Honda Racing Press Release: After almost 21 hours and over 600 laps, the Honda Racing team and its trio of French riders, Julien Da Costa, Freddy Foray and Sebastien Gimbert, were forced to retire from the Bol d’Or 24-hour today following a mechanical problem in the closing stages. However, in accordance with new regulations, the team leaves the opening round of the 2014 Endurance World Championship with 19 points under its belt. An eventful start to the race in wet conditions caused problems for many teams early on, however Honda Racing held steady in the top 3 well into the night, alongside 13-time EWC champions SERT and Team Yamaha GMT94. Following a crash for Da Costa aboard the Fireblade SP just before midnight, the crew were able to repair the minor damage and return the bike to the track in third place within minutes.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, SERT crashed out of the lead and subsequently withdrew from the race. The Honda Racing team had made up significant time on then-second place contender Kawasaki SRC and was able to secure the top spot, leading the race for the next 6 hours and establishing a 5-lap margin. Unfortunately, with just 3 hours remaining and Gimbert on his penultimate stint, the gearbox sprocket on the bike broke causing irreparable engine damage and Honda Racing was forced to retire from the race. Despite the disappointment, the team leaves France having proven its race leading capability and with 19 valuable championship points to its name 9 and 10 points earned for placing second and first respectively at the 8 and sixteen-hour intervals.
The full standings will be available on completion of the race at 15.00 CEST. The EWC will resume with the legendary Suzuka 8-hour race in Japan in July. Neil Tuxworth – Team Manager: We’re terribly disappointed. I feel so sad for the riders and the team for all the effort they’ve made. It was such a small part that broke, just a gearbox sprocket that damaged the engine and we couldn’t continue. If we’re to take any positives from it it’s that we were the strongest team in the race, we were leading by 5 laps and I’m certain that the team will go on to win some races this year. It’s just very unfortunate that we couldn’t finish the Bol d’Or. We’ve still gained 19-points in the championship so we’re not going away empty handed. We’ll come back fighting next time. Julien Da Costa: This is endurance racing and it is never easy but to go out with so little time left and with such a small problem is frustrating for all the team. We have to look at the positives and we were leading with a good gap and we could have got the win so we just have to wait until next time. Freddy Foray: I heard many riders telling the story of going out in the last hours of the race and now I have this story to tell my children. It is so difficult because the team did such a good job during the race and preparation. It’s hard to lead a 24-hour race and everyone did an excellent job. I tell myself all through the night when my ribs were really painful that I have to do this and we can win, but this is endurance racing. I have to thank everyone in the team. We were unlucky here, but we’ll see you at the next one. Sebastien Gimbert: I know better than anyone the feeling of leading the qualifying, getting the pole and leading the race only to be forced out in the final stage. It is very disappointing for the whole team who have worked so hard, but we proved we can lead the race and we work well together, so we can do it this year. Race Results: 1 SRC Kawasaki LEBLANC/LAGRIVE/SALCHAUD Kawasaki 2 Yamaha Racing – GMT 94 CHECA/FORAY/GINES/MAHIAS Yamaha 3 Junior Team LMS Suzuki GUITTET/MASSON/BLACK/CAMUS Suzuki 4 Team Bolliger Switzerland SAIGER/STAMM/SUTTER/GARCIA Kawasaki 5 Motors Events April Moto FASTRE/SAVARY/STORRAR Suzuki 6 National Motos TIZON/4/JUNOD/DEBISE Honda 7 Team R2CL JONES/MARTIN/GIABBANI Suzuki 8 Yamaha Viltaïs Experience BARDET/CARRILLO/NIGON… Yamaha 9 METISS JLC MOTO HOLUB/AYER/CHERON/TAUZIEDE Metiss 10 AM Moto Racing Competition LOISEAU/MAITRE/BUISSON Suzuki 11 TMC City Bike TRT 27 AYNIE/BILLEGA/DIARD/HOUDAYER Suzuki 12 BMRT 3D Endurance GUYOT/BURLIN/ROMANENS/MANGE Kawasaki 13 Välpker NRT 48 Schubert STUPPI/TAKADA/NADALET BMW 14 Penz13.com Franks Autowelt PRIDMORE/VALLCANERAS/MACKELS BMW 15 AZ Motos-April NAPOLEONE/MEZARD/DUMAIN/KOKES Suzuki 16 Tati Team Beaujolais Racing ENJOLRAS/CHEVAUX/PRULHIERE… Kawasaki 17 MCS Racing – Ipone SASETA/VIZZIELLO/SANTAMARIA Suzuki 18 Maco Racing Team VAN KEYMEULEN/JERMAN/SZKOPEK… Yamaha 19 No Limits Motor Team BOSCOSCURO/BUSSEI/CASAS/ROSSO Suzuki 20 ACR 74 HUGUENIN/VIAL/GRIPPI/… Suzuki 21 Team Guidon 11 GELAS/DESCOURS/ARNAL Suzuki 22 Flembbo Leader Team PROSENIK/BELLUCCI/DERINE/… Kawasaki 23 Team Space Moto 37 GALLERAND/NOUVELLON/ROCHE/… Suzuki 24 Aprilia Le Mans 2 Roues POLESSO/PARISSE/CHABANY Aprilia 25 MSR LEPAND/DELANOE/CHARLOUX/… Suzuki 26 PlusRace Compétition NAVARRETE/MONIER/JACOBY/BETELLI Suzuki 27 2CP Racing Bourgogne MAJASTRE/CHELI/PETITJEAN/SIMON Kawasaki Retired: 29 Honda Racing DA COSTA/FORAY/GIMBERT/… Honda EWC 30 Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers MAURIN/EGEA/ALARCOS Kawasaki 31 ACRO Racing Team JEAN/GRIMBER/LUCAS Yamaha 32 Racing Team Sarazin MONGE/AUGER/MAJOR Kawasaki 33 Hall Motos 02 TANGRE/HEDELIN/DE CAROLIS/… Kawasaki 34 SERT PHILIPPE/DELHALLE/NIGON/CUDLIN Suzuki 35 Motobox Kremer Racing GAZIELLO/SCHERRER/PAAVILAINEN Suzuki 36 QERT CUDLIN/AL NAIMI/PRINZ/AL SULAITI Kawasaki 37 ECS1 MECENE/GERARD/MACCIO/AUBRY Kawasaki 38 Starteam PAM-Racing LUCAS/HARDT/LONGEARET Suzuki 39 RS Speedbikes Racing ALTENDORFER/BAUER/LA-WE/KOLLAN BMW 40 YART MAXWELL/OLSON/JERMAN Yamaha 41 Team Dunlop Motors Events PEPIN/LOUAULT/HUGOT/DEHAYE Suzuki 42 Team Racing + Oüi FM VIGNEAU/LE COQUEN/DUVIGNEAU/… Kawasaki 43 Traqueur Louit Moto 33 PERRET/MARCHAND/STARING Kawasaki 44 Team JCB Accelaration DUBRAY/MESLET/CAHAGNET/COHEN Kawasaki 45 ECS2 BERCOT/NISHIJIMA/HERVEUX/… Kawasaki 46 Amazone Fire REMY/TAKASUGI/DUPUY Suzuki
Honda Racing: 2014 Endurance World Championship Season Preview:
For more information: Honda Racing