News 18 Sep 2017

GMT94 Yamaha race to victory at France's EWC season-opener

Australian Hook and F.C.C. TSR Honda finish 24-hour event in sixth.

Source: Supplied.

Reigning champion GMT94 Yamaha has won the Bol d’Or 24-hour in France for the opening round of the 2017/2018 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC).

GMT94 Yamaha combined the bonus points awarded at the 8- and 16-hour mark with the 40 points allocated to the race winner, zooming to the top of the 2017-2018 FIM EWC standings.

GMT94 Yamaha’s riders David Checa, Niccolo Canepa and Mike Di Meglio were in the lead practically throughout, and finished nine laps ahead of the competition despite running out of fuel at one point.

Wepol BMW Motorrad Team by Penz13 got on the second step of the podium after an epic race. Having dropped to the bottom of the standings after a problematic refuelling stop, Markus Reiterberger, Alessandro Polita and Danny Webb climbed back up at speed to ease into the top five.

Honda Endurance Racing had to fight hard to score third spot on the podium at the tail end of the race, as electronic issues and a faulty alternator had slowed down Gregory Leblanc, Sebastien Gimbert and Yonny Hernandez.

Volpker NRT48 Schubert Motors by ERC, the team comprising Lucy Glockner, Stefan Kerschbaumer and Jan Buhn finished fourth, missing the podium by the narrowest of margins. IV Racing BMW CSEU, who consisted of riders Karel Hanika, Fabrizio Lai and Julian Mayer, concluded the top five in fifth.

F.C.C. TSR Honda started from third on the grid and wrested the lead from GMT Yamaha on Sunday morning, but at around 11:00am, a crash dashed the hopes of victory of the Japanese team backed by Bridgestone. Australian Josh Hook and teammates Alan Techer and Freddy Foray finished in sixth.

Suzuki Endurance Racing Team was back in top form on the new GSX-R 1000, however, this being the machine’s debut run in a 24-hour race, several mechanical and electronic issues cropped up, ultimately seeing them conclude the event in seventh.

The fastest Superstock squad Tati Team Beaujolais Racing picked up a superb eight place result, with riders Julien Enjolras, Julien Pilot and Kevin Denis running a flawless race.

Ninth past the finish line was Team 33 Accessoires Louit Moto (Kawasaki) three laps behind Tati Team Beaujolais Racing. After a smooth climb back up into the top 10, Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki was the third Superstock outfit over the line.

Aussie Damian Cudlin’s National Motos squad finished in 27th position, as countryman Broc Parkes and the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team bowed out the event after teammate Kohta Nozane crashed at approximately the 9:00pm mark, resulting in a costly start to the series for the championship contenders.

The Endurance World Championship will now to head to yet another 24-hour race at the Bugatti circuit in France, on 21-22 April 2018.