Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy awarded to Damien Saulnier
Damien Saulnier, the new team manager of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team – the winners of the 2019 Bol d’Or – was awarded the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy in recognition of his combativeness.
Damien Saulnier’s acceptance of the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy after the finish of the Bol d’Or was an emotionally charged moment. François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the FIM EWC promoter, handed the trophy – a symbol of true grit and sporting spirit – to Suzuki Endurance Racing Team’s new team manager, who took over the helm of the squad with 15 world titles this summer.
The Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy has special meaning for both Damien Saulnier and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, who tasted victory anew at the 2019 Bol d’Or with riders Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black. SERT’s last win dated to the 2016 Bol d’Or. The factory Suzuki had won that race with Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Anthony Delhalle.
Before joining Suzuki Endurance Racing Team in 2011, Anthony Delhalle cut his teeth as part of Junior Team LMS Suzuki, managed at the time by Damien Saulnier.
The spirit of the French rider, who passed away in March 2017, remains alive in the FIM Endurance World Championship with the trophy, which rewards an individual or collective feat during the race.
Damien Saulnier recalls their first meeting. “Anthony came to see us in 2005 wanting to ride for Junior. Then, when we were putting together a line-up for the Qatar, I wanted him on board, and they won some championships. I was impressed by his career and his progress. His move to SERT was only to be expected. He was so calm and relaxed in everyday life that we all wondered how he could ride so fast. But his career will forever remain unfinished. And that makes me even prouder to now receive this trophy in his name and in his memory.”