Kawasaki, a determined FIM EWC leader
Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar get to the Bol d’Or at the top of the FIM endurance world championship. With a mere 5-point lead over the competition, their position as leader is under threat. But Gilles Stafler’s team, the 2018-2019 FIM EWC winners, are counting on their experience of 24-hour races to fight for the Bol d’Or win.
Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar earned their place thanks to consistency. After finishing second at the 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans and again at the 12 Hours of Estoril in Portugal, the factory Kawasaki entrusted to Jérémy Guarnoni, Erwan Nigon and David Checa has taken the lead in the standings.
It’s common knowledge that the team are in difficulty and underperforming compared to their rivals because their electronics are not as advanced as those of the competition. Gilles Stafler, the team manager Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar, confesses that he didn’t expect to go to the top of the championship at Estoril.
“After the tests early in the season and given our recent tyre change, we didn’t have enough experience and enough time spent riding. But that’s endurance for you. It can all look good and end in disaster or you can start off badly and end up with a good result. We thought we’d perform less well in a 12-hour race than in a 24-hour. But in fact we had a very good race pace at the 12 Hours of Estoril. It’s a pity that right now, we’re not in control. I adjust our race tactics depending on what’s happening in front. It’s more about the competition losing out than us playing at the front. But we’ve already seen teams become world champions without winning a single race all season.”
The Bol d’Or looks set to be a race where anything is possible. 65 points are up for grabs at the Paul Ricard circuit. “A 5-point lead is nothing,” says Stafler. “I’ll probably lose it as soon as the bonus points are awarded in qualifying. Our position as leader doesn’t put us under pressure. We’ll give it everything we’ve got, as in the other races, because considering our position, we can’t afford to hold back. What will pay off is consistency. We can’t impose a race pace, but the main thing is not to crash. We’ll adjust depending on what the others do and push when there’s opportunity to do so. We’re familiar with the circuit, the bike works well there, so we can pull off a good result.”