Why is the 8-Hour is so spe­cial?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

The Suzuki 8-Hour may be part of the World En­durance Cham­pi­onship but it is far more than just an­other round.

The big four Ja­panese man­u­fac­tur­ers have a lot of pride and pres­tige at stake, given that they have al­ways run pro­duc­tion­based ma­chines at the 8-Hour, which first started in 1978 un­der semi-pro­duc­tion TT- F1 rules - 10 years be­fore the road­bike-based WSB se­ries be­came a re­al­ity.

The 8-Hour used to be a full fac­tory af­fair, with truly top GP and WSB riders such as Graeme Crosby, Fred Merkel, Mike Bald­win, Wayne Gard­ner, Kevin Magee, Martin Wim­mer, Do­minique Sar­ron, Wayne Rainey, Ed­die Law­son, Mick Doohan, Daryl Beattie, Aaron Slight, Doug Polen, Ta­dayuki Okada, Colin Ed­wards, Noriyuki Haga, Tohru Ukawa, Shinichi Itoh, Alex Bar­ros, Dai­jiro Kato - and even Valentino Rossi - hav­ing won it.

With an up­turn in the of­fi­cial en­tries in re­cent years, the 8-Hour may not be quite back to the era when Mo­togp cham­pi­ons had it writ­ten into their con­tracts by their Ja­panese em­ploy­ers, but it has been head­ing back to­ward the global big time in re­cent sea­sons.

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