Team SRC Kawasaki celebrating their 1:41.055 victory over the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team at Bol d’Or.
Team SRC Kawasaki claimed victory in the prestigious Bol d’Or Endurance World Championship race in Magny-Cours after a strenuous 781-lap battle against the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT). SRC Kawasaki earned 40 points for top standing in the championship, best the SERT team by 1:41.055. Monster Energy Yamaha YART came in for third followed closely by the Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Yamalube team who clinched fourth. Rounding out the top five was another Yamaha team, Yamalube Folch Endurance.
Challenging weather conditions made for a dramatic race, with intermittent rain showers and temperatures near freezing through the night. Vincent Philippe, the SERT rider who posted the fastest qualifying lap time, slipped off his GSX-R1000 four hours into the race and fractured his collarbone due to the wet conditions. SERT continued for the remaining 19 hours with just two riders. Team SRC Kawasaki’s Julien Da Costa, Grégory Leblanc, and Oliver Four held on without mistake though, riding the Ninja ZX-10R to the team’s first victory in over 12 years.
Fourth place qualifier BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent had to retire from the race after the Australian rider Damien Cudlin suffered a devastating crash just two laps before he was to hand the reigns to teammate Sébastien Gimbert. After pushing the BMW S1000RR to the pit box, the crew repaired the bike and got Gimbert back in the race, but he was forced to return after one lap as the damage to the bike was more severe than first thought. This disaster came after two crashes in practice sessions had forced the team to rebuild both RR’s for Friday’s qualifying sessions. The BMW team made it through qualifying fourth-fastest with hopes of a podium finish at Bol d’Or, but they are left now to prepare for the next FIM Endurance World Championship round in Doha, Qatar set for June 9th.
The notable Honda TT Legends Team came in ninth place overall scoring 19 important points for the championship. As with other teams, Honda TT didn’t come to the finish line without issue in the challenging conditions. Rider Simon Andrews made an unscheduled pit stop to address a quick shift issue, which was quickly corrected. Later, teammate Cameron Donald suffered a high speed crash after losing the front end on the back straight. The crew repaired the damage in less than 20 minutes, turned the bike over to John McGuinness and came through the final two hours unscathed.
FIM World Endurance Championship Bol d’Or Results:
1. SRC Kawasaki (Kawasaki) 781 laps
2. SERT (Suzuki GSX-R1000) + 1:41.055
3. Monster Yamaha YART + 5 laps
4. Yamaha GMT 94 (Yamaha) + 55.264
5. Yamalube Folch Endurance (Yamaha) + 16 laps
6. Honda TT Legends (Honda) + 34 laps
7. Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers (BMW) + 45 laps
8. Team Dunlop Motor (Suzuki GSX-R1000) + 51 laps
9. Team R2CL (Suzuki GSX-R1000) + 54 laps
10. SH Technologie SCR (BMW) + 59 laps