FIM EWC Endurance World Championship Sat, 25 Mar 2017 08:14:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Alex Cudlin joins SERT Sat, 25 Mar 2017 08:06:44 +0000

Suzuki Endurance Racing Team was shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Anthony Delhalle on 9 March. The squad has now chosen Alex Cudlin to help it go after its 16th FIM EWC title. Alex – the brother of Damian Cudlin, who is competing with F.C.C. TSR Honda – is an experienced rider. He has raced with SERT previously, in 2013, and rode the Team April Moto Motors Events Suzuki last season (the squad placed third in the FIM EWC 2016). Alex Cudlin will be riding the GSX-R 1000 #1 together with Vincent Philippe and Etienne Masson for the remainder of the season.

SERT to use 2016 bike
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team is awaiting a few racing parts to finish preparing its GSX-R 1000, and will therefore be at the start of the 24 Heures Motos on the 2016 model. “We have to make sure we don’t mess up our great start to the season at the Bol d’Or, and keep our points gap to the competition open,” says Dominique Méliand. The team manager of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team has decided to hit the track at the 24 Heures Motos with the GSX-R 2016 – a competitive machine, all said; it won the Bol d’Or last September. It was a tough call for the factory-backed Suzuki team, but also their only option in order to compete for their 16th world title. “The 2017 machine shows a lot of promise performance-wise, but it’s not finished,” says Méliand. “We still haven’t received a few chassis parts that are key for top performance in Formula EWC. The ball is in the Japanese camp.

SERT hopes to run the 2017 version at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben in Germany on 20 May. But the team is targeting a podium place at the 24 Heures Motos, according to Vincent Philippe. “Okay, so we lack the weaponry, but that could play in our favour. Often, at SERT, we’re even stronger when we’re not the favourites.”

Junior Team Le Mans Sud to trial 2017 Suzuki
So we’ll have to watch the performance of Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki – SERT’s satellite team, competing in the Superstock class – to size up the new GSX-R 1000. “It was easier to prepare the machine for our category,” explains team manager Damien Saulnier. “Baptiste Guittet, Robin Camus and Cédric Tangre will get to use the new-generation Suzuki – more powerful, more responsive and a lot livelier, and well matched to the competition. We’ll also be functioning as a kind of test bench for SERT over a 24-hour race.”

Preliminary tests for the 24 Heures Motos are scheduled for 28 and 29 March, followed by free practice for this (second) round of the FIM EWC 2016-2017 on Thursday 13 April.

D-30 before the 24 Heures Motos Thu, 16 Mar 2017 09:00:20 +0000

The 2017 edition has sparked an unprecedented amount of interest. No fewer than 72 teams submitted entries for the 60 spots on the starting grid. It’s the first time since 2010 that this has happened at the 24 Heures Motos.

Of the 60 approved teams, the spotlight will initially be on the factory-backed teams. Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, reigning champion and winner of the Bol d’Or, the first race of the 2016-2017 season, is still coming to grips with the tragic death of one of its riders, Anthony Delhalle. Also, Dominique Méliand’s squad will have to show up on the starting grid with the GSX-R 2016 because of the delayed arrival of parts being developed for the 2017 model. Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki will be in the Superstock line-up on the new GSX-R 1000.

As to Honda, British factory-backed team Honda Endurance Racing is expected to race on the promising new CBR1000RR – like Team April Moto Motors Events, which placed third in the FIM EWC 2016 and has left Suzuki for Honda, and Team National Motos. Team F.C.C. TSR Honda has announced it will be using the 2016 Honda.

Nine manufacturers in the running
Yamaha has lined up two factory-backed teams to chase the win: French team GMT94 Yamaha and YART Yamaha Official EWC Team, which is getting support from Bridgestone in 2017. Privateers running Yamaha bikes also have big ambitions, like Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences and Maco Racing.

The Kawasaki flag will be flown by Team SRC Kawasaki, the 2016 winner of the 24 Heures Motos, and Japanese team Eva Trick Star Racing, not to mention private squads like the seasoned Team Bolliger Switzerland, French teams Tati Team Beaujolais Racing, AM Moto Racing Compétition and Ecurie Chrono Sport, and the German team WSB Endurance, which is making its FIM EWC debut.

Tecmas BMW will represent the German brand together with three private full-season entries: Czech team IV Racing BMW CSEU and two German squads, Völpker NRT48 Schubert Motors and GERT56 HMT by RS Speedbikes.

Other manufacturers on the starting grid will include Metiss JLC Moto in the Experimental category, an Aprilia RSV4 Superstock and, in the Supertwin category, a KTM RC8R and two Ducati Panigale bikes.

Women riders at the start
Girls Racing Team, which got itself noticed with a 23rd-place finish at the Bol d’Or 2016, will be at the 24 Heures Motos too, with American rider Melissa Paris and Frenchwomen Amandine Creusot, Margaux Wanham and Muriel Simorre. Another woman rider – German racer Lucy Glöckner – will be in the saddle of the BMW run by Völpker NRT48 Schubert Motors.

