On a relatively warm and dry day the French circuit of Magny Cours provided the perfect stage for the finale of the 2018 International Bridgestone Handy Race. Austrian rider Peter Rohr (AUT) rounded of his campaign with his second win of the three round series to claim the 1000cc title, whilst Spanish rider Alejandro De La Cruz (ESP) was second in his class on the day, though this was sufficient for him to clinch the 600cc crown..
With the previous encounters at Le Mans and Mugello earlier in the season having set the tone for the closing event, the final race did not disappoint with plenty of action from the outset as the twenty-two starters completed both their sighting laps and warm up laps behind the safety car before the ten-lap race proper got underway.
Towards the end of lap three Martin Horky (CZE) was to crash, although he was OK and soon re-joined the race before making a second mistake at the same turn three laps later. Despite losing more time Horky got back on track to end the day in eleventh spot in the 1000cc class.
Out front Rohr steadily moved clear of the field to take the flag some eighteen seconds ahead of his compatriot Matthias Lanzinger (AUT) who took the runners up spot on the day and seventh place overall in the series.
Lanzinger is a former alpine athlete who lost his left leg during an accident at the Ski World Cup race in Norway in 2008 whilst competing in the Super G event. Despite this set back Matthias was back on the slopes at the Paralympic games in Sotchi, Russia in 2014 where he earned a silver medal in the Super G race.
France’s Stephane Paulus (FRA) rounded out the top three in the 1000cc in his home race, a feat matched by fellow paraplegic rider Talan Skeels-Piggins (GBR) in the 600cc class.
It was Italian rider Maurizio Castelli (ITA) who collected top honours in today’s race in the smaller capacity class as he crossed the line twenty plus seconds ahead of eventual 600cc champion De La Cruz.
The final drama of what proved to be a fitting climax to this fast growing series happened on the last lap Daniele Barbero (ITA) took a tumble at turn twelve, he was confirmed OK but was taken to the medical centre for further examination, however this sadly meant he was not able to make it to the podium to celebrate his third place overall in the 1000cc class.
The running of the 2018 International Bridgestone Handy Race represents the continued collaboration between the FIM, Handi Free Riders and Diversamente Disabili with the support of the FFM (Fédération Française de Motocyclisme) and the FMI (Federazione Motociclistica Italiana). The success of this year’s three round series follows on from the inaugural event held at Le Mans, back in May 2017 as part of the 2017 French Grand Prix.
The International Bridgestone Handy Race is open to riders with the following qualifying conditions: Amputation of an upper or lower limb / Hemiplegia / Paraplegia / Complete Plexus brachial.
Finally, the race was followed by a meet and greet session where the Handy riders were joined by the stars of the FIM Superbike World Championship in an interactive session with the public in the paddock show.