Kawasaki Deals Suzuki an Upset at the 76th Bol d’Or

04/16/2012 @ 4:40 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

With the weather changing almost constantly during the weekend’s race and close to freezing at night, the 76th annual Bol d’Or proved to be both an exciting and grueling race that saw teams changing to wets, slicks, and cut-slicks almost constantly in the pit stops. Racing for 24 hours, the SRC Kawasaki Team did the unthinkable, and beat the heavily favored Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) in this year’s Bol d’Or endurance race. Losing most of its time in the pits, SERT had to contend with a crash in the fourth hour of the Bol d’Or, which sent lead-rider Vincent Philippe home early with a broken collarbone.

Completing the remaining 20 hours of the race with only two riders, SERT was able to close the gap to SRC Kawasaki in the final hours of the contest to only 60 seconds, but after several more pit stops the team would have to settle for finishing just on the same lap as the Kawasaki squad, as they slowed their pace to ensure victory. While one could make the argument that SERT lost the race instead of SRC Kawasaki winning it, riding a flawless and careful 24 hours is a part of the winning strategy in the FIM World Endurance Championship. Kudos to the SRC Kawasaki Team.

Also playing the hare to Kawasaki’s tortoise was the Honda TT Legends crew, which also suffered a crash on Sunday morning. Losing the front-end of the Honda TT Legends CBR1000RR at high-speeds, Cameron Donald had to push the battered CBR back to the team’s pits, where after a 20 minute pit stop the Honda TT Legends crew was able to get back to racing with John McGuinness at the helm. The quick rebuild allowed the Honda TT Legends to salvage ninth place overall, and sixth place in the WEC standings.

“Not the result we came for but it was one of our strongest rides yet,” said Honda TT Legends Rider John McGuinness. “We were holding fifth and looking good in very difficult conditions. It was a gruelling race with temperatures as low as 2 or 3 degrees through the night. I got caught up in some of the bad weather and had to pit for tyres changes which meant I then had to do double stints with 50 or 60 laps at a time and that is hard work.

“After Cameron slipping off at probably 150mph and the bike cart wheeling its way though the gravel, luckily Cam was alright and the team did amazing job at getting the bike back out there,” continued McGuinness. “We wanted to be a bit further up but at least we’ve picked up some world championship points.”

Finishing third was the Monster Yamaha YART squad, while the Yamaha France backed Yamaha GMT94 Michelin Yamalube finished a close fourth to its Austrian factory rival. With the Yamalube Folch Endurance team finishing fifth, Yamaha accounted for three of the top-five positions.

Race Results from the 76th Bol d’Or 24 Hours at Magny-Cours, France:

1Team Kawasaki SRCKawasakiDa Costa/Leblanc/FourWEC781 laps

2Suzuki Endurance Racing TeamSuzukiPhilippe/Delhalle/ForetWEC+ 1’41.055
3Monster Yamaha YARTYamahaJerman/Martin/GiabbaniWEC5 laps
4Yamaha GMT94 Michelin YamalubeYamahaCheca/Foray/LagriveWEC5 laps
5Yamalube Folch EnduranceYamahaRibalta/Dos Santos/TizonWEC16 laps
63D Endurance Moto CenterKawasakiDebise/Delegue/HolubSST31 laps
7Penz13 Kraftwerk HerpignyBMWBuisson/Fastre/VallcanerasSST32 laps
8Starteam 67SuzukiLucas/Hardt/DiguetSST33 laps
9Honda TT LegendsHondaDonald/McGuinness/AndrewsWEC34 laps
10DG Sport HerockYamahaVan Keymeulen/Cudlin/VizzielloSST40 laps
11Atomic MotorsportSuzukiMuteau/JondSST44 laps
12Team 18 Sapeurs PompiersBMWMolinier/Prulhiere/BriereWEC45 laps
13Racing Team SarazinKawasakiGerouah/Kokes/BernonSST46 laps
14Louit Moto 33KawasakiBaz/Guarnoni/ChevauxSST49 laps
15Dunlop Motors EventsSuzukiCharpin/Maccio/WolfWEC51 laps
16Team R2CLSuzukiCapela/Dumain/CheronWEC54 laps
17SH Technologie ScrubsBMWPouhair/Teramoto/DemareyWEC59 laps
18Moto AIN Racing TeamYamahaHaquin/Mizera/VarescoSST63 laps
19MCS Racing IponeSuzukiDevoyon/Bellucci/SasetaSST70 laps
20National MotosHondaMonge/Bocquet/MassonWEC77 laps
21Space MotoSuzukiNouvellon/Deneque/GallerandWEC81 laps
22Aprilia Le Mans 2 RouesApriliaBoue/Parisse/Le RoyerSST91 laps
23Viltais Racing DivisionYamahaBardet/Besnard/BerthomeSST91 laps
24Motors Events AMT AssurancesSuzukiSavary/Dietrich/MoreiraSST98 laps
25Leman RacingBMWVillarroya/Monnot/VinetWEC106 laps
26BI-Meca Racing TeamKawasakiFeuillee/Pons/BergeronSST109 laps
2724 Racing + Lesmotard.comBMWDelage/Romanens/BrunoSST111 laps
28Max et Yann Racing TeamSuzukiThepaut/Cury/LanielWEC113 laps
29Motos Actives Sport 14SuzukiPigeon/Pigeon/RocheSST115 laps
30Acro Racing TeamYamahaJean/Grimber/LucasSST116 laps
31Team Racing 85KawasakiGaugfreteau/Landreau/PerrinSST126 laps
32AZ Moto ExpertSuzukiMezard/Mau/NavarreteSST133 laps
33Flembbo Dijamant SerbiaKawasakiBosio/Cersosimo/DehayeWEC133 laps
34Team Racing+ Oui FMHondaDubarle/Tabaries/De SousaSST135 laps
35Team ACR 74SuzukiHuguenin/Schertenleib/PetitjeanSST144 laps
36YD Racgin CG MotosKawasakiThouzet/Deneque/BelmommeSST157 laps
37Ecurie Chrono SportKawasakiHerveux/Pibolleau/SeguraSST179 laps

Source: Bol d’Or; Photo: SERT

  • Jake

    “Suzuki Endurance Racing Team’s legacy of FIM World Endurance Championship domination remains intact, which lead SERT Team Principal to say, “I don’t understand what the competition is doing!” during the press debrief.”

    Karma has a way of knocking you down a peg when you make those kinds of proclamations.

  • @Jake: Indeed. :)