While we were busy getting sunburned in Austin, on the other side of the globe in Magny-Cours, men and women road motorcycles around a french track for 24-hours straight, in a little something called the Bol d’Or.
With SRC Kawasaki making a return to the pole-position, the French squad made it two years in a row at the winner’s circle, giving them a fantastic start to the World Endurance Championship. At the helm of their Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R were Gregory Leblanc, Loris Baz, and Jérémy Guarnoni, who battled through rain and the cold night to put the Kawasaki on the top step.
Finishing with a comfortable nine-lap lead over the Monster Energy Yamaha YART squad from Austria, SRC’s position at the front was closely contested early-on by the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) and Yamaha France GMT94. They team had a solid ride from Igor Jerman, Broc Parkes, and Sheridan Morais (who replaced Josh Waters), and looks to be in good shape for the rest of the EWC season.
The same consistency cannot be said for SERT, which four hours into the race already had two crashes to its name. The first crash was with Anthony Delhalle, who was followed shortly after into the gravel by Vincent Philippe, who while being stretchered off the course, jumped out of the medics’ stretcher and refused to get in the ambulance. Ten hours later, SERT would be back in the podium hunt, and later would finish with a third-place result.
BMW Motorrad France Team Thevent also crashed twice, but couldn’t recover from the setbacks, leaving Sébastien Gimbert, Sylvain Barrier, and Karl Muggeridge had to throw in the towel at dusk.
Another impressive performance was put in by Yamaha France GMT94, who looked to be in the hunt for a podium as well. However, an electrical issue towards the end of the race saw the team slip back and fall out of contention — an unjust result for riders David Checa, Kenny Foray, and Matthieu Lagrive.
The Honda TT Legends squad also retired with a mechanical issue, 18-hours into the race. Sitting in fourth place throughout most of the Bol d’Or, Dunlop came into the pits with a bad heat exchanger. Fixing the machine, McGuinness then went out, but the damage had been done to the motor, and the bike had to retire.
Interestingly enough, Michael Rutter’s last-minute team change to the National Motos squad put The Blade on the top-placing Honda entry at the finish. Rutter was replaced in the Honda TT Legends squad by Michael Dunlop, after Dunlop set the fastest lap for the team in qualifying and worries in the team about Rutter’s injured leg making the race-distance abounded.
In the Superstock class, local man Jason Pridmore rode the Penz13.com Franks Autowelt BMW S1000RR, along with co-riders Pedro Vallcaneras and Steve Mercer, to a second place finish. Only 20 laps back from SRC Kawasaki at the end of the 24 hours, and 6th place overall, Pridmore and crew finished on the same lap as the first-place Superstock team, Junior Team Suzuki LMS, making it a tight race in the SST class.
Race Results for the 2013 Bol d’Or 24 Hours at Magny-Cours, France:
|1||Team Kawasaki SRC||Kawasaki||Leblanc/Baz/Guarnoni||808 Laps||EWC|
|2||Monster Energy Yamaha YART||Yamaha||Jerman/Parkes/Morais||-9 Laps||EWC|
|3||Suzuki Endurance Racing Team||Suzuki||Philippe/Delhalle/Da Costa||-11 Laps||EWC|
|4||Yamaha France GMT94 Michelin||Yamaha||Checa/Foray/Lagrive||-15 Laps||EWC|
|5||Junior Team Suzuki LMS||Suzuki||Guittet/Masson/Chevaux||-20 Laps||SST|
|6||Penz13.com Franks Autowelt||BMW||Vallcaneras/Pridmore/Mercer||-20 Laps||SST|
|7||Team R2CL||Suzuki||Giabbani/Dietrich/Buisson||-23 Laps||EWC|
|8||National Motos||Honda||Junod/Rutter/Four||-24 Laps||EWC|
|9||Team Motors Events||Suzuki||Fastre/Lucas/Savary||-25 Laps||SST|
|10||Starteam Pam Racing||Suzuki||Prulhiere/Maurin/Longearet||-26 Laps||SST|
|11||AM Moto Racing Competition||Suzuki||Loiseau/Maitre/Hardt||-29 Laps||SST|
|12||Metiss JLC Moto||Metiss||Michel/Huvier/Cheron||-32 Laps||Open|
|13||Atomic Motosport||Suzuki||Tangre/Jond/Camus||-33 Laps||SST|
|14||Yamaha Viltais Experience||Yamaha||Bardet/Besnard/Berthome||-39 Laps||SST|
|15||Maco Racing Team||Yamaha||Bouan/Cummins/Roccoli||-39 Laps||EWC|
|16||RAC 41 Yamaha||Yamaha||Charpin/Praud/Depoorter||-41 Laps||EWC|
|17||Bolliger Team Switzerland||Kawasaki||Saiger/Mita/Wildisen||-42 Laps||EWC|
|18||Racing Team Sarazin||Kawasaki||Guerouah/Kokes/Major||-52 Laps||SST|
|19||No Limits Motor Team||Suzuki||Casas/Boscoscuro/Rosso||-56 Laps||SST|
|20||Team Louit Moto 33||Kawasaki||Marino/Savadori/Jonchiere||-58 Laps||SST|
|21||Team FMA Assurances||Honda||Black/Kerkhoven/Fissette||-60 Laps||EWC|
|22||Team Space Moto 37||Suzuki||Nouvellon/Deneque/Roche/||-63 Laps||EWC|
|23||AZ Motos||Suzuki||Mezard/Boue/Dupuy||-65 Laps||SST|
|24||3D Endurance Moto Center||Kawasaki||Salchaud/Egea/Holub||-71 Laps||SST|
|25||SPE Samurai||Suzuki||Teramoto/Fujishima/Piccolo||-74 Laps||EWC|
|26||Team 2CP Racing||Suzuki||Gelas/Descours/Petitjean||-78 Laps||SST|
|27||ACR 74||Suzuki||Huguenin/Vial/Grippi||-79 Laps||SST|
|28||DL Moto Racing||Kawasaki||Morin/Thuillier/Saive||-80 Laps||SST|
|29||PL Performances||Suzuki||Lepand/Delanoe/Blanchet||-84 Laps||SST|
|30||BMRT Moustic Moto Expert 58||Kawasaki||Mange/Elbachir/Burlin||-89 Laps||SST|
|31||Acro Racing Team||Yamaha||Jean/Grimber/Lucas||-93 Laps||SST|
|32||Team Racing + Ouifm||Kawasaki||Dubarle/Tabaries/Vigneau||-94 Laps||SST|
|34||Dunlop Motors Events||Suzuki||Cholvin/Richert/Putin||-106 Laps||SST|
|35||TMS Racing||Honda||Farlet/Herniques/Majastre||-107 Laps||SST|
|36||JCB YDCG Racing||Kawasaki||Cahagnet/Deneque/Marle||-120 Laps||SST|
|37||Scuderia Deux Roues||Ducati||Francois/Ancelin/Teissier||-164 Laps||Open|
|38||BI-Meca Racing Team||Kawasaki||Feuillee/Morat/Durant||-165 Laps||SST|
|39||Racing Team 87||Yamaha||Hamard/Viaud/Taillandier||-174 Laps||SST|
|40||Flembbo Leader Team||Kawasaki||Demarey/Prosenik/Ortiz||-188 Laps||EWC|