Professional race car drivers are a different breed. They can push a vehicle to the very edge of its limits and beyond, and still come out smiling at the end. These pilots have the skills to adapt to any situation in a thousandth of a second. On the other hand, during their occupation out on the race circuits, they look for activities which give them relaxation to relieve the stresses that build up from working under such high-pressure conditions.
The Grand Prix of Canada presented on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit is a must for thrill-seekers and for those who gravitate in the global F1 jet-set. Drivers, however, take the opportunity to come several days in advance to do activities away from the paddocks and away from the cameras.
This year, the driver of the HASS F1 Team, Romain Grosjean, was determined to discover what we have the best to offer in terms of accommodations. Plus, why not make business fun and explore the ATV trails that make us famous worldwide.
Auberge du Lac Taureau was the ideal destination for its heavenly setting in the heart of a majestic environment. Boasting complete facilities and being one of the finest destinations in Quebec, this address is an ideal resort for a distinguished guest. This place is also world-renowned for the quality of its hospitality, comfort, and gastronomy. Finally, the location is also a major hub for recreational vehicle enthusiasts: Lac Taureau allows navigation for watercraft by its large extent, it also has many snowmobile trails during the winter period and countless ATV trails are nearby for our greatest pleasure.
The French-Swiss pilot, Romain Grosjean, took advantage of his first moments off the plane that had brought him to Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport to board a helicopter bound for Saint-Michel des Saints in Lanaudière, Québec. In less than an hour by air, we were able to make the first contact with this world-famous pilot. Needless to say, it is sometimes intimidating to meet someone with such notoriety. During the first moments, we quickly noticed its very happy and friendly character. He was very glad to be with us and to enjoy a change of scenery out of the ordinary.
This introduction was followed by a hearty meal and a period of relaxation to assimilate the time difference caused by his overseas trip. Nevertheless, his excitement could be felt because he was aware of the UTV ride that awaited him the following day.
After a good night’s sleep and a nice breakfast at the inn, we were ready to attack the trails aboard our vehicles. Our guides, Jean-Raymond Proulx and Mario Morin were pleased to accompany us and to take care of the safety aspect of the ride. For the occasion, the power sports dealer Mathias Marine Sports had taken care to prepare a suitable vehicle for our professional driver. A Polaris RZR 1000 turbo developing an impressive 168 hp was made available for his introduction to this activity. Romain admitted this was his first experience aboard this type of vehicle. Moreover, he has no experience in rally type races. Therefore, we expected a period of adaptation from him. This adaptation was, however, of very short duration. His great experience behind a steering wheel allowed him to become very familiar with all the aspects of driving a side by side vehicle.
The maintenance of the surrounding trails of Auberge du Lac Taureau is provided by the Matawinie ATV club and we aimed during this ride to visit the dam at the origin of Lake Taureau. We encountered all kinds of trail conditions: mud, sand, rocks, water, and dust. Some of those trails were fast straight lines while others were winding and tortuous. In short, it was a good mix to demonstrate to our guest the trails we can enjoy during our ATV activity in the summer season. His smile was proof of his appreciation of the moment. His mocking side also came up several times when crossing some muddy holes, for his personal amusement and also to impress us he had fun to splash his co-driver. Our guides proposed several stops at enchanting places to allow us to exchange with Romain about his appreciations of the moment.
The lunchtime was also an opportunity to see the extent of the dam and the ingenuity behind this construction. We tasted a meal specially concocted by the Auberge du Lac Taureau for all participants of this ride.
Time was an issue, however, as we were expected for a nautical activity at the Inn, so we decided to go the other way back to where our next outing was waiting for us. The return ride was just as exhilarating for everyone and our guest showed us just how fast he can be behind the wheel, regardless of the machine.
Romain admitted he intends to repeat the experience as soon as the opportunity arises. We hope his visit in our trails will make him a global ambassador for our organized trails system. Who knows, the ATV activity in Canada could be a destination of choice for international tourism if we regularly charm celebrities as our new friend!