SportsJosep Maria Folch, pioneer of endurance motorcycling in Spain, dies

    Josep Maria Folch, pioneer of endurance motorcycling in Spain, dies

    Resistance motorcycling is mourning the death of one of its great pioneers, the Catalan Josep Maria Folch (Reus, 76 years old). The loss of him comes just the week in which the 28th edition of his fetish event will be held, the 24 hours of Catalonia that his team, the Folch Endurance, won 11 times. This dealership owner, who also set up a museum to show off his most precious jewels in his hometown, started his passion for two wheels at the age of 12, when his father took him for the first time at 24 Montjuïc hours.

    Already then he fell in love with the demand and cruelty of the modality, following in the footsteps of a Ducati that he loved and was less than an hour from completing the test due to a mechanical problem. “23 hours and 15 minutes flat out, going first, what an awful lot of work! And suddenly the race was over,” he recalled in a conversation with EL PAIS in 2014. Seeing the mechanics crying in the garage, that ardor by racing, he was immediately hooked. The years passed and he never failed as a spectator to the mythical test in the winding and dangerous urban layout on the magic mountain.

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    In 1982 he began working at the dealership that now bears his last name and a year later he had already placed a team in Montjuïc, which to his regret came very close to winning in several participations. Abandoned the lethal urban walls, Folch was suspicious of the jump to Montmelo, where he decided not to participate in the inaugural test on the track. Obsessed with 24 hours, he decided to give the circuit a try and the rest is history. His strong character and competitiveness were well known by his pilots, more than one fired after making the slightest mistake on his machine. “I’m not coming to finish second, I’m here to win… After so many years, second place is shit for me,” he said about his expectations before starting a race. The last victory of his team at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya came in 2017, and the pandemic put an end to his participation in the event.

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    Folch and his team achieved milestones unthinkable in their prime. In 2008 they were planted in the World Endurance Championship (EWC) of the International Motorcycle Federation (FIM) and finished in third place. “It was brutal, people of the town, from Reus, and we finished third in a whole World Cup,” he recalled at the Tarragona Newspaper a few years ago. His twelfth place in the famous 8 hours of Suzuka, where he was the first Yamaha, earned him an award from the Japanese multinational during his best year: expenses paid and a complete new engine. It was, in fact, the only time that he did not have to pay out of pocket to be able to compete. The lack of sponsorships and the slowdown in street motorcycle sales in the last decade cut short his dreams of repeating adventures in the elite, although that did not prevent his dominance within the national scene. The magician from Reus, as he was known in the world, trusted more than 130 pilots throughout his more than four decades dedicated to competition.

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    The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya fired through its social networks “one of the great figures” of the resistance and “great entertainer of the event” and is already working to organize a tribute this coming weekend, when a new 24 hour edition. A tribute is also planned to Raul Torras, the Mosso d’esquadra and resistance pilot who died a few weeks ago at the Isle of Man TT.

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    Source: EL PAIS

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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