National Motos is back
After a season without racing, National Motos will once again be at the start of the 24 Heures Motos on 15 April, with the Honda #55 in the capable hands of Emeric Jonchière, Nicolas Salchaud and Japanese rider Hikari Okubo, Jules Cluzel’s World Supersport teammate.
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.