The Rallye de la Drôme pollutes relations between two villages

In mid-July, it is traditionally a festive weekend in Saint-Jean-en-Royans. This Drôme village nestled between the mountains and its 3,000 inhabitants await the arrival, as every summer for thirty-nine years, of the Rallye de la Drôme. The event, of regional scope, invites more than a hundred amateur competitors for a speed race on the steep roads of the region. Hundreds of onlookers flock to watch the show, one of the most important events in local life, which fills the hotels and restaurants in the area.

Here is the table. At least until this year. Perched just 5 kilometers higher, the neighboring Saint-Laurent-en-Royans, a half-smaller village, hosts a new festival on the same three days. Her name ? The Grand Virage. His manifesto? “Three days to connect, have fun, and imagine our future without fossil fuels. “For the past few years, several inhabitants of the region have been questioning the relevance of events where thermal cars are driven”, exhibits Jean-Christophe Dauty, member of the Royans Vercors association after the fossils, at the origin of the Grand Virage.

The employee of the social center of Saint-Jean-en-Royans, aged 55, and his twenty local comrades, tired of the nuisances, decided to mark the occasion by preparing a meeting “in mirror”, in the objective of showing that “Less polluting activities are possible”. On the program: lectures by the writer Alain Damasio or the philosopher Baptiste Morizot, slowness race, plant screen printing or even bicycle rally. He is convinced of it, “The automobile rally corresponds to a bygone era”.

A thorny subject

Until now, no one has dared to criticize motor racing so openly, so much part of the local landscape. The famous Monte-Carlo Rally has even taken these paths for decades. “It’s still crazy, nobody talked about us before the controversy of this year”, is offended by the Automobile Sports Association (ASA) of Drôme, organizer of the rally. His spokesperson, Philippe Champagne, sees this sudden interest in his race as a reflection “An aversion to the automobile”.

In Saint-Laurent-en-Royans, where the first edition of the Grand Virage took place, a festival that questions polluting activities.

In Saint-Jean-en-Royans, the starting point for gasoline-powered festivities, the initiative of the Le Grand Virage festival is cringe. “I have nothing to say about it”, sweeps one of the race participants. No response either from the municipality, which has supported the event since its inception. After hesitating, Karine Ducret, the president of the Union of traders and artisans (UCIA) Saint-Jeannaise, agreed to speak, ” in [son] name “, she specifies. “Lately, a lot of green people are settling down and wanting to revolutionize everythingr », fervently criticizes the owner of the bar Le People.

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