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D8 – Heroic day

20.04.2024 - The Sun Trip
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DAY 9 <-> DAY 7

Friday April 19 will go down as a landmark day for the Sun Trip 2024, with exploits and race facts at every level, from the Pyrenees to the Straits of Gibraltar!

In the morning, the sun was shining for all, at least for the most northerly participants! A liberation after 4 days of clouds and rain. This enabled them to cross the Col de la Pierre Saint Martin and send us luminous photos of this beautiful spot. By the evening of the 8th team, only Patrice Plozner was missing from the summit of this checkpoint 1. His strategy of bypassing it from the south failed, but he’ll be crossing the pass this Saturday, April 20, and still has plenty of time to get back to the others.

In front of them, the sun was shining in Spain, and the participants between places 10 and 4 broke their speed records for the day! Many exceeded 200 km over the course of the day, with Vivien Dettwiler achieving the best performance of the day: “I’m feeling good, I’ve been trying to reach 300 km, and today I managed 298 km, so I’m satisfied”. He thus remains on the same level as Belgium’s Géry & Baudouin, with the two teams racing for 4th place and perhaps the podium, depending on the ups and downs of the race.

And there were two major setbacks in the leading trio! Firstly, Kilian & Jonas had to stop in Portugal due to a cracked wheel rim. They lost an afternoon’s riding. They’re going to try and repair it to make it to Lisbon, where they’ll find a more durable replacement. They may well lose their 3rd place in the mishap, but the race is still long and it’s better to take the time to repair now.

The other mishap was announced at 12:30 and had the effect of a bomb: Jean-Marc Dubouloz fell, knocked over by the wind in the Strait of Gibraltar. For a while, we were afraid that he was going to retire, but in the end he was back on the road by 5pm. Jack Butler had already taken the opportunity to regain first place, making up his 120km deficit in the space of an afternoon. It was like being in the Vendée Globe!

Click here to read Jean-Marc Dubouloz’s full reaction to his fall

“Until 11 o’clock all the lights were green. Despite a day that started in the Andalusian night with a puncture that meant I had to change my tire and lost 1 hour this morning, the 3pm boat was already holding out its gangway to me. And then, problem, the wind decided otherwise. In 1 second, everything came to a halt on this fortunately deserted road, with this rollover in a gust of wind, following the breakage of a part holding my panels.  It took me a good 10 minutes to extricate myself from the bike, as if stunned, wedged between the injured recumbent and the solar panels. No injuries, but I immediately realized that the race might be over. The frame holding the panels is affected, but more importantly, of the 4 solar panels, 1.5 are no longer working. This means I’m only running at 60% power. At the time, I even thought of giving up and going back to France… Then I fell asleep in my wounded bike, as if the accumulated fatigue of this crazy week had suddenly fallen on me. It’s a well-known fact that afternoon nights bring even more advice and put things right. Today I’m trying to reach Tarifa, despite the wind. I’m repairing what I can, with the aim of getting back on the boat as soon as possible, even if I’m injured. The adventure race continues, or rather restarts, on African ground. With more episodes to come, no doubt. Thank you all for your messages of support”

To get the full view of the sideways wind experienced by the two leaders in southern Spain, take a look at this short video of Jack Butler, filmed when he had just regained first place.

In the end, neither of them made it to the Tarifa ferry, but Jack ended the day with a meal at a family’s house – the perfect way to end a day’s adventure!

The passage to Morocco is scheduled for Saturday, April 20, with, paradoxically, the first clouds and rain in the path of the two leaders! The pace at the head of the race will drop a little, before picking up again soon?

Race positions at the end of Day 8

1. Jack Butler
2. Jean-Marc Dubouloz
3. Kilian & Jonas
4. Géry & Baudouin
5. Vivien Dettwiller

Live Map:

Anecdotes of the day

Luciano Trumpler: “We were fast and without big efforts! 200 Km and we still have time to enjoy the evening, really a dream day“.

Vincent Lauga: “The (minor) technical problems are starting up again: charging the phone on the bike is a problem. I had to recharge in a shop to get the GPS and see the destination”.

Jean-Louis Mérelle: “A rodent came and ate part of my breakfast, and above all: happiness with the sun and batteries that are fuller at the finish than at the start”.

Goudenhooft Bertrand: “Richard pulled me all day, bad night”.

Vivien Dettwiler: “This morning at Cerezo Abajo it was below zero degrees, so I had to scrape the ice off the windscreen and panels. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos”.

Michael Polak: “tent covered in frost in the morning, bikes covered in ice. beautiful Pyrenees. meeting Miguel and Patrice. Maybe after 12 years, I’ve built a solar bike that works, but it’s too heavy…”

Jiri Strupl: “Euforia to reach the summit. We’re very lucky with the weather! We met Parice and Miguel and had a great time.”

Images du jour

DAY 9 <-> DAY 7

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