COLOMBRES. GRAN RESERVA
Ahí está, justo frente a mí moto, la vieja oficina de turismo de Colombres donde en unos momentos haré la inscripción para la que será, sin duda, otra gran semana de rutas, reencuentros, pruebas deportivas y mucho más. Un año ha pasado desde que mi vieja compañera y yo aparcábamos en este mismo lugar. Por un momento detengo la marcha y tomo un respiro antes de acercarme más. Mientras simulo regular el relentí, dejo pasar a dos compañeros que se acercan, a mi mente viene el recuerdo de un amigo con quien tristemente ya no podré volver a charlar de motos, ambos fuimos infectados por el “espíritu de Colombres” hace años, pero sin duda podré sentirle, porque aquí no sólo se recuerda el pasado motociclista.
COLOMBRES. GRAND RESERVE.
There it is, just in front of my motorcycle, the old tourism office, where in a few moments I will enrol for another great week of routes, reuniting, sport events, challenges and much more. One year has passed since my old bike and I parked in the same place. For a moment I stop and take a deep breath before getting closer. I act as having a mechanical failure allowing two mates overtaking me, to my mind comes the thought of a friend with whom, sadly I won't be able to chat again about motorcycles, we both were infected by the “ spirit of Colombres ” many years ago, but surely I will be able to feel him, because in Colombres not only the old motorcycles are remembered.
The welcome is always warm and I am already supplied with everything needed. I head now to my hotel where I am greeted enthusiastically, beer in hand, by more friends staying in the terrace surrounded by classic bikes. It is difficult to explain the union that has been forged during these years, suffice to say, although I have grey hair now, I have devoted a big part of my free time to learn English in order to communicate with all these fantastic people coming from many countries to enjoy this party.
At this point, you will be wondering why the title “ Grand Reserve ”, the explanation is simple, although it seems like the "retro" is trendy, with all those new classic bikes leaving the robotic assembly lines, the true classic motorcycle scene is not at its best moment and new blood is uncommon. Nonetheless, here in Colombres, the spirit persists and the members of Moto Club Indianos, with the lead of his president Amable, work hard to keep something authentic and unique. An event “ Grand Reserve ”.
This classic motorbike festival sadly has too many events that are uncommon or the last surviving, like the last Hill-Climb of Spain, one of few classic motocross races, the last autojumble in the whole province and one-week long international rally with daily routes. But let me explain you each of them separately.
The week starts with the events intended for the participants. Every day, after a good breakfast in our respective hotels we go to the meeting point, as per usual the famous Colombres square, where at ten o'clock in the morning a new route through the superb Picos de Europa roads will begin. I like to be an early bird at the square to observe calmly my friends' bikes and being able to greet them as they deserve. Before long, the organization invites us to bring to life our venerable engines (in some cases more than 80 years old). It is a moment that I enjoy enormously and I invite you to experience it if you have the chance.
Cada cual rueda a su ritmo y todos sabemos que por delante tenemos un día de disfrute arropados por la organización, que recorrerá la misma ruta con vehículos de asistencia para recogernos en el no tan infrecuente caso (dada la edad de nuestras motos) de sufrir una avería.
In small groups and equipped with the route cards given by the organization where all the information is presented in an easy way we leave the square. To make things easier arrows will be placed along the route. It is the moment to enjoy the exceptional scenery of this beautiful territory without hustle, without stress and without concerns. Old school pace.
Knowing we have a day of enjoyment ahead, everybody rides at his own rhythm. The organizers will cover the same route with back up vans in case of a breakdown.
In the route sheet, the place where the daily fresh lunch will be provided is perfectly tagged. With this information in mind, we know that we can stop for a coffee at any moment and it will not be unusual to find small roadside bars taken to assault by a "horde" of "old bikers" in his “ old irons”. I use to stop in order to greet more friends with whom I have not spoken yet. These are the moments -when the classic motorbikes claim again his right to re-live old times- that always thrill me. There is always time to stretch the legs and to take photos of the scenery and at the end of the day, the party and a good meal with friends in the hotel are guaranteed.
