In Vercors, a car race on ice crystallizes tensions

January 23, 2023 at 09:36

Reading time: 3 minutes

Sports Energy

Lans-en-Vercors (Isère), report

White banners decorate the streets, buildings and businesses for several days: Welcome to the Andros Trophy ! » Motor racing on ice has been organized every winter since 1990 in the resort of Lans-en-Vercors, located within the perimeter of the regional natural park (PNR) from Vercors. For two days, at dusk, fifteen cars and a dozen motorcycles compete on the resort’s ice circuit, a few bends down the road from the village.

More than thirty editions, but in recent years, the dispute is increasing on the plateau of Vercors. At the beginning of January, the subject is back on the table at the municipal council of Lans-en-Vercors. François Nougier, member of the minority (Europe Ecology-The Greens, EELV) since 2014, opposed various rights majorities during the renewal of the convention with the organizers of the event. I always vote against »explanation of the elected official, criticizing a energetic aberration » and an event rude », while many French could not pay their bills ».

A citizens’ collective called for the search for “ alternatives “in this event judged” out of date “. © Raphaëlle Lavorel / Reporterre

And the voice of the elected member of the opposition is not the only one speaking out against motor racing. For the first time, a collective citizens of Lans-en-Vercors published a forum requesting a search alternatives » in this event that is judged out of date ». In times of severe and long-term energy crisis, it is legitimate to question the feasibility and impact of an event like the Andros trophy. »written by the collective, sent by the association for the protection of Mountain Mountain Wilderness.

What world do we want to live in tomorrow? ? »

Event organizers, for their part, defend environmental balance: This is the first 100 races % electric in the world », emphasizes Max Mamers, founder of the Andros Trophy, while from 2020 the race only accepts electric cars. And if the motors of the motorcycles in the circuit are always thermal, the organizer recognizes, an electric motorcycle prototype was deployed this year » to be generalized, he promised.

For the organizer of the Trophy and for the mayor of Lans-en-Vercors, Michaël Kraemer, the controversy surrounding the race is pure politics ». We try to hide our pro-environmental actions with the Andros Trophy »denounced the mayor, recalling the creation in 2019 of a sensitive natural space (ENS) near the circuit. We want to show that the two things are compatible, that each can find its place »assured the aedile.

As of 2020, the race only accepts electric cars. They are not environmentally friendly, especially because of lithium batteries. © Andros e-Trophy

The one who is also the vice-president of tourism of PNR du Vercors defends himself from the incompatibility between the Trophy and the park’s charter, a criticism regularly addressed by opponents of the race. The charter recommends in particular limit the use of motor vehicles for recreational purposes »… but remains void. Legally, it is up to the municipalities to decide the interpretation they want to make of the charter proposals »we explained in the communication part of the park.

Electric or thermal, it doesn’t matter for the elected representative of the opposition François Nougier: the Andros Trophy has become a symbol what we have not been able to achieve, locally, to participate in a collective effort ». And the two conflicting visions seem irreconcilable. Faced with the argument of tourist interest in the event for merchants and hotels of the Vercors plateau, François Nougier responded: The question is not whether there are economic benefits, but what kind of world we want to live in tomorrow. »

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