Profile: CHRISTIAN RAYER (France)

Christian Rayer is a name not universally known in the UK, but is very well-known in his native France. Born in 1945, riding Greeves and Motobecane machinery in his early years as a rider, he was instrumental in the development of the first Montesa Cota 247 series trials machine which emerged in 1967, based and developed from the Spanish factory’s Impala engine design.

Montesa Trial prototype n1( 67)

Prior to the Cota, this was the Montesa Trial 247 (11M), this model was launched at the Barcelona motor show and had a production run of only 44 units. Developed by Rayer/Pi in 1967. (Information provided by: Luis Munoz-Aycuens Ribas).

This was done in association with both Pedro Pi and England’s Don (D.R.) Smith feeding information back to the Barcelona factory, owned by the Catalan Permanyer family, based then at Esplugas de Llobregat.

Pere Pi - Montesa Proto

Pere Pi was one of the Montesa factory development riders with Christian Rayer in 1967, seen here with another Cota Prototype.

Montesa Cota Prototype

One of the few remaining early model Montesa Trial 11M limited series production machines (B-577564). Developed from the prototypes from the Rayer/Pi/Smith era now in a private museum near Madrid, Spain (Photo: Eduardo Gomez de Salazar).

 

Première MONTESA 1967 -

Christian Rayer on B-576140 the first prototype of the Montesa Cota in 1967

1971 Cota 247

The 1971 production Montesa Cota which was a direct descendant from Rayer’s prototype machinery.

Rayer was six times French trials champion and rode the Scottish Six Days Trial three times on the Spanish marque. His main rivals of that era on the European trials scene were Sammy Miller, Gordon Farley and Don Smith (England) and Gustav Franke (Germany) who were all professional riders. Thereafter, in 1971 he was contracted by Yamaha to develop a trials machine the basis being their DT175 off-road model.

Presentation essaie prototype TY Yamaha (71)

Rayer with the prototype Yamaha TY (1971) in a company publicity brochure.

The trials model became known as the ‘TY’ which stood for ‘Trial Yamaha’ Rayer again feeding back useful information to the Japanese engineers at the Yamaha factory. Rayer’s efforts paved the way for a full-on attack by the Dutch based competition arm of Yamaha Motor Co in trials, but now with Mick Andrews as their main factory rider in 1973. Andrews had been with Spanish rivals, Ossa from 1967, switching to Yamaha in a blaze of publicity.

The first Factory Trial motorcycle in 1972

Progression in 1972 with changes to the TY Yamaha already visible.

Rayer’s business acumen resulted in the creation of his dealership called ‘Moto 92’ at Chaville, a suburb of Paris, where he went on to develop up-rated motors for the Yamaha TY250; XT600 and other trail models. He was also the founder of the first riding school for off road riders near Paris and competed in the first edition of the famous Paris-Dakar Rally on the Japanese marque as an official team member, winning many of the individual stages in the process. Rayer also rode in the Enduro de Touquet, also as part of Team Yamaha and finished second overall from a start field of 1000 riders.

In later life, Christian took up para-gliding, diving, hunting and microlight aircraft piloting.

Nowadays Christian runs a business in Valbonne Cedex called ‘IP Moteurs‘ supplying after-market upgrade kits for Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda.

The Trials Guru salutes – Christian Rayer.

 

 

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