Editorial Note: American Melissa Paris co-rode the Girls Racing Team Yamaha YZF-R1 to finish 28th overall and 14th in the Superstock class.
SUZUKI ENDURANCE RACING TEAM WIN BOL D’OR
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team tasted victory once again, crossing the finish line of the Bol d’Or one lap ahead of the Yamaha-mounted Polish squad Wójcik Racing Team and Germany’s BMW-mounted Team ERC Endurance. Moto Ain took the Superstock win at the end of an action-packed race.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team won the Bol d’Or for the 17th time with riders Vincent Philippe (for whom this is both his 9th Bol d’Or win and his last time competing in the race), Etienne Masson and Gregg Black. Most importantly, the factory-backed Suzuki once again tasted victory – their first in the World Championship since their 2016 Bol d’Or win with Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Etienne Masson. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team have started the 2019-2020 FIM EWC in style, going to the top of the standings with 49 points.
Damien Saulnier, SERT’s new team manager, was awarded the Anthony Dehalle EWC Spirit Trophy as a tribute to his combative style, both in this race and since his arrival at the helm of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team this past summer.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team finished ahead of an unexpected challenger – Wójcik Racing Team. The Yamaha-mounted Polish team led throughout the early stages of the race in the rain with riders Gino Rea, Christoffer Bergman and Axel Maurin, and subsequently held back their rivals.
A fratricidal duel between two BMWs unfolded in the final stages of the race, with Team ERC Endurance (Mathieu Gines, Julien da Costa and Louis Rossi) facing off against BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team (Ilya Mikhalchik, Julian Puffe and Kenny Foray). In the end, Team ERC Endurance won the day, crossing the chequered flag with a 4-second lead on the factory BMW squad, who were making their Endurance World Championship debut.
Two Yamahas performed magnificently in the final laps. Having started from 23rd position, Omega Maco Racing Team (Pawel Szkopek, Bjorn Estment and Karel Hanika) were 5th past the finish line, ahead of VRD Igol Pierret Experiences (Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Ricardo Brink).
Moto Ain triumph in Superstock
Moto Ain ran a near-flawless race. The Yamaha-mounted team finished 7th to take the Superstock win, pocketing the 40 points awarded for the victory in this class as well as the 10 points awarded at each of the two intermediate stages of the race, plus 4 bonus points for being the 2nd Superstock on the starting grid. Their only rivals were Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto, who started from pole but fell to the bottom of the rankings after a crash.
BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers (Kawasaki) finished 10th overall and 2nd in the Superstock class with riders Anthony Loiseau, Jonathan Hardt and Julien Pilot. Suzuki-mounted Motors Events (James Westmoreland, Johan Nigon and Florent Tourné) wrested 3rd place in Superstock from Wójcik Racing Team 2.
An edition to remember
The 83rd Bol d’Or will go down in the history books as a highly unusual race. As in 1988 and 1996 on the Paul Ricard circuit, the weather conditions, with heavy rainfall, forced the race to be interrupted from 6pm on Saturday to 6am on Sunday.
Three hours after the race had resumed on a quickly drying track, the leader F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s engine failure totally shook up the positions in the lead. Loris Baz in the saddle of the YART Yamaha bike and Webike SRC Kawasaki France’s Erwan Nigon, both hot on the Honda’s heels, were caught unawares by an oil spill. The riders’ minor crashes forced the two factory teams to withdraw, as their bikes had caught fire.
The exit of these factory teams opened the way for Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, who took the lead and managed to create and keep a gap to their rivals. Their toughest competition came from the Polish squad Wójcik Racing Team.
Fans brave bad weather
62,000 spectators turned out to watch the 2019 edition of the Bol d’Or despite the adverse weather conditions.
The next race on the 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship calendar is the 8 Hours of Sepang, a new race to be held in Malaysia on Saturday 14 December as part of a double-header car/motorcycle event featuring the FIM EWC and the FIA WTCR/Oscaro.
More, from another press release issued by Eurosport Events:
BOL D’OR: ANOTHER UPSET AFTER THE RACE
The Bol d’Or podium has been changed. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team are still the race winners ahead of Wójcik Racing Team, but Team ERC Endurance, who finished third, have been demoted.
Following post-race scrutineering after the Bol d’Or, the FIM jury has decided to demote Team ERC Endurance for non-compliance with the rule regarding fuel tank capacity.
The German BMW-mounted ERC Endurance team will cede their place on the podium to a squad riding another of the German manufacturer’s machines.
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, who were making their FIM EWC debut at the Bol d’Or with riders Ilya Mikhalchik, Julian Puffe and Kenny Foray, are third.
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:
SUZUKI ENDURANCE RACING TEAM WIN BOL D’OR EWC OPENER
Team Suzuki Press Office – September 22.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team: GSX-R1000 – 1st
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team started the new 2019-2020 Endurance World Championship season, the 83rd Bol d’Or 24-Hour in France, with victory after the race was cut in half due to extreme weather conditions.
GSX-R1000 riders Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black completed a total of 313 laps of the 5.6km Paul Ricard Circuit in the south of the country after heavy rain and high winds forced a stop at 6pm on Saturday and resumed this morning at 6am. SERT, who took a total of 11 scheduled pit stops, finished one lap ahead of runners-up, the Wójcik Racing Team, and also earned extra points for leading at Hour 8 and 16, scoring a total of 60 points.
After a rainy start, SERT immediately shone with Gregg Black aboard the Suzuki, as he literally jumped off the grid to make the holeshot. During the first three hours, the #2 GSXR-1000 never left the top three, before the race direction decided to suspend the race on safety grounds.
The race restarted behind the safety cars, in the order of the ranking of the last lap before the red flag. Always at the front, the whole SERT team, managed by Damien Saulnier, worked hard to maintain the pressure on its rivals and take advantage on their mistakes.
This strategy paid off just before 10:00 am, as the #2 Suzuki took the lead of the race. Determined to offer the SERT its 17th Bol d’Or victory, Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black maintained excellent race pace and managed to avoid all the traps of the circuit to the chequered flag.
With the victory, Vincent Philippe becomes the absolute record holder of Bol d’Or victories, with nine wins.
“I was focused on the last stint and I really appreciated that Damien allowed me to finish the race. I want to thank the new SERT for their hard work and constant improvement day after day. But I won’t forget the former team without whom we wouldn’t be here.”
“It wasn’t easy to go back on track this morning, but the bike was working well, and we quickly found the right pace. This race was very special because it was the last Bol d’Or with Vincent. We experienced very strong emotions working together and I am really happy to end this story with a victory.”
“It was a very strange race. The track was very tricky, and the race direction took the right decision for the riders’ safety. We were very consistent all through the race. The team worked really well, and I want to thank them all for this victory because it’s my first victory in a 24-hour race.”
• The 83rd Bol d’Or will go down in the history books as a highly unusual race. As in 1988 and 1996 on the Paul Ricard circuit, the weather conditions, with heavy rainfall, forced the race to be interrupted from 6pm on Saturday to 6am on Sunday.
• SERT’s new Team Manager Damien Saulnier was awarded the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy as a tribute to his combative style, both in this race and since his arrival at the helm of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team.