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Apr 27, 2014

SRC Kawasaki Wins Bol d'Or 24-Hour FIM Endurance World Championship Race At Magny Cours

The overall podium of the Bol d'Or 24-Hour race at Magny Cours.

FIM Endurance World Championship/Bol d'Or 24-Hour

Magny Cours, France

April 27, 2014

Race Results:

1. SRC Kawasaki (Gregory Leblanc/Mathieu Lagrive/Nicolas Salchaud), Kaw ZX-10R, Superbike, 743 laps, 24:01:16.395

2. Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin (David Checa/Kenny Foray/Mathieu Gines), Yam YZF-R1, Superbike, 738 laps

3. Junior Team LMS Suzuki (Baptiste Guittet/Etienne Masson/Gregg Black), Suz GSX-R1000, Superstock, 732 laps

4. Team Bolliger Switzerland 8 (Horst Saiger/Roman Stamm/Daniel Sutter), Kaw ZX-10R, Superbike, 731 laps

5. Team Motors Events April Moto (Gregory Fastre/Michael Savary/Jimmy Storrar), Suz GSX-R1000, Superbike, 730 laps

6. National Motos (Arturo Tizon/Olivier Four/Gregory Junod), Hon CBR1000RR, Superbike, 725 laps

7. Team R2CL (Gareth Jones/Guy Martin/Gwen Giabbani), Suz GSX-R1000, Superbike, 722 laps

8. Yamaha Viltais Experience (Loic Bardet/Cyril Carrillo/Johan Nigon), Yam YZF-R1, Superstock, 714 laps

9. METISS JLC MOTO (Holub/Ayer/Cheron), METISS 1000, Open, 709 laps

10. AM Moto Racing Competition (Anthony Loiseau/Romain Maitre/Dylan Buisson), Suz GSX-R1000, Superstock, 703 laps

14. Franks Autowelt Racing Team  (Jason Pridmore/Pedro Vallcaneras/Bastien Mackels), BMW S1000RR, Superstock, 691 laps

29. Honda Racing (Julien Da Costa/Freddy Foray/Sebastien Gimbert), Honda CBR1000RR SP, Superbike, 642 laps, DNF

34. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Vincent Philippe/Anthony Delhalle/Erwan Nigon), Suz GSX-R1000, Superbike, 376 laps, DNF

40. Monster Energy Yamaha - YART (Wayne Maxwell/Patrick Olson/Igor Jerman), Yam YZF-R1, Superbike, 134 laps, DNF

More, from a press release issued by FIM Endurance World Championship Press Office:

Another Bol d’Or win for SRC Kawasaki

Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin and Junior Team LMS Suzuki also on the podium

An epic, breath-taking thriller with some surprising twists to the plot! Words can barely describe the 24-hour race the teams have just delivered at the 78th Bol d’Or in Magny-Cours. With some of the favourites forced out by the weather and the vicissitudes of the race, SRC Kawasaki has won again ahead of Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin and an astonishing Junior Team LMS Suzuki.

SRC Kawasaki has clocked up its third Bol d’Or win on the trot and by far its most surprising. No one would have fancied the factory Kawasaki a win for here this year. After a bad crash for Matthieu Lagrive in the free practice, Leblanc and Nicolas Salchaud almost shared the race between them. At the start a crash on the wet track pushed the Kawasaki #11 outside the top 20. After that, a textbook race brought it roaring back to take the top step of the podium with a five-lap lead over Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin.

Yamaha Racing GMT 94 with Michelin David Checa, Kenny Foray and Mathieu Gines was never out of the Top 3 throughout the 24 hours of the race. The French factory Yamaha took the lead during the night but was held up around 11 o’clock on Sunday by a crash on a slippery track following a shower of rain.

The other outstanding feat of this 78th Bol d’Or was pulled off by Junior Team LMS Suzuki. This team, entered in Superstock (without the fast wheel dismounters) rode its way on to the podium alongside the factory teams with Baptiste Guittet, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black on board despite two crashes during the race.

