Octave Lapize – 1910 Tour de France Winner & WW1 Fighter Pilot
Octave Lapize, Tour de France Winner 1910 & First World War Fighter Pilot
Auctioned on eBay in July 2014 to help Le Rocquier School Paris to Jersey Cycle Challenge Team raise £21,000 for the Stroke Association.
The auction has now finished but you can read the press release about it below.
1910 Tour de France Winner to Help the Stroke Association
An original artwork commemorating the 1910 Tour de France winner and First World War fighter pilot, Octave Lapize, is to be auctioned for charity.
Jersey military artist and illustrator, Dawn Monks, decided to combine her love of ‘Le Tour’ with her interest in military history in order to create a unique, one off piece of work in pen & ink that will be sold on eBay, with all of the proceeds going to the Stroke Association.
“My 15 year old son is a member of the Le Rocquier School Cycle Challenge team: 10 Jersey teenagers who will be cycling 330 miles, from Paris to Jersey, over 4 days in September with the aim of raising £21,000 to help stroke sufferers in the Island.” Dawn explains, “The team has been putting a huge amount of effort into their training and fundraising and I wondered what I could do to help. I draw highly detailed military illustrations – vehicles, portraits, etc. – for a living so it made sense to produce a piece of artwork that had a military link, but also a cycling connection.”
“I looked around for a suitable subject – one that would combine cycling and the First World War, a portrait and a military machine – and Octave Lapize fit the bill perfectly. Not only was he the 1910 Tour de France winner and a striking looking man, therefore a perfect portrait subject, but he also flew as a FWW fighter pilot which gave me the excuse to draw his Nieuport 23 biplane as part of the composition. On top of that, he provided me with a fantastic quote to round the picture off for Tour de France fans!”
The 1910 Tour de France was the first to include the steep climb of the Col du Tourmalet as part of the race route, along with three other mountains. Tackling these difficult ascents on a single speed bike, up rough tracks that were very far removed from the smooth tarmac of the Tour of today, must have been gruelling to say the least. Lapize had the reputation of being the best mountain climber alive, but he was so incensed by the ordeal the organisers were inflicting on the cyclists that every time he passed a race official on the climb he yelled, ‘Vous êtes des assassins! Oui, des assassins!’ (‘You are murderers! Yes, murderers!’).
“Octave was obviously a real character and a very brave man; it has been an honour to draw him. I hope that I have managed to do him justice and to capture on paper just a little of his spirit. Fingers crossed that he raises lots of money for this very worthy cause.”
The start date for the eBay auction of the framed pen & ink drawing is 14th July – the 97th anniversary of Lapize’s death after his Nieuport 23 biplane was shot down in a fierce battle with a German ‘plane over Flirey, in the Lorraine region of France. “The dates of the auction are very significant,” says Dawn, “It begins on the anniversary of Octave’s death and ends 10 days later on July 24th, the Col du Tourmalet stage of this year’s Tour de France. I think that Octave would approve.”
Donations can be made to the Le Rocquier School Cycle Challenge team by visiting their JustGiving page.