Sète is a city in the South of France which is also known as the Venice of Languedoc because of its canals.
It is where Loïc Larrieu grew up and went to school.
He still lives in the region today, together with his wife Magali and their daughter Lycia.
2019 has been an important year for Loïc: riding a new bike, Factory team’s TM, he is showing everyone what he is made of. He is chasing Alex Salvini in Enduro2’s general rankings, and has firmly established himself in the Enduro GP’s Top 5.
“I am happy with how things are going”, he tells us. “I am still bothered by the Portuguese race, as the two mechanical problems were unnecessary and my ranking suffered because of them, but, you know, this is Enduro. The mechanical aspect exists and these things can happen. Even if it is difficult, we riders need to know not only how to accept this, but also how to react.”
Loïc knew how to react. Apart from the unfortunate Portuguese races, he has been on Enduro2’s podium the entire season.
“In the end I think there are many factors which give a rider a competitive advantage, but I think that concentration probably is the most decisive.” It might seem strange that long trials request such high, and constant, levels of concentration. “You have to avoid mistakes. These are races where problems are always lurking around the corner.”
Loïc is not a man of many words; rather, he is the practical type and his approach to a competition is clear from the outset: “Avoid problems and accidents while trying to optimise energy consumption”.
He does not waste his breath explaining how challenging the races he faces are, or how difficult it is to continue proving himself as he doing, having climbed the podium thirty-five times in his career.
He looks at the result. “Honestly, most of the times that I get on a bike, I do it because of the competitions I have to face. I rarely ride a bike for the pleasure of doing so. I am motivated by my passion and always search for the greatest intensity, also in my training. I often simulate special tests in order to understand what might happen during a competition; we also have to work a lot on our ability to adapt to different situations. Conditions can change all the time, also because all special tests are different. We have to know how to adjust ourselves.”
However, you cannot predict everything in this discipline.
“For example, at the Valli Bergamasche the conditions were extreme. It was the most challenging competition of the season. The course was very hard and there was one extra special test. On top of this, the meteorological conditions did not help at all. Pouring rain on Saturday and bright sun on Sunday. At the finish line we were completely exhausted.”
It might seem trivial to say that Loïc is moved by passion. He loves races and he loves motorbikes.
“Our discipline enables us to share special moments also with the amateurs who participate in the competitions. We are all motivated by the same passion. It is fundamental to have fun also for a professional rider like me. This sense of fun is what allows us to have the best possible approach in order to improve constantly. During my training I always try to improve my technique and to be faster. Everything would be much harder if I did not enjoy it.”
“Motorcycles have always been important for me. If you asked me what I would do if I was not a rider…well, I would not know what to tell you….”
Loïc got on his first bike when he was nine years old, and from the very beginning he accepted the rules of the game. He says that the risk factor is what distinguishes this sport, even if great progress is being made. He was able to accept this aspect from the very beginning, and also his family is able to live with it.
When he rides a bike he tells himself continuously that he must avoid injuries. He also says that the same qualities that make a rider victorious, passion and strength of mind, help to forget all difficult moments.
He has an iron will. When we ask him if he had ever considered to end his career for whatever difficulty he may have encountered in the past, he responds that he did not understand the question.
He blames his English for this, but it is actually more likely that this response is thanks to, and not because of, his mentality and determination.
At the moment he is enjoying a short and well-deserved break. However, he tells us immediately that of course he will start training for the competitions in September soon.