Le Mans 24H Moto: Race Blog
Posted: 21st April 2018
FCC TSR Honda France win Le Mans 24H Moto – Honda Endurance 111 second, Wepol Penz BMW third, Bolliger Kawasaki fourth, SRC Kawasaki fifth – 3ART win Superstock class...FCC TSR Honda France - Le Mans 24H Moto winners
The 41st running of the Le Mans 24 Hour Moto has been won by FCC TSR Honda, after Yamaha GMT94 crashed out of first place around breakfast time this morning. Second place went to another Honda, the No.111 Honda Endurance machine; this is the first time that Honda have finished in first and second place at Le Mans since 1986, and the company's first win here since 2006.
Wepol Penz BMW finished third with an all-British rider line-up that fought back from difficulties to close to within 45 seconds of Honda Endurance in the final hour. Endurance stalwarts Bolliger Kawasaki finished fourth, in front of early favourites SRC Kawasaki. Yamaha GMT94 eventually came home in 10th place overall, seventh in class, after a series of setbacks this morning.
GMT94 did, however, take the maximum bonus points for leading at the 8 and 16 hour marks. We think this will leave them just four points behind FCC TSR in the standings, but will await official confirmation...
3ART won the Superstock class after finishing in sixth place overall, ahed of Moto Ain and LMS72.
Forty teams were still running at the finish, out of an original field of sixty machines. The hot weather has made this a gruelling and high-pressure race for everyone, and our congratulations go to all those who finished.
2 Hours To Go
Positions settling down – FCC TSR Honda France, Honda Endurance, Penz BMW, Bolliger Kawasaki – SRC Kawasaki – GMT94 up to 10th overall, 7th in class...Honda Endurance - second place at the moment
With two hours to go the leading teams seem to have settled into their positions. FCC TSR Honda are looking comfortable with a two lap lead over Honda Endurance, who are two laps clear of third placed Wepol Penz BMW. Endurance Stalwarts Bolliger Kawasaki are fourth a further two lpas down.
Championship leaders GMT94 are holding onto tenth place overall, despite the best efforts of some of their riders; we are told the bike's frame might be slightly bent but they are still lapping at a competitive pace.Penz BMW - third place at the moment
5 Hours To Go
Top Three: FCC TSR Honda France, Honda Endurance 111, Wepol Penz BMW – GMT94 crashed out of the lead – SERT problems in the night – 3Art now leading STK – TTS Excent leading EXP ...FCC TSR Honda France (photo taken during warm-up)
Drama in the last hour as Yamaha GMT94 crashed out of the first place they have held for much of the race, losing 17 laps but only dropping to 9th place overall and 6th in class.
SERT Suzuki also appear to have had problems in the night, and are currently in 24th place overall.
Race leaders FCC TSR Honda France are three laps clear of second placed Honda Endurance 111, who just half a lap ahead of third place Wepol Penz BMW.
Bolliger Kawasaki are fourth top STK team 3Art are fifth, MotoAin are sixth, SRC Kawasaki are seventh, LMS72 eighth, GMT94 ninth and Mercury Racing BMW are tenth.
Confirmed retirements include Tecmas BMW, Metiss, Maco Moto, NRT48 and YART Yamaha, amongst others.
Hour 7 - 17 To Go
GMT94 lead by one lap from FCC TSR, SERT and Tecmas BMW - Game over for YART – Bolliger and Maco in top ten – Penz BMW up to 8th – 333 minor crash, LMS72 lead STK...
Amandine Creusot rejoins the race for Girls Racing Team
Night has fallen and YART are out. Igor Jerman: “We're too far behind – 40 laps – the bike has a problem with the chain and Marvin is not 100%, so...”. Yamaha GMT94 are now one lap in the lead, just ahead of FCC TSR Honda France, SERT Suzuki and Tecmas BMW; it's still very close with 17 hours of racing still to go.
