. On the other hand, Jack really impresses me: with his recumbent bike and reduced panel area, he manages to ride stages that are close to 400 km!

The beauty of the Sun Trip is all the greater in these dreamy landscapes. The splendour of the Silk Roads editions can be found in southern Morocco, with this kind of little marvel on a straight stretch of road :

At present, the leaders have only two Checkpoints left to cross in Morocco, but we’re not out of the woods yet, as the Atlas Mountains are already being crossed again, and rain seems to be in the offing as they make their way back north. Conditions that could well suit Jack Butler, who is capable of riding hard with little sunshine, given the lightness of his machine.

Race positions at the end of D15

Anecdotes of day

Luciano Trumpler: “We’ve arrived in Maroco, and we’re very happy! Today we didn’t do many kilometers, but we landed in a street in very bad condition, it took us a long time to get out of there, a nightmare!”

Vincent Lauga: “I’m stressed out because I had a technical part sent by parcel post to Tarifa, but I’ve just learned that the store is closing at 2pm tomorrow and won’t reopen until Monday! I also had to move from my bivouac this evening, as the place where I was was overrun by rats!

Jiri Strupl: “I was able to reach the second checkpoint earlier than Michael, who was still asleep 😉

Miguel Letor: “I’m fine, my bike doesn’t let me go very fast. I didn’t think it would go so fast overall, but everything’s fine and anyway I’ll have to leave the race for a few days to attend a wedding in Belgium. I had informed the organization of this from the start. I’ll be back on May 5, in last place but with the idea of doing the whole course“.

Jean-Louis Mérelle: “A morning of intense rain for me in Portugal”.

Images du jour

Thanks Taroudant for this TV report.

DAY 16 <-> DAY 14

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