Bolliger Team Switzerland and Team Motors Events April Moto were locked in a veritable duel for fourth place towards the end of the race. Bolliger Team Switzerland had a great start to the race in the top 5 and delivered a superb race with Michael Sutter showing great virtuosity on a wet track despite a crash during the night. In its first race in EWC, Team Motors Events April Moto, winner of the 2011 and 2013 FIM Endurance World Cup, never moved out of the Top 10. Gregory Fastré, Michael Savary and Jimmy Storrar tried in vain to stave off the return of Bolliger Team Switzerland, but hung on to 5th place despite pressure from experienced teams such as National Motos, with its Honda in the capable hands of Olivier Four, Arturo Tizon and Greg Junod, and R2CL, runners up in the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Gareth Jones, Guy Martin and Gwen Giabbani.

In Superstock, Yamaha Viltaïs (Loic Bardet, Cyril Carrillo and Johan Nigon) took second place despite a crash ahead of the Suzuki of AM Moto Racing Compétition, on the podium again with Anthony Loiseau, Romain Maitre and Dylan Buisson.

Endurance fans have rarely witnessed a 24-hour race with so many twists and so much drama. A huge shower at the start shuffled the cards from the word go with crashes for the SRC Kawasaki, Honda National Motos and Junior Team LMS Suzuki, all in it to win. The first part of the race was an elbow-jostling battle between Suzuki Endurance Racing Team and Honda Racing. Le SERT crashed off the scene during the night leaving an injured Vincent Philippe. Firmly out in front with a five-lap lead after superb contributions from Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sébastien Gimbert, Honda Racing dropped out just before mid-day with crankcase damage caused by a broken gear system. Monster Energy Yamaha YART went out early on Saturday evening after several crashes that kept it shy of the fray in the leading pack.

In Superstock the front runners at the start of the race met with varied fortunes. Kawasaki Hall Motos 02 led the category for a time only to drop out at the end of the night with a broken engine after a number of crashes. A broken engine also put an end to the hopes of Qatar Endurance Racing Team, a contender for the podium in the category, and Starteam PAM Racing, up among the Superstock top five at the start of the race.

For the next round of the FIM Endurance World Championship, join us in Japan on 27 July for the Suzuka 8 Hours!

What they said…

Gilles Stafler, SRC Kawasaki team manager

“The week got off to a bad start. With Fabien Foret out and the crash for Matthieu, I wouldn’t have fancied us to win. The best win we ever had in a 24-hour race was our first in Le Mans in 2010. But this one was the toughest. There was also a luck factor in the choice of the tyres and we had the support of really top-notch technical staff.”

Kenny Foray, Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin rider

“It’s a great feeling to be back on the podium. I made a mistake and I feel bad about that. When I brought the bike back in a very bad state, the mechanics got it back in shape in just 12 minutes. That was really impressive.”

Christophe Guyot, Yamaha Racing GMT 94 Michelin team manager

“You could say that we were the survivors, but all the lads on this podium can be very proud of what they have achieved.”

Etienne Masson, Junior Team LMS Suzuki rider

“We were in it to win in Superstock but when we realised we could get on the overall podium we kept our cool. It was Damien Saulnier our team manager who was the most stressed out! The hardest thing was to manage the choice of tyres. We don’t have the high-speed wheel-changing system so kudos to the crew of students from LMS. They did a fantastic job for their first race.”

Grégory Leblanc, SRC Kawasaki rider

“I was expecting a tough race because of the weather but when we slipped back to 32nd it was hard to believe we could win. Matthieu Lagrive came back from 32nd to 14th place with a broken vertebra! I don’t think I’d have done that myself. I didn’t see the night go by. It was one of the best races I ever rode in but also one of the toughest.” 

More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing:

Honda Racing takes points and positives from Bol d'Or 24-hour

After almost 21 hours and over 600 laps, the Honda Racing team and its trio of French riders, Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sebastien Gimbert, were forced to retire from the Bol d’Or 24-hour today following a mechanical problem in the closing stages. However, in accordance with new regulations, the team leaves the opening round of the 2014 Endurance World Championship with 19 points under its belt.

An eventful start to the race in wet conditions caused problems for many teams early on, however Honda Racing held steady in the top three well into the night, alongside 13-time EWC champions SERT and Team Yamaha GMT94. Following a crash for Da Costa aboard the Fireblade SP just before midnight, the crew were able to repair the minor damage and return the bike to the track – in third place – within minutes.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, SERT crashed out of the lead and subsequently withdrew from the race. The Honda Racing team had made up significant time on then-second place contender Kawasaki SRC and was able to secure the top spot, leading the race for the next seven hours and establishing a five-lap margin.

