I enjoyed a fantastic clear run up the south side road of Mont Ventoux (1910 m.), that used to be the route for the Ventoux Hill Climb race. Some particularly interesting curves remain that are still unique challenges but the famous tight turn at St. Estève has been straightened. The pits at the foot of the course in Bédoin have been built over and the petrol station pumps at the start have gone, but not the concrete island on which they stood. My clear run was great fun , of course being respectful to the villages and the cyclists.
The summit layout of Mt. Ventoux has been remade now that it is sacred to the cyclist tribe more than the motorsports people. Even so, the two tribes co-exist uneasily, although much better this day when the cyclists were mostly from local clubs as the tourist season is over. Nonetheless, it was one of the other local motorbikers who I asked to do my summit photo and chatted with: he rides a Triumph Speed Triple, his mate a new Bonneville.
The views from the summit were exceptionally clear, easily showing the Écrins and some of Grandes Alpes, the volcanoes of the Ardèche and the snow-capped line of the Pyrenées as well as the crinkles of the topography nearer “The giant of Provence”.
A pause at Sault for a picnic and phone calls to confirm a meet at Forcalquier, then a brief chat at the pumps with the local rider of a well-accessorised Yamaha Ténéré on his way up Ventoux but on the gravel tracks. For me, another brilliant run, across the Plateau d’Albion; “Plateau” gives the wrong impression, there is plenty of interest for a rider and the road seemingly keeps on coming.
A halt at Forcalquier for the coffee meet with local rider Jean riding his MV Agusta Dragster RR. Then a short ride together; two mid-sized RRs riding together is a rare treat and I hope we’ll do more next time.
Return to Marseille and dinner in a favourite restaurant.