Free practice at the 24 Heures Motos starts on Thursday 13 April from 10am onwards on the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans.

List of the 60 teams approved to take part in testing at the 24 Heures Motos 2017
Standby teams will be approved in case one of these teams drops out before official testing.

National Motos is back Wed, 15 Mar 2017 17:04:01 +0000

One of the most iconic teams of the 24 Heures Motos, National Motos, is back in the race after missing out last season, with its sights set firmly on the podium. The team, run by the well-known Paris region dealership of the same name, will have Endurance old hands Emeric Jonchière and Nicolas Salchaud riding the new CBR1000RR, together with Japanese rider Hikari Okubo. A Moto2 rider, Hikari Okubo is also Jules Cluzel’s teammate in the FIM Supersport world championship this season. He finished 10th at the 2016 Suzuka 8 Hours, riding the Honda Teluru Kohara RT with Damian Cudlin and Kosuke Akiyoshi. With that line-up, National Motos is making no secret of its goal: a podium place.

An enduring saga
Having competed in Endurance since 1971, National Motos is a 24 Heures Motos stalwart. Since it was set up by Pipo Baldit, the National Motos team has missed only two editions of the 24 Heures Motos – in 2001 and 2016. When Pipo passed away in late 2012, his son Stéphane and the National Motos crew continued the challenge launched in the 1970s by the team’s founder: getting into the fray and fighting for a win amid the factory-backed teams.

National Motos has done very well for a private team. The squad won its first podium place at the 1992 24 Heures Motos, finishing third with Guy Bertin, Adrien Morillas and Arnaud de Puniet (MotoGP rider Randy’s father).

Honda National Motos achieved the ultimate feat – an outright win – at the 24 Heures Motos in 2006 with riders Frédéric Protat, Olivier Four and Dani Ribalta.

Next chapter of the story on 16 April.

FIM EWC beckons speed racers Mon, 13 Mar 2017 09:59:44 +0000

Jules Cluzel has given in to the siren call of Endurance. World Supersport vice-champion in 2016, 2014 and 2012 after seven Grand Prix seasons including some nifty feats in Moto2, Jules Cluzel is once again chasing the World Supersport title this year. But that won’t stop him giving Endurance a whirl for the very first time, at the 24 Heures Motos, aboard Team LMD63’s Yamaha Superstock. This team based in Clermont-Ferrand previously got it itself noticed by hiring Olympic pole vaulting champion Renaud Lavillénie to race the 24 Heures Motos in 2013 and 2014. Jules Cluzel will be teaming up with seasoned Endurance riders David Perret and Lucas de Carolis.

MotoGP and World Supersport
Jules Cluzel is the latest name on an ever-longer list of MotoGP riders attracted to Endurance racing. Back in November, GMT94 Yamaha announced the arrival of GP125 world champion Mike Di Meglio to replace Lucas Mahias – hired by factory team GRT Yamaha in World Supersport, where he is already making waves. Mike Di Meglio will be riding with David Checa and Niccolò Canepa.

Randy de Puniet will be on the starting grid again this year with Team SRC Kawasaki after his first outing on the factory-backed Kawasaki, which placed second at the 2016 Bol d’Or. The French MotoGP rider will once again team up with World Supersport champion Fabien Foret, a long-time convert to Endurance. Mathieu Gines will complete Team SRC.

The line-up at the start of the 24 Heures Motos – the second round of the FIM EWC 2016-2017 – will also include Alexis Masbou, former Moto3 rider and Superstock winner of the last Bol d’Or with Team Moto Ain. He will once again be riding alongside Hugo Clere. Moto Ain will also be hiring Swiss rider Robin Mulhauser, who previously rode in Moto2 and is racing the FIM Supersport world championship this season.

Tribute to Anthony Delhalle Thu, 09 Mar 2017 14:11:53 +0000

Anthony fell during this first practice session at the end of the pit straight line on the Nogaro circuit in southwestern France. The SERT team was participating in two days of testing to prepare the 24 Heures Motos. Immediately rescued by the medical service, Anthony did not survive his injuries. " Anthony came out straight, without reason or loss of grip, said Vincent Philippe, his teammate since 2011. It's incredible and inexplicable. I feel like a part of me has gone”.

Married, with two children, Anthony had just celebrated his 35th birthday last January.

After his first race in 1999, Anthony joined the Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki in 2006 before riding for the QERT, QMMF team, Motorcyclist Federation of Qatar, which opens the door of the Grands Prix in Moto2. Back in France in 2011 to join the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, Anthony won five FIM EWC World Champion titles with SERT.

FIM EWC and Eurosport Events join in mourning of family and friends.

