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Sebastien Loeb shows motorcycle skills

Multiple rally champ beats professional bike racers on two wheels

SOME people just seem to be blessed with all the talent – and former World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb has just proved he’s definitely one of them.

Having gone into semi-retirement in 2013, having won an unprecedented nine straight world rally championships (that’s right – he won every season from 2004 to 2012 inclusive), he’s had time to venture into a few other forms of motorsport. Including bike racing.

At the weekend he took part in the ‘Scorpion Masters’ at Paul Ricard, a competition that includes road racing, supermoto, trials and enduro to find the best all-round rider. Most of the competitors were professional racers, with a smattering of handy bike journos and Loeb thrown into the mix.

The result? Loeb finished 13th after all the events, out of 28 riders in total. Notable names to finish lower included former WSB man David Checa, double world motocross champ Frederic Bolley and supermoto champ Boris Chambon. Overall winner at the event was multiple endure champion David Knight.

Loeb, who started out as a gymnast before turning to motorsport, has raced bikes before – but that was back in 1990 as a teenager. But it looks like if he hadn’t decided to switch to rallying he might have been a big name on two wheels instead.

His Scorpion Masters success joins a list of 2013 achievements that doesn’t seem to fit Loeb’s ‘semi-retired’ tag. He still won two world rally events this year despite only entering four – he came second in another and DNF’d in the last – as well as winning the Pikes Peak hillclimb in a time that took a minute and a half off the previous record. Like Valentino Rossi, earlier in his career he came close to a switch to F1 after a series of dazzling test appearances. Next year, aged 40, he’s off to race in the World Touring Car championship… Now that’s the sort of retirement that any of us can be jealous of.