Suzuki romp to Bol d’or glory
The reigning Endurance World Champions, Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT), have romped to success in the first round of the new and reshuffled 2016/2017 season by taking a dominant win at the Bol d’or 24-hour race.
Proving that there’s life – and reliability – in the old GSX-R1000 yet, the all-french trio of Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Etienne Masson led all but four laps of the 687 laps they completed of the Paul Ricard circuit to take victory over the SRC Kawasaki squad.
And while many of their opposition dropped out of the chase through crashes and mechanical problems, the Suzuki team never faltered, making the most of their experience with the GSX-R1000 that has taken them to 15 world titles in the past with the bike.
The win also gave the team maximum points under the EWC’S scoring system of awarding a propotion of points at the half-way point, meaning they now hold 60 points in the championship – a huge margin when many of their main rivals failed to finish.
The race also gave former Motogp podium finisher Randy de Puniet his first taste of endurance racing success, with the Frenchman joining Gregory Leblanc and Fabien Foret in runner-up spot on the SRC Kawasaki.
And Kawasaki enjoyed double podium success, with EWC newcomers Trick Star Racing in third place. One of the stalwarts of the Suzuka 8-Hour, the race marks the team’s first venture into Europe, following in the footsteps of multiple-8 Hour winners FCC TSR Honda, who finished fifth behind Maco Racing Yamaha.
Both the Yamaha Austria squad and the Lincolnshire-based Honda Racing team of Julian Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sebastian Gimbert failed to finish the race, with the teams succumbing to what is almost becoming traditional engine and gearbox problems respectively.
24-hour success for Suzuki at the Bol d’or