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Le Mans, scene of the first motorcycle race adapted for the disabled

Le Mans, scene of the first motorcycle race adapted for the disabled

A paraplegic since 2003, when at the age of 21 he suffered a motorcycle accident, Stephane Paulus will be at the start of a speed competition on two wheels, in the first race of motorcycling adapted for the disabled, at Le Mans.
The Bugatti circuit will be the stage where 29 motorcyclists compete -among them a Finnish pilot, the only woman-, in a race organized within the framework of the French Grand Prix, in which this Saturday the classifications of the three World Championship categories will be disputed .
“It will be a great occasion to show the public the intact passion of the disabled riders who participate in this race,” says Stephane Paulus, president of the Handi Free Riders association.
At the starting line there will be 14 paraplegics, eleven pilots with amputated lower limbs and four without with upper limbs, in addition to one with a left brachial plexus paralysis.
Each motorcycle will be modified according to the disability of its rider.
“For a paraplegic who cannot use his lower limbs, the gearshift and rear brake are put on the handlebars, while the feet are supported by grip systems used in mountain biking,” explained Paulus, the creator of this race. , which seeks to reconcile competition motorcycling with physical disability.
For amputees and hemiplegics, the controls are located on the right or left of the motorcycle depending on your needs.
All will have to complete 8 laps of the track – for 28 in the premier class, MotoGP-. Since many cannot stand upright, the start will be thrown.
– Demonstrations of ‘Stunt’ –
“It is the result of several years of work,” recalls Emiliano Malagoli, who has had a titanium prosthesis on his right leg since 2011, when he suffered a car accident.
“We can offer a great show, I’m sure,” added this Italian rider, who chairs the ‘Diversamente Disabili’ association, which aims to introduce disabled children to the world of two wheels.
“My association is dedicated to motorcyclists who, after an accident, find themselves in a situation of disability (paraplegia, hemiplegia or amputation) and wish to return with the motorcycle to the circuits”, adds Paulus, about ‘Handi Free Riders’.
“Until today, no race for pilots with reduced mobility has been organized on the occasion of a world-wide grand prix,” he added.
The promoter of the MotoGP French Grand Prix, Claude Michy, had contacted Paulus for his demonstrations of ‘Stunt’ (discipline in which the objective is to chain acrobatic figures on the rear or front wheel) during the weekend of the race.
“The French Grand Prix is ​​a highly successful event, with more than 100,000 spectators flocking to the Le Mans circuit,” adds Paulus, about the opportunity that lies ahead.
In the long term, his goal is to continue making his association known and perhaps seek to develop it in other disciplines such as cross or enduro.

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