Unfortunately, with just three hours remaining and Gimbert on his penultimate stint, the gearbox sprocket on the bike broke causing irreparable engine damage and Honda Racing was forced to retire from the race.

Despite the disappointment, the team leaves France having proven its race-leading capability and with 19 valuable championship points to its name - nine and ten points earned for placing second and first respectively at the eight and sixteen-hour intervals.

The full standings will be available on completion of the race at 15.00 CEST. The EWC will resume with the legendary Suzuka 8-hour race in Japan in July. 

Neil Tuxworth team manager

We’re terribly disappointed. I feel so sad for the riders and the team for all the effort they’ve made. It was such a small part that broke, just a gearbox sprocket that damaged the engine and we couldn’t continue. If we’re to take any positives from it it’s that we were the strongest team in the race, we were leading by five laps and I’m certain that the team will go on to win some races this year. It’s just very unfortunate that we couldn’t finish the Bol d’Or. We’ve still gained 19-points in the championship so we’re not going away empty handed. We’ll come back fighting next time.

Julien Da Costa

This is endurance racing and it is never easy but to go out with so little time left and with such a small problem is frustrating for all the team. We have to look at the positives and we were leading with a good gap and we could have got the win so we just have to wait until next time.

Freddy Foray

I heard many riders telling the story of going out in the last hours of the race and now I have this story to tell my children. It is so difficult because the team did such a good job during the race and preparation. It’s hard to lead a 24-hour race and everyone did an excellent job. I tell myself all through the night when my ribs were really painful that I have to do this and we can win, but this is endurance racing. I have to thank everyone in the team. We were unlucky here, but we’ll see you at the next one.

Sebastien Gimbert

I know better than anyone the feeling of leading the qualifying, getting the pole and leading the race only to be forced out in the final stage. It is very disappointing for the whole team who have worked so hard, but we proved we can lead the race and we work well together, so we can do it this year.

More, from a press release issued by Franks Autowelt Racing Team: BMW Racing Team: Difficult Bol d’Or ends with solid points

Magny-Cours. Das It’s been one of the toughest Bol d’Ors in the history of the Franks Autowelt Racing Team that ended on a solid 6th spot in Superstock and a 14th overall after 24 hours of racing. The Saxonian squad sent Jason Pridmore (USA), Pedro Vallcaneras (ESP) and Bastien Mackels (BEL) out to earn glory in the difficult conditions - not only due to changeable weather.

The 24 hours of Magny Cours started in pouring rain and already the first hour of racing took many riders of their bikes. Start rider Pedro Vallcaneras held the team’s BMW s 1000 RR upright and gave over the handle bars safely.

Until 5 hours to go all went smooth for the Franks Autowelt Racing Team without having problems. With the new point scoring system - there are new bonuses for the classification after 8 and 16 hours of racing - the squad took over the World Championship lead in the Superstock class courtesy of P1 and P2 at the time marks.

The morning brought an end to the luck as Bastien Mackels crashed in the ultra-fast Estoril corner, though. The Belgian rider lost the front and the BMW S 1000 RR got badly damaged. It took the team in total one hour to get back on track and one dropped down to P8 in the Superstock order.

Mackels went straight out on track again, but had another crash after rain came in to the Circuit de Nevers once more. He found himself in the gravel next to National Moto Honda and GMT94 Yamaha. This time the team lost a further quarter hour.

Rico Penzkofer, Team Principal:

“All in all we can summarize the Bol d’Or with a bitter sweet feeling this time. First of all we collected important championship points, which is important for the big target in this season. For having two crashes and spending more than one hour in the pits we more than limited the damage with P6 in the Superstock class and collected further good points. Of course, without the problems the podium was for grab, but with those conditions all was just about making some mistakes less than the others - even the class winners had a crash. In general we are satisfied, our whole team did a great job - starting with our riders over to all mechanics and helpers. Next up? The Road Races at the North West 200 and the TT at the Isle of Man.” 

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