In the event of breakdown throughout the route, your motorcycle will be brought to the “ Shed of shame ” where you will be able to get all the Moto Club tools and also help and advise of wise comrades who know all the possible malfunctions and how to fix them up. Owning a classic bike makes you a good repairman. Holding a beer with greasy hands is part of the business and a bit of good banter is guaranteed. In addition, you will always learn something new.
Day after day of routes and we get to Thursday night when the Colombres sports centre turns into a big dining room and all the participants gather for an informal meal. Then you realise that you haven't greeted everybody yet. Tomorrow some of us we will get up really early for the blue ribbon of the Rally. The 300 miles of Colombres, a route only for the bravest. The event starts before sunrise and sometimes ends well after dusk. Three hundred miles on these classic bikes and through these mountainous roads is a serious task. You would be surprised to see bikers in his 80's challenging themselves and their old bikes with enthusiasm. An event which is growing every year and in this edition, we even count three women riding their own machines.
Of course, we also have a shorter route to our disposal. Some of us do not want to ride such a long distance or are already too tired after having completed all the routes of the previous week in the North of Spain Rally not in vain it sums more than 1.500 miles.
The weekend has come and Colombres dresses up in its 'festive clothes' to welcome the general public. They want to come and celebrate with us the passion for the motorcycles. On Saturday the autojumble -as mentioned the last one remaining in the whole province and one of the few in northern Spain- opens his doors and this is becoming more difficult due to online shopping. Thanks to the dealers' passion and big public support we still can enjoy the pleasure of searching for a good bargain. Let me tell you an anecdote. Last year my friend James bought a BMW seat as the first part of a new project and this year he brought his R-65 finished. A strange way to start a restoration. Don't you think?
Also on Saturday the sixth Bustio-Colombres Hill-Climb is held. A very special event and the only one of its kind in the whole country. Thanks to the race director's commitment, Celestino Cobo, and the support of the pilots, Moto Club Indianos can go ahead with this difficult project which always draws a big crowd. The extraordinary quality of the racers is confirmed with the participation of one Spanish champion and two La Bañeza street race winners. Their support for this event shows that the race has to go forward despite the difficulties.
With summer-like weather conditions and lots of public gathered along the track, the event shone once again in its four different categories. The podiums were formed as follows: Two strokes, winner Antonio Yrizabal, second Álvaro Cuadrado and third David Posada. Four strokes twins Adrián Hermida, Jose Ángel Gayoso and Bruno Capín. Four strokes up to 500 c.c. José Bruno Heres second Jesús Ángel Inza third Borja González. Four strokes up to 350 c.c. winner Borja González followed by Isaac Pérez and Sergio Barreales.
We also had the opportunity to see the former Spanish champion César Gracia who at his 79 years did not hesitate to participate on his Montesa 125 GP. The bike designed by the Spanish firm for the 1959 Uruguay GP where César won. We enjoyed seeing such perfectly preserved gem roaring uphill and guided by his fast pilot in an effort to put Colombres in a special spot.
Remains of hurricane Leslie hit Colombres on Sunday as if it wanted to ruin the party, not realising motocross pilots love mud and don't fear cold temperatures. The event will take place no matter what. A couple of years ago, and organized by "Pepe", the motocross started as a 'friends gathering' but the event has grown becoming part of the provincial championship. With a new and more demanding track and an even more professional organization, they try to raise the category to the national championship level. With an entry of 105 pilots, I am sure they will achieve it.
Seeing all these former champions supporting the event was phenomenal. A reminder of this sport' great past in our country. A discipline that still retains the special appealing of the fight against the mud.
The participants endured the hardships and offered a good dose of adrenaline and mud to the public, leaving the pódiums as follows. Category 80 Evo winner José Miguel Macho, second Juán Gracía-Rendueles and third Juán Manuél García-Rendueles. The pódium in Pre-78 would be formed by Eduardo Echevarría, Alejandro Ugidos y Ander Etxebarria. In 80 Twinshock the first position went to Fermín Atorrasagasti second Alejandro Rubiera and third Alberto Garciablanco. Finally in Twinshock number one for Efrén Cabo followed by José M. García and Francisco J. Tejedor.
Housed at the sports centre, we enjoyed the last meal together, a rich paella, and sadly we said goodbye to our friends, wrapping up the seventh Colombres International Rally that leaves us with the desire of more routes, more events and more passion for motorcycles.