#roadtobiarritz

From Italy to the Atlantic: together with the guys from the OMT Garage, the travel journal towards Wheels & Waves 2017.

THE ARRIVAL – SAND, CIRCUITS AND THE EXCITEMENT OF MOTO GUZZI

The sound of the waves is a constant here in Biarritz. They say that you get used to it soon enough and that you no longer even notice it, but here, on this third day of our trip, it’s too soon to say whether this is true or not.

 
Today it is precisely that which wakes us up, the roar of the Atlantic Ocean, accompanied by a stormy wind that invites us to follow it and hop back on the bikes. And so the engine of our V2s fire up once again and we’re off, this time in the direction of San Sebastian, situated just beyond the Spanish border, heading towards the flat-track circuit known locally as “El Rollo”.
 
Wheels and Waves salsa-style motorsport involves a round, sandy circuit on which people race virtually any conceivable kind of bike that can be created, prepared and then raced sideways in hard-fought heats that are subdivided into categories according to age and engine capacity. A truly herculean challenge this, racing shoulder to shoulder in friendly competition, a race for true mechanical enthusiasts rather than professional riders and one in which Moto Guzzi and the OMT Garage team chose to compete on the “V7 Speed Daimon”, a magnificent creation based on a V7II frame and ridden by Marco, brother of our very own rider Mario and the OMT Garage’s standard-bearer.
 
On the sands of “El Rollo”, the Daimon ran true to form as its name suggests, and we all found out that it has the soul of a true racer (in Greek, Daimon is a demon that is the very essence of the soul). The bike seems to have been born to race on this track and after holding first place for much of the time, it eventually finished second in the hard-fought “super hooligans” final heat for modern, over 750cc bikes, after battling against bikes with more CCs and horsepower but not nearly as agile and balanced.
 
After 2 days and 1200 km, the time has finally come for us to celebrate, not so much the third and final day that brings down the curtain on our trip, but the first day that opens the ball to the thousand emotions and experiences that still await us at Wheels and Waves.
 
And so we finally arrive at the Cite de l'Ocean Village, the heart and soul of the event, to be met by the gleaming chrome work of the custom bikes, spinning skaters, Rock-concert music and the Moto Guzzi and The Clan experience.
 
At the official Moto Guzzi stand we talk about the excitement we experienced on this trip, immortalise the occasion by having a group shot taken on the custom “The Clan” Photographic set and finish off in grand style with an exciting test ride on the latest range of Moto Guzzi models with the sun setting over the sea.
 
Our trip to get to Wheels and Waves is about to end but the spirit and passion that drove us all the way to the Atlantic have not left us: we see bikes and riders arriving from far away and from tomorrow, encounters, amazement, art and fun await us.
With Moto Guzzi and The Clan, Wheels and Waves 2017 is only just warming up.

 

2nd LEG – FROM THE PYRENEES TO A DIVE IN THE OCEAN

Yesterday’s evocative views bathed in sunshine and the unexpected glimpses that seduced us throughout the day made way last night for the beam of light from our headlights, and with it our insistence on completing the final stretch of the trip to the overnight stop. As our headlights lit up the ribbon of tar rolling by under the wheels of the bikes, we became increasingly aware of our mission and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from knowing that our Moto Guzzis are indeed faithful travel companions even as conditions change.

 
Although tried and tested, the V9 Bobber and V9 Roamer never wavered, nor were they ever found wanting, instilling a little of their renowned tenacity into their expert riders too, together with the confidence necessary to complete the sprint over the last few remaining kilometres of the 570Km that would take us to the to the finish line of this second leg of the #roadtobiarritz and to our destination.
 
Sunrise, day two. An early morning walk to pay homage to the magnificent Mende Cathedral and then, after a sumptuous breakfast, we climb onto the bikes and head off towards the waves of Biarritz.
 
As the roads become wider and the altitude begins to drop, the intense, enveloping greenness of the Languedoc region gradually begins to lose its grip. In its place, in the oblique morning light, the warmth of the red rock begins to sculpt the mountain passes, providing fleeting glimpses of the fir forests that cover the mountaintops.
 
We pass by Toulouse and, just a little way further on, a signpost marked “Les Pyrénées” announces that the Spanish border lies just a little further south. The majestic Pyrenees mountain range in fact marks the border for hundreds of kilometres and the wheels of the V9s are trampling its slopes.
 
At this point we are definitely heading west. We pass Tarbes and then Pau, with its castle and funicular. We can already smell the ocean and we’re entirely focused on our destination, thrust along by our warm and reliable V2.
 
Biarritz bids us welcome in the late-afternoon light with the plasterwork of the white buildings clearly visible. The seafront, the waves breaking on the Rock of the Virgin Mary. As we expected, there are suntanned guys and girls smiling broadly, others wearing wetsuits and surfboards under their arms or hanging from the side of the Vespas. It makes you want to dive straight into the ocean to chase away the tiredness and celebrate the completion of this leg of the trip.
 
Here too, on this terrace above the Atlantic, a swarm of chrome and well-worn leather. The noise of free-flow exhausts bellowing out the sounds from engines of all sizes. Around every corner there are vintage style custom bikes, tattoos and well groomed beards and nothing appears out of place.
 
The road trip part is over. From now on we will be diving head-first into Wheels and Waves, mind, body and machinery, but this is just the beginning. We still have one very specific job to do before we can call this #roadtobiarritz trip done and dusted, and that is to take the Moto Guzzi V7II prepared in-house by OMT Garage out racing on the sand of tomorrow’s Flat Track Race.
 
Then it’s on to Wheels and Waves with Moto Guzzi and The Clan.

