After a gruelling 24-hour battle, the Honda TT Legends team has completed the 76th annual Bol d’Or, placing ninth in the race overall and sixth in the Endurance World Championship class to claim 19 points.
The race took place in challenging conditions at the Magny Cours circuit in France, with intermittent rain and cold temperatures making for an eventful 24-hours. Cameron Donald, John McGuinness and Simon Andrews competed for the Honda TT Legends, with Donald taking part in the running race start at 3pm yesterday.
The team began well, maintaining a steady pace through the changeable weather to hold fifth place until the early hours of Sunday morning. As dawn broke, Andrews was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop with a quick shift issue that was quickly rectified. The team re-joined the race in sixth place behind Yamalube Folch Endurance.
As the weather deteriorated further, the Bol d’Or almost came to a premature end for the Honda TT Legends when Donald lost the front end and suffered a high speed crash on the back straight. In line with EWC rules, the uninjured Australian pushed the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade back to the pits, where the team set to work repairing the extensive damage.
The well-rehearsed TT Legends crew fixed the bike with co-ordinated expertise, successfully returning it to the race with McGuinness at the helm in under 20 minutes. The slick repair saw the team maintain sixth position in the EWC class, while running ninth in the race overall. The final two hours passed without incident and the Honda TT Legends completed the race to claim 19 championship points. The race was won by SRC Kawasaki with SERT and Monster Energy Yamaha in second and third respectively.
I think the best we could have expected was fifth in that race. We couldn’t have come any higher at the pace we were going at. We still finished sixth overall in the EWC race which is good considering we lost time doing repairs after Cameron’s crash. It’s certainly been the most difficult endurance race that we’ve done and the one with the most problems. We’re going to analyse everything that has happened, figure out where the issues lie and continue from there. Hopefully we can have a better race the next time out.
Not the result we came for but it was one of our strongest rides yet. We were holding fifth and looking good in very difficult conditions. It was a gruelling race with temperatures as low as 2 or 3 degrees through the night. I got caught up in some of the bad weather and had to pit for tyres changes which meant I then had to do double stints with 50 or 60 laps at a time and that is hard work. After Cameron slipping off at probably 150mph and the bike cart wheeling its way though the gravel, luckily Cam was alright and the team did amazing job at getting the bike back out there. We wanted to be a bit further up but at least we’ve picked up some world championship points.
After starting and finishing Le Mans last year I got to start and finish the Bol d’Or, which is really special. It was an absolute ordeal of a race. Everyone had their moments to shine and it was a big teem effort, but unfortunately we just didn’t quite come up with the goods. It was a little bit of bad luck and me skidding up the road didn’t help, but just to finish another 24-hour is a massive achievement.
It feels good to finish my first 24-hour race. Ten months ago I was lying in a hospital and my first race back I’ve completed a 24-hour so I feel triumphant and I’m pretty happy. We were quick and we were safe, I did everything to the best of my ability and I’m going home with a smile on my face.