The Suzuki of the Yoshimura-Sert-Motul team flew over the 84th edition of the Bol d’Or moto on Sunday on the Castellet circuit (Var), the famous 24-hour race being completed by only 20 competitors, out of 41 entered.
“I will remember this edition, I found it difficult and terribly long! We all had a hard time, between this rain, the night and the management of the race … it was really complicated, ”recognizes Dominique Saulnier, the boss of Suzuki N.1.
This is the 18th Bol d’Or won by the Japanese brand, after 704 laps of 5.673 km on the Var asphalt, erasing in the process the record held by the official Honda since 2018: 698 laps on the same route.
Behind the top Black-Siméon-Guintoli crew, the Yamaha N.96 of Moto Ain (De Puniet, Mulhauser, Rolfo) takes an unexpected 2nd place for a private team, despite a final heat, an hour and a half before the arrival.
“I’m sorry”, explains the Swiss Robin Mulhauser, “I still don’t know why I fell like that, just downshifting …”
Result: two small laps lost out of six, conceded at the worst moment on the pursuers: the surprising Kawasaki N.24 from the lower category, the Superstock (SST), with the French Anthony Loiseau, Jonathan Hardt and Julien Pilot.
Hecatomb of official motorcycles
These three machines and their crews are survivors at the end of the rainy night which saw the number of withdrawals increase, especially among the favorites and the premier class, EWC.
All official motorcycles have experienced breakdowns (BMW N.37, Yamaha N.7 from YART) or crashes (Ducati ERC Endurance, Kawasaki N.11 and N.4, although the latter started out in very last position). Even the victorious and defending title holder Suzuki N.1 (2019) crashed, but not badly, when the rain started to fall.
The Honda N.5, yet left like a cannonball in the wheel of the Suzuki qualified on pole, even experienced a nightmare: two crashes with its Japanese rider Yuki Takaashi at the start of the race.
The latter tried, as if to be forgiven, an incredible “ascension” under the rain which fell in fine drops from midnight. This attempt was finally cut short by a breakdown when the Franco-Japanese motorbike had returned to 3rd position in its box and its French rider Mike Di Meglio waited, impassive but fully equipped, for the mechanics to repair the mount as the minutes ticked by, making abandonment inexorable.
Most of the non-racing EWCs, the SST provided the show, these bikes being closer to the production models, with tighter performance. But here too breakdowns and crashes hit the regulars in the category: exit the N.18 firefighters, Team 33, 3ART or the National Motorcycles team …
This victory in France allows the Yoshimura-Sert-Motul team to take the lead of the EWC-FIM motorcycle endurance world championship before the last round to be held on October 9 in Most in the Czech Republic, during a race of 8 time.