Nogaro - The 3rd round of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship in Nogaro, a tiny commune in the southwest of France, was every bit the expected truckrace- and trucker festival, with more than 40,000 visitors in total. We’ve often repeated here that more than 10 times as many fans descend on Circuit Paul Armagnac on race weekends as Nogaro has inhabitants. But that was when the official population was close to 3,000.
Now with 30 people per square kilometre, the Gers department in the heart of the Gascony province is one of the most sparsely populated departments in France, a country that on the whole isn’t itself particularly densely populated. (To compare, North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany, has 523 inhabitants per square kilometre.)
The economy here is almost totally agrarian, and like all regions of this type across Europe, Nogaro too has suffered from an exodus to the cities. As a result, the present population of the town is less than 2,000.
Nevertheless the truck racing weekend actually recorded a spectator record, the 40,000-plus outnumbering the locals 20 to 1...