Bolliger Switzerland’s 35-year fascination with Endurance Wed, 08 Mar 2017 17:02:30 +0000

For 35 years, Hanspeter Bolliger and his team have been competing with unflagging determination. “A lot of things have changed in 35 years,” Hanspeter admits. “The whole thing has become much more professional, and places are fiercely contested. But I go into each season with the same motivation and enthusiasm as before. Racing still exerts the same fascination.

Neck and neck with the top teams
This tenacity has enabled Team Bolliger Switzerland to compete alongside the factory teams. Since 2001 Bollinger has taken part in every race of the FIM EWC championship, twice picking up the title of world vice-champion, right behind SERT, in 2005 and 2010. The small Swiss team also took third spot on the championship podium in 2009 and 2014.

As with all privateers, the search for funds takes up a lot of time and energy. “As a small Swiss private team, it will always be more difficult for us to find money,” says Hanspeter. “We do not have any racetracks in Switzerland, because motor races are banned in our country. So of course no Swiss companies are interested in us, because we only race abroad. We owe our success to our long-term sponsors. We have counted on them for years. It is also an advantage for us that we have been able to compete with the same experienced riders and mechanic crew for years.

Targeting the Top 5
After a shaky start to the 2016-2017 season at the Bol d’Or, Team Bolliger Switzerland’s current objective is to score a podium place at Le Mans in order to target a Top 5 spot at the end of the season.

More about Team Bolliger Switzerland

FIM EWC on Spain’s Garage TV Mon, 06 Mar 2017 08:20:56 +0000

Garage TV, a channel dedicated to motor sport featuring both two and four wheelers, will bring the FIM EWC world championship to Spanish TV audiences. Garage TV, which has a viewership of 15 million, is to broadcast the 23-minute Pit Stop segment after each of the FIM EWC races in 2017.

Next event on the FIM EWC calendar: the 24 Heures Motos on 15 and 16 April 2017.

Bridgestone in the race for the title Mon, 27 Feb 2017 08:55:37 +0000

The Japanese corporation – the world’s foremost tyre manufacturer – is making a fresh foray into the FIM EWC championship. Bridgestone has officially announced that it will be partnering with Austrian squad YART Yamaha Official EWC Team. Mandy Kainz’s team, which is chasing the FIM EWC world title with riders Marvin Fritz, Broc Parkes, Kohta Nozane and Max Neukirchner – exactly like rivals F.C.C. TSR Honda with Damian Cudlin, Alan Techer and Gregg Black – will benefit from Bridgestone’s race-proven expertise, and all the latest technology developed by Bridgestone teams in Europe and Japan.

Nico Thuy, Head of Motorcycle, Bridgestone Europe
For all of us at Bridgestone, it’s great to be back again racing at the highest level. It is important for us as a tyre manufacturer not only to show ourselves, but also to have a genuine development platform. The whole of Bridgestone Corporation is involved. Our Japanese engineers will be helping to develop prototype tyres. The goal is to get the best performance, and be able to win.
Racing is part of Bridgestone’s DNA and we will be aiming to achieve great results with our new team partners. This involvement also reaffirms Bridgestone’s commitment to motorcycle riders and enthusiasts the world over. The endurance series attracts a strong following, so it will bring Bridgestone closer to bikers who are passionate about racing

Dunlop, Pirelli and Bridgestone will therefore be the three official suppliers at the FIM EWC world championship. The next showdown between these three leading brands will take place on the Bugatti circuit in France, at the 40th edition of the 24 Heures Motos.

Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences shifts up a gear Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:04:25 +0000

Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences has made its mark in the FIM EWC endurance world cup since 2011. The team has ramped up its ambitions for 2017. The French Superstock squad based in Moulins (Allier) has put together an impressive and cosmopolitan team for 2017. The Michelin-shod Yamaha #333 will be ridden this year by Florian Alt, runner-up in the IDM Superbike 2016 in his native Germany; Belgian rider Bastien Mackels, who placed 5th in that same German championship, and Frenchman Axel Maurin, while another Belgian rider, Olivier Depoorter, will be the team’s fourth rider.

So the cards are on the table at Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences, which has also reorganized its technical squad to optimize efficiency and performance. However, the defining characteristic of the team remains unchanged: creating a squad of young people from different social backgrounds and instilling strong values in them: team spirit, respect for and commitment to the motto ‘Live life to the full; get involved’.

The Yamaha Viltaïs Experiences just started its first round of winter testing this week in Valencia, Spain.

FIM EWC live on La chaîne l’Equipe Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:22:57 +0000

La chaîne l’Equipe, a 100% sport channel and part of France’s digital terrestrial television offer, has expanded audiences for the FIM EWC world championship not only in metropolitan France, but also in French overseas departments and territories, Andorra and Monaco. The live coverage of the races throughout the season has given viewership a boost. More than 400,000 viewers watched the final hour and finish of the Bol d’Or last September thanks to La chaîne l’Equipe.

In 2017, La chaîne l’Equipe will once again broadcast live coverage of the races as well as 45-minute highlights after each race.

Next event on the calendar: the 24 Heures Motos on 15 and 16 April 2017.