With thunderstorms and more heavy rain forecast during the night Race Direction, after consultation with the Team Managers, decided to suspend the race until 0600 the following morning, when weather conditions were predicted to improve.
The Bol d’Or then resumed on a still-damp track with the riders going out behind the safety cars in the same order as the lap before the red flag was raised to suspend the race.
F.C.C. TSR Honda France restarted in the lead ahead of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, YART Yamaha, Webike SRC Kawasaki France, Wójcik Racing Team and Tecmas BMW GMC.
Loris Baz, stand-in rider at the Bol d’Or for YART Yamaha regular, Broc Parkes, was riding his second consecutive stint aboard the YART Yamaha YZF-R1, and had just reclaimed the race lead after a pit stop when the FCC TSR Honda ridden by Mike Di Meglio suffered an engine failure and dropped oil throughout the 180 degree Le Beausset corner.
Erwan Nigon, running third aboard the SRC Kawasaki, was the first to go down on the oil closely followed by Baz, whose bike then collided with the Kawasaki. Both bikes caught fire and were almost completely destroyed before marshals managed to extinguish the flames. Fortunately, both the riders and the marshals walked away uninjured.
After dominating qualifying for the 83rd edition of the Bol d’Or at Circuit Paul Ricard YART saw their aspirations for victory go up in flames.
Loris Baz – YART Yamaha EWC
“I’m frustrated and incredibly disappointed, as you can imagine, but also relieved that the crash wasn’t more serious for Erwan, because my bike hit him and his bike so hard and then they both caught fire with him still next to them. It’s the scariest crash I’ve ever been involved in and I think they could have been a bit quicker with the safety car. It was impossible to see the oil because there were still many parts of the track that were wet and the first I knew about it was when I lost the front. To finish like this is a real shame, as the whole team has done a fantastic job, my two teammates have been so strong on the bike from the start and we had a really good pace, not just in qualifying but also in the race. The restart this morning was tough. Riding through the night is one thing, but having to sleep, get up at four in the morning and then jump on the bike at six for two stints like Niccolò did is not so easy. My first stint on slicks was good and I took a lot of time out of the FCC TSR Honda to take the lead and then pull away. Marvin was ready to take over, but I decided to double stint as I had a good feel for the track conditions, which were still quite tricky. Everything was going really well and then… I’m really sad for the team, because we were so strong, and we should have won here today.”
Surviving the trials and tribulations of a 24-Hour race…
Lasting until the end it was Suzuki Endurance Racing Team that tasted victory once again, crossing the finish line of the Bol d’Or one lap ahead of the Yamaha-mounted Polish squad Wójcik Racing Team, who had led the race for some time before being overhauled by Etienne Masson 19 hours in to the race.
Germany’s BMW-mounted Team ERC Endurance joined them on the podium, only to hours later then have their result declared null and void after post-race scrutineering and the FIM jury demoted Team ERC Endurance for non-compliance with the rule regarding fuel tank capacity.
Thus the ERC Endurance team had to cede their place on the podium to the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, who were making their FIM EWC debut at the Bol d’Or.
17th Bol d’Or win for SERT
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team won the Bol d’Or for the 17th time with riders Vincent Philippe (for whom this is both his 9th Bol d’Or win and his last time competing in the race), Etienne Masson and Gregg Black.
The factory-backed Suzuki once again tasting victory – their first in the World Championship since their 2016 Bol d’Or win with Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Etienne Masson.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team
“I was focused on the last stint and I really appreciated that Damien allowed me to finish the race. I want to thank the new SERT for their hard work and constant improvement day after day. But I won’t forget the former team without whom we wouldn’t be here.”
“It wasn’t easy to go back on track this morning, but the bike was working well, and we quickly found the right pace. This race was very special because it was the last Bol d’Or with Vincent. We experienced very strong emotions working together and I am really happy to end this story with a victory.”
“It was a very strange race. The track was very tricky, and the race direction took the right decision for the riders’ safety. We were very consistent all through the race. The team worked really well, and I want to thank them all for this victory because it’s my first victory in a 24-hour race.”