Bolliger Kawasaki and Maco Moto Yamaha are comfortably in the top ten, with Penz BMW continuing to cut through the field; they are now up to 8th place.
Viltais Yamaha have just pitted to repair what looked like minor crash damage, hading the Superstock lead to LMS72 Suzuki.
Refuelling for Metisse
At least it's downhill
More updates tomorrow...
Hour 5 - 19 To Go
Massive crash for YART drops them way down the field, rider ok – Safety cars out again – GMT94 ten seconds ahead of SERT – FCC TSR 20 seconds behind – Tecmas BMW, Mercury BMW round out top five...
A massive crash for YART Yamaha's Marvin Fritz has dropped the team from first place to 45th and falling. Fritz crashed on fastest corner on the track, turn 1, and the bike was so badly damaged it needed recovering to the pits using the new truck system. The team are now feverishly working to repair it; Fritz is largely unhurt.
Pitstop for leaders GMT94
GMT94 have taken the lead, but at the top of the hour were just ten seconds ahead of SERT Suzuki, with FCC TSR Honda France close behind.
Pitstop for Wepol Penz BMW; Danny Webb rejoins the race
The race is still wide open, as proven by Penz BMW's climb back to tenth place over the last few hours. The team crashed early in the race, pitted to replace a damaged rearset and then rejoined, only to have a clip-on handlebar fail as a result of accident damage.
Frantic repairs for YART
Hour 3 - 21 To Go
GMT94, YART, FCC TSR, SERT, Tecmas BMW – Top 7 on same lap – Top 2 on same second – Yamaha Viltais top STK - Rain threatening but not arriving – Honda Endurance electrical problem?...
The two leading machines were just fractions of a second apart after three hours, and have just pitted at the same time for fuel and tyres. GMT94 have come out in front but with another six teams on the same lap the race is still incredibly close. Yamaha Viltais are the leading STK team ahed of LMS72 and Moto Ain.
Slicks for SERT
The skies have been looking threatening and although there have been very localised showers nearby the track remoains hot and grippy; teams briefly brought out full wets ready to fit them if conditions changed but for now the track remains dry and lap times remain fast.
Honda Endurance have suffered a mystery electrical problem and are now in 18th place. Penz BMW have worked their way back to 22nd after a series of setbacks, and NRT48 BMW are in 54th place but lapping well.
Wojcik Racing Yamaha push in
Hour 1 - 23 To Go
SRC Kawasaki crash out of lead – GMT94 Yamaha lead at end of first hour – Safety car has already been out for 10 minutes – Only 23 hours to go...
SRC Kawasaki and NRT48 BMW made a great start, with YART Yamaha failing to capitalise on their pole position. After the first lap SRC led, from NRT48, SERT, FCC TSR, Honda Endurance, Tecmas BMW and GMT94. SRC and NRT48 settled into an epic battle, with the BMW taking the lead on lap 4 but SRC fighting back while FCC TSR closed in on the leading pair.
Laverty on the Penz BMW ran off the track on lpa 8, dropping from 8th to 30th place; he would make up all that loss before pitting at the end of the first hour.
The safety cars were brought out after approximately 32 minuntes, neutralising the race for ten minutes after No.41 crashed at Raccordement. When the race restarted SRC took the lead again, with GMT94 mving to second on lap 27 and NRT48 being the first of the leaders to pit after 54 minutes.
At the end of the first hour, but during the first round of pitstops, the race was led by SRC Kawasaki, from GMT94 Yamaha. YART Yamaha. Honda Endurance. Penz BMW and Maco Moto Yamaha.
Stop Press: After pitting the SRC Kawasaki crashed at turn 11, dropping out of the running after losing the front tyre.
Follow the latest Text Updates from the circuit here: https://www.lemans.org/fr/race-event/faits-course-moto/195
Attempts to reduce the number of tourists on the starting grid proved very successful
Words, Photos: Martin Gelder