Icon Monsters race
Since 2011, an amateur championship takes place in France with 3 words as a guideline : power, fight, and big balls. A race series where Valentino Rossi don’t have the right to participate, and the bikes have to be stripped off and modified as fuck. Welcome to the Icon Monsters Race !
Text : Valentin « Raskal » Bayle
Pics : Thomas Benoit
At the begining, there was the Joe Bar One, a championship launched in 2009, named after the famous french motorcycle comic strip the Joe Bar Team. Concept was simple : modified bikes, exciting races, sexy umbrella girls, humor and bad faith. But after two seasons, the JBO stopped, mostly because of the lost of an amateur spirit and comitment fees too high. But a man who always loved modified bikes decided that he can enhance this concept and launch his own championship. This man was Antoine « Artkore » Collignon, editor in chief of Street Monsters, the french equivalent of the magazine you are holding in your hands. So he kept the overall idea, but reimagine several points to make it more friendly. First : no professional riders, because it’s about racing together, and not fighting each other. Second : bikes have to be as most modified as possible, in order to avoid latest superbikes with only removed fairings. You get reward points on the track, but also with the look of your machine, so once again, you better work hard during winter to bring something stunning at the Monsters Show. Third : for more fun, different types of races, such as Grand Prix, Endurance racing, Drag Racing and Hill climbing. And that’s it, the Monsters Race was born !
Just as I said, rules to enter the Monsters Race are simple as being an amateur rider and ride a modified bike. But what kind of bike and what modifications ? It’s easy : 500cc minimum for two-strokes engines, and 600cc minium for four-strokes engines. Turbos and superchargers are highly encouraged, but nitrous oxyde is not allowed, due to safety rules of the French Federation of Motorcycle (FFM). All types of bikes are allowed, except supermotos. Aesthetic rules say that all the fairings have to be removed, and the only oem part authorised is the front mudguard. For the rear end, it has to be different, to encourage the possible competitors of not only strip their bikes, but create something original. Last but not least, your bike has to respect the FFM rules, wich means specific details like readable race number plate, closed bellypan to avoid oil leaking on the track, brake lever protection in case of contacts and restrained screws on the brake calipers, oil hoses and radiator cap. Everything else is free and lets you create the bike you want to race, and this is why we saw along the years incredible bikes like a 300hp turbo ZX-12R, a 1990 GSX-R with a 1216cc engine and Yoshimura carburetors, a Cafe Racer XJR 1300 with R6 singarm, forks and wheels, a Gulf painted CBR 900, fitted with a CBR 1100 XX engine and car wheel equiped single sided swingarm, a bunch of streetfightered Hayabusa’s, a functionnal Benelli TNT and a turbo Suzuki DR 800 engine, mounted in a KTM Duke chassis and aluminium handcrafted dress... Yup, eclectism is the word you’re looking for.
After a succesfull first season, Monsters Race was on it’s way. So I decided to take part of the aventure in 2012 with a 1994 water cooled GSX-R 750, and it was as fun as expected. In the paddocks, everyone is helping everyone, and swapping an engine at 2 AM is not a big deal. On the track, you can easily find another pilot to fight with, and live exciting moments such as braking later than a friend with his Brembo & Ohlins fully equiped ZX-12R, and overpass him on the cornering entrance with my old Gixxer. Finishing the race too early because of a big high side was less fun, but that’s also what race is all about. Unfortunately, on the last race of this second season, Artkore lost his life. Dying during the race he created, with a bike he created, some people call it fate. But like John Connor said in Artkore’s favourite movie Terminator 2 : « no fate but what we make ». And the best way to honor his memory and what he made, was to keep the race going. Thanks to motivated staff and pilots, and a good help from Icon - the famous american motorcycle gear brand - the Icon Monsters Race never stopped.
So 2018 was another succesfull year, even if it started with the cancellation of the first round, the hill climb race in west of France. Thanks to the ecologist lobby, who probably burned more energy to cancel the race, than all the bikes engaged. Anyway, the official first round was the drag race on 8th of July, located in a small airfield in the center of the country. 1/8 of a mile, that’s 200 meters to beat your opponent and try to reach the final. It’s also the time to discover the bikes of everyone. A fabolous Ducati mixing 999R, 1098 and Streetfighter parts over here, a Suzuki SV 1000 with a Penguin shaped front plate over there, a 2002 R1 fitted with Aprilia RSV front end and a snake skin finish, a german looking streefightered Kawasaki ZX-10R, CBR’s, Gixxer’s and the stuning bike of Jerome « Petit Polop » Duruit, the 2017 champion : a CBR 900 who receveid a CBR 1100 XX engine, Öhlins Forks, OZ gold wheels, carbon fiber tank and rear tail... Bikes are maybe more sober than other years, but the spirit remains. For my part, I was thinking of coming back in the game since my 2012 high side, so I finally managed to finish my 2001 GSX-R 750, equiped with a Ducati Panigale rear tail, PVM wheels and a Yamaha FZ-1 swingarm. At the end of the week-end and after epic fights, Kevin «Kiwi» Rigot was leading the championship, wining the final drag race and earning lot of points with his agressive CBR 900 during the Monsters Show.
Second round took place at the end of august in Ledenon, in south of France. This racetrack is well known for its height difference, making it look like a roller coaster. An incredible experience created for big-hearted pilots, leaving unwised riders (including me) visiting gravel traps. But don’t worry, no big crash or injury for any rider. The two sprint races were won by Olivier « Cube » Scannapieco and his sharpened 2006 GSX-R 1000, but the simplicity of his modifications cost him a lot of points at the Monsters Show. Anyway, everybody was now ready for the final round at the Circuit Carole, just few kilometers away from Paris. As expected, fun was at the rendez-vous on the track and in the paddocks, where all the riders and their family shared together on saturday evening a Raclette, a good example of french gastronomy composed of melted cheese, potatoes and different types of ham and sausage. The spirit of the Monsters Race was also well represented when a rider who was not racing this year lent his bike to one of the pilots who broke his engine three days before the event. Once again, Olivier « Cube » Scannapieco won the two races, but Kevin « Kiwi » Rigot won the championship, thanks to his fully prepared CBR and podiums during the races. And now ? Bikes are already on lifts and the 2019 season planning is almost established. So, will you be part of it ?