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team started the 2019-2020 FIM EWC at the top of the standings with 49 points and finished ahead of a somewhat unexpected challenger – Wójcik Racing Team.
The Polish Yamaha team led throughout the early stages of the race in the rain with riders Gino Rea, Christoffer Bergman and Axel Maurin, and subsequently held back their rivals.
The fratricidal duel that unfolded between two BMWs in the final stages of the race, with Team ERC Endurance (Mathieu Gines, Julien da Costa and Louis Rossi) facing off against BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team (Ilya Mikhalchik, Julian Puffe and Kenny Foray). In the end, Team ERC Endurance took the chequered flag with a 4-second lead on the factory BMW squad, but were then demoted for fuel tank size irregularities.
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“It was a turbulent opening race with a very good result. There has never been a Bol d‘Or like it. On one hand, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team faced an additional challenge since we did not to find a good rain set-up for the chassis and electronics in the run-up. Ilya also had his first ever experience of Dunlop rain tyres in the race. In this respect, the interruption suited us. On the other hand, as a totally new project it might have benefitted us that the team and bike weren’t subjected to the usual pressures of a full 24-hour distance. But overall, it has to be said that with our speed, the pit stops, the team performance and also in terms of fuel consumption, we were on track. That shows that we have developed a super basis in the short time available. Yes, we were gifted a few places by the problems the top teams experienced, but that’s all part of 24-hour races. Toward the end of the race, we struggled with a minor technical problem which cost us the podium by four seconds. It would have been amazing, but to come away with a fourth place is still remarkable. Congratulations to our customer team ERC, who overtook us eight minutes before the end of the race, thereby securing the spot on the podium.” (These quotes were made before ERC was later disqualified, thus the factory BMW Team did in face end up with a podium result.)
Having started from 23rd position, Omega Maco Racing Team (Pawel Szkopek, Bjorn Estment and Karel Hanika) were 5th past the finish line, ahead of VRD Igol Pierret Experiences (Florian Alt, Florian Marino and Ricardo Brink).
Moto Ain ran a near-flawless race to take the Superstock victoruy. The Yamaha-mounted team finished 7th to take the Superstock win, pocketing the 40 points awarded for the victory in this class as well as the 10 points awarded at each of the two intermediate stages of the race, plus 4 bonus points for being the 2nd Superstock on the starting grid.
62,000 spectators turned out to watch the 2019 edition of the Bol d’Or despite the adverse weather conditions.
The next race on the 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship calendar is the 8 Hours of Sepang, a new race to be held in Malaysia on Saturday 14 December as part of a double-header car/motorcycle event featuring the FIM EWC and the FIA WTCR/Oscaro.
