As previously announced, the 2024 edition of Rétromobile will play host to a zone entirely given over to collector motorcycles. In addition to the presence of the major motorbike manufacturers (BMW Motorrad, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Indian Motorcycle, Triumph and Yamaha), a sales area dedicated to exceptional two-wheelers and a bar/restaurant in the colours of the legendary Ace Café, this new 2,000 sqm space will also feature a unique display dedicated to the history of a legendary lineage: the Monneret family.
The Monneret saga: a love of two-wheelers, a family history
While the history of the Monneret family is intertwined with that of motorcycling in France, it is first and foremost a family saga marked by passion and generational transmission.
It all began in 1908 with the birth of Georges Monneret. The first great name in this saga was passionate about motorcycles of all kinds, and very quickly turned to the challenge of competition. In 1930 he won several races in the 350 and 500 cc classes, before making history at the tender age of 21 by setting a new hill-climb speed record at Château-Thierry, the mecca of motor sports at the time. The young rider, by then affectionately known as 'Jojo la moto', enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, and at the same time tried his hand (with great success) at other disciplines.
French champion in three motorbike categories (250, 350 and 500 cc) in 1932, multiple speed records on the Linas-Montlhéry circuit, world outboard champion in 1936, runner-up in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1939... all titles that the young prodigy quickly added to his list of achievements. Although the Second World War put a stop to Georges' achievements, he was soon back in action at the end of the conflict. Alongside his racing activities, he became a car importer and distributor. In 1948, he rode a Vespa from Paris to Alpe d'Huez. His obsession with records led him to cross the Sahara on a Vespa, and also ride from Paris to London in just 5 hours 30 minutes, crossing the English Channel on his Italian scooter that had been converted into a pedalo-catamaran.
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The saga continued with the birth of Georges' children, Jean and Pierre Monneret, in 1931. The two sons were brought up to love motorbikes, and soon started riding them. At the age of 20, they took turns with their father on a 40,000 km round-the-world trip on the Montlhéry circuit, riding a Puch 125 TS. Despite Jean's serious accident, they completed the challenge in 24 days, 21 hours and 43 minutes. Following in his father's footsteps, Pierre went on to become the only Frenchman to win two Grand Prix races in the same day, in the 350 and 500 cc classes.
In 1958, the last of our characters was born. Philippe was the youngest of the Monneret sons. Like his older brothers, he was immersed in the world of two-wheelers from an early age, accompanying his father on promotional tours to the four corners of France. At the age of seven, the apprentice rider had an accident on the Magny-Cours circuit.
It was this incident that prompted him to perfect his technique and style at his father's racing school. He took over as head of the school a few years later, aged just 15, before opening his own motorbike school three years later. The Monneret name continued to live on through Philippe: Bol d'Or, 24 Hours of Le Mans Moto, runner-up in the Endurance World Championship... just a few of the titles Philippe added to the family honours list. In 2015, he became the fastest rider in the world on a racetrack, riding a Kawasaki at nearly 357 km/h. Now aged 65, he continues to pass on his passion through his motorbike training school, as well as by commentating for many seasons on motorbike Grand Prix races.
Philippe Monneret will be at Rétromobile 2024 to introduce enthusiasts of vintage vehicles from all walks of life to the extraordinary story of this atypical family. For the occasion, some twenty emblematic two-wheelers that accompanied the 3 generations of the Monneret saga will be on display in the dedicated display in the motorcycle zone.