 

1st LEG – BEYOND THE ALPS, ALL THE WAY TO LANGUEDOC

It’s early morning in Origgio (Varese, Italy), but the early-June air is already hot. The Moto Guzzi and OMT Garage signs stand proud just a few metres off the ground. Just below them, in the background, the shop’s shutter stands half-mast and the V9s are still snoozing. They don’t know what lies ahead, yet somehow they seem to want nothing more than to get going.

 
We get on with the final preparations but they have taken longer than expected. The schedule is tight but we are not at all scared.
 
We climb on the bikes, caress the start button and immediately that little sideways twitch from one side of the twin-cylinder and then the other makes its presence felt at the waist and shakes us up like a loving tug that shakes us out of our morning lethargy.
 
From Lombardy down towards Piedmont and then uphill into the Alps, our eyes are flooded with a plethora of panoramas.
 
By day’s end we have covered around 650 km and the number of images that have captivated our imaginations is even greater. The feelings and sensations triggered by even the most apparently insignificant of events are amplified and reproduced by the ribbon of tarmac rolling by and tuned-in to the frequency of the vibrations from the Mandello V2.
 
We can only tell part of the story; as for the rest we can only suggest that you try to imagine what it’s like and, sooner or later, go out there and experience it for yourself.
 
The road that tortuously winds its way over the Colle del Monginevro (Monginevro Hill) until the scenery opens up and one hairpin after another invite you to go above and beyond.
 
The imposing outlines of the castles that unfailingly draw the eye as the mountains and valleys roll by.
 
A shiver that rolls down the spine when the temperature drops as you enter each of the little tunnels that appear one after another once you have passed the fort at Briançon, perched on a hilltop like some huddled-up, thousand year-old creature surveying the landscape down below.
 
The rivers that sculpt the valley floor and smooth out the rock dictate the path of the roads that run alongside them.
 
Then, kilometres and kilometres with no traffic and no stops, lost amidst canyons and mountains, travelled pleasantly to the heartbeat of our V9 twins.
 
It’s almost sunset when, unexpectedly, a strong smell of lavender assails the nostrils on the back of the breeze that announces the arrival of night-time.
 
The headlights that meekly try to pierce the night-time darkness blanketing the Monti d’Ardèche National Park while the road rolls by fast and undulating. We’ll be back for the view in a new adventure under the summer sun.
 
A cold beer after hours of driving in the dark, dinner time long gone, and the red-rimmed white notice board says “Mende”. We have arrived in the Languedoc so turn off the engine: now for a well-deserved rest for our V9s and their knights in shining armour.
 
The #roadtobiarritz continues tomorrow.
 

#ROADTOBIARRITZ

 A trip that has all the flavour of adventure and encounters becomes an on-the-road account, destination Biarritz, where other Guzzisti are arriving from all over Europe for one of the world's biggest custom events.

 
We previously met the guys from the OMT Garage as the winners of Lord of The Bikes 2016, the TV contest dedicated to bike customisation that aired on Italy's SKY UNO HD channel, and the creators of the winning Silver Knight, a breathtaking custom based on the V9.
 
Now we meet them once more, thanks again to the V9 but this time as they ride towards the French coastal resort of Biarritz, where customisers will come together (from 14 to 18 of June) at Wheels&Waves, Europe's coolest event dedicated to the world of bike customisation.
 
Follow their journey with us and, if you too are on the road to Biarritz, share your adventures using together the hashtags #roadtobiarritz and #motoguzzicheck out all the social media contributions here.

THE MOTORCYCLES AND THE PROTAGONISTS

We felt the awe-inspiring and clear call of the ocean. It urged us to climb onto our seat and cover the more than 1200 km separating us from the sixth edition of Wheels and Waves in Biarritz in the only way we know how, on our Guzzi Motorcycles: this popular festival combines motorcycles, vintage and surf, in a charming corner of the French Atlantic coastline.
 
We have chosen the V9 Bobber and V9 Roamer: agile, multi-purpose and able to provide the purity of feelings and emotions that we will discover one kilometre after another on this extraordinary journey. They will take us right to the village at Cité de l'Ocean, where the official Moto Guzzi stand will be waiting for us from 14 to 18 June, with the many experiences of The Clan Community.
 
Between the surf of the waves and surfboards, we will see the sand spraying on the Flat Track Race circuit, where the unique V7III based creation will be racing from OMT Garage, the customizer workshop of motorcycles and friend of Moto Guzzi for several years now.
 
And that is also why in the seat of our V9’s during the trip, we will have two exceptional riders from the OMT Garage family.
 
Mario Troiano, born in ‘75: since he was a young boy, has shared a passion for motorbikes and customization with his brother Marco. In 2008, this passion became a vocation and they established OMT Garage, which little by little gained recognition and appreciation at the most prestigious custom shows. A passion for the Mandello eagle originates in the family and from a love for historic motorcycles, but reaches its ultimate peak in 2016 with the title of first Italian Lord of The Bikes, with the masterful work on a V9. Genuine cycling, manoeuvrability and performance dictated the choice of the V7III as the perfect candidate for racing in the Flat Track Race.
 
Marcella Aramini, born in ‘71: Mario’s wife, and companion through the curves and at work, where she manages the administrative side of the OMT Garage. A great fan of motorcycles from a very young age, this is her first raid at Wheels and Waves, and she cannot wait to leave. The thing she loves the most about travelling on her bike is the sense of freedom it gives her, even from her husband Mario, because they never travel together on the same motorbike.
 

 

The presentations are over; the project is clear and exciting. The long preparations focus on the end point, and the departure is imminent. Roads, landscapes, meetings all await us, and we will be telling you all about them. The journey begins. Rendezvous at the next stop.

THE TRIP