|1||Suzuki Endurance Racing Team||24:00:24.254||–|
|2||Wójcik Racing Team||24:02:08.575||1 Lp.|
|3||BMW MOTORRAD WORLD ENDURANCE TEAM||24:00:35.677||2 Lp.|
|4||Omega Maco Racing Team||24:01:09.525||3 Lp.|
|5||VRD IGOL PIERRET EXPERIENCES||24:01:49.935||3 Lp.|
|6||MOTO AIN||24:01:53.631||3 Lp.|
|7||TATI TEAM BEAUJOLAIS RACING||24:02:19.561||3 Lp.|
|8||TECMAS BMW GMC||24:00:51.968||4 Lp.|
|9||BMRT 3D MAXXESS NEVERS||24:01:00.611||4 Lp.|
|10||3ART- MOTO TEAM 95||24:00:45.069||6 Lp.|
|11||National Motos||24:01:42.315||6 Lp.|
|12||MOTORS EVENTS||24:02:09.532||6 Lp.|
|13||Wójcik Racing Team 2||24:01:10.579||8 Lp.|
|14||GERT56 by GS YUASA||24:01:20.346||8 Lp.|
|15||Bolliger Team Switzerland||24:01:50.911||9 Lp.|
|16||MOTOTECH EWC TEAM||24:02:16.514||9 Lp.|
|18||No Limits Motor Team||24:00:51.584||10 Lp.|
|19||AM Moto Racing Competition||24:01:51.420||10 Lp.|
|20||ENERGIE ENDURANCE 91||24:01:37.760||11 Lp.|
|21||Rac 41||24:01:39.554||13 Lp.|
|23||SUZUKI JEG – KAGAYAMA||24:02:19.902||15 Lp.|
|24||JMA MOTOS ACTION BIKE||24:00:56.489||17 Lp.|
|25||Team 33 Coyote Louit Moto||24:01:42.055||19 Lp.|
|26||Junior Team LMS Suzuki||24:01:25.944||20 Lp.|
|27||Zuff Racing Honda SwissTeam||24:01:27.785||22 Lp.|
|28||GIRLS RACING TEAM||24:02:11.495||22 Lp.|
|29||Dunlop Motors Events||24:00:40.849||23 Lp.|
|30||Team LRP Poland||24:01:46.479||23 Lp.|
|31||FSB MATT RACING||24:00:32.067||25 Lp.|
|32||Bertl K. Racing Team||24:02:16.398||25 Lp.|
|33||PITLANE ENDURANCE||24:01:24.767||26 Lp.|
|34||TEAM 202||24:00:41.200||27 Lp.|
|36||Pecable Racing Team||24:02:03.678||28 Lp.|
|37||LCR ENDURANCE||24:02:04.503||32 Lp.|
|38||Falcon Racing Rennes Motos||24:01:24.882||33 Lp.|
|41||TRT27 BAZAR 2 LA BECANE||24:01:55.584||42 Lp.|
|42||British Endurance Racing Team||24:00:55.538||48 Lp.|
|44||SEIGNEUR MOTORSPORT RACING||24:00:57.237||78 Lp.|
|45||Space Moto 37||20:37:19.191||132 Lp.|
|46||F.C.C. TSR Honda France||18:09:19.174||169 Lp.|
|47||YART – YAMAHA||18:00:45.999||170 Lp.|
|48||WEBIKE SRC KAWASAKI FRANCE||18:00:04.488||172 Lp.|
|49||Team Aviobike||18:01:24.258||181 Lp.|
|50||HRT 100 – Hertrampf Racing Endurance||17:49:36.150||184 Lp.|
|52||KAWASAKI CATALA ACLAM||17:37:15.013||189 Lp.|
|53||Team FLAM Racing / InfiniTeamMoto||17:29:48.415||195 Lp.|
|54||Motobox Kremer Racing #65||02:38:39.676||262 Lp.|
|55||OG MOTORSPORT BY SARAZIN||00:48:00.386||292 Lp.|
|56||Team ERC Endurance||24:00:31.399||2 Lp.|
2019-20 FIM EWC Championship Points Standings
|Pos||Team / Equipe||Bike||Total|
|1||Suzuki Endurance Racing Team||Suzuki||60|
|2||Wójcik Racing Team||Yamaha||48|
|3||BMW MOTORRAD WORLD ENDURANCE TEAM||BMW||42|
|4||Omega Maco Racing Team||Yamaha||30|
|5||VRD IGOL PIERRET EXPERIENCES||Yamaha||29|
|6||TECMAS BMW GMC||BMW||26|
|7||TATI TEAM BEAUJOLAIS RACING||Kawasaki||24|
|8||3ART- MOTO TEAM 95||Yamaha||20|
|10||F.C.C. TSR Honda France||Honda||13|
|11||YART – YAMAHA||Yamaha||13|
|12||SUZUKI JEG – KAGAYAMA||Suzuki||12|
|13||WEBIKE SRC KAWASAKI FRANCE||Kawasaki||11|
|14||Bolliger Team Switzerland||Kawasaki||11|
|15||MOTOTECH EWC TEAM||Yamaha||11|
|16||Zuff Racing Honda Swiss Team||Honda||8|
|17||Team LRP Poland||BMW||7|
|18||FSB MATT RACING||Yamaha||6|
|19||Bertl K. Racing Team||BMW||5|
|21||British Endurance Racing Team||Suzuki||3|