High-speed stone strike costs BMW EWC podium possibility at Le Mans
The stone that cost the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team the chance of claiming another FIM Endurance World Championship podium was some two centimetres wide and struck the radiator of the squad’s #37 M 1000 RR at an estimated 260kph, it has emerged.
Having won the 2021 EWC season decide at Autodrom Most last October, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team had high hopes of more success at the 24 Heures Motos. But its hopes were dashed a little more than a quarter-way through the day and night spectacular.
Starting from fourth position, the trio of Jérémy Guarnoni, Markus Reiterberger and Ilya Mikhalchik were in contention for a podium finish until a stone pierced the bike’s radiator and the subsequent overheating damaged the engine to the extent it wasn’t possible to go beyond four and a half hours.
“Of course, that early retirement was hard for us to swallow,” said Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “The overall package was fast, the racing pace was spot on and the fuel consumption, which is an important factor in endurance racing, was very efficient. The riders also gave a superb performance and the team worked superbly in the pits. It is extremely bad luck for a stone to hit the radiator and cause a chain reaction that ended the race for the #37. However, that can happen. Now we have to build on the many positive aspects and on what we learned from Le Mans.”
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team added: “The race was good – until we had a big stone in our radiator. The water was straight out, the oil temperature went up and the engine broke. It was very disappointing for everybody that the race ended that way. For the riders, for the team, the mechanics, they all had worked so hard this winter to prepare the bike. We were very well prepared but this was something that nobody could foresee. We have a big protector in front of our radiator but this stone was at least two centimetres big and when it hits the radiator at 260kph then nothing helps. This happens, we are very disappointed but we will come back.”
Belgium-based BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team will be on home territory when the 2022 EWC season continues with the 24H SPA EWC Motos from 2-5 June.