One week after les 24H du Mans, it’s time to take stock of this memorable race.
All the conditions were met for the 2020 edition to be atypical and remain engraved in the annals.
First of all, the Huis-Clos transformed this world event into a “classic” training day atmosphere…not a sound in the stands or in the campsite… usually, nearly 100,000 enthusiasts join this great motorbike event.
To talk about the race, our race, we lived 24 intense hours and went through all the emotions…
We started 18th in the scratch race (out of 39) and 5th in the Superstock class (out of 22) in which we are engaged, we knew that our race rhythm was good and that we could play for the podium in our class and a top 10 scratch race.
As soon as the start was given at 12H, our Yamaha R1 didn’t start…a quick manipulation and we left last with a ten seconds delay on the peloton…the challenge started.
Lap after lap, we managed to get back to 10th scratch and 3rd Superstock after 4 hours of racing.
But unfortunately, in this crazy climb, a heavy crash at the braking point of the “Chemin aux boeufs” partially destroyed our bike.
The rider was “nothing” despite the violence of the impact…phew.
The technical team worked in an exemplary way and the bike was rebuilt in 32 minutes!
Between the moment of the crash and the moment when we get out of the box, we lose 55 minutes in this misadventure and leave last with several laps behind the second last…but there is still 18 hours of race left and we tell ourselves that everything is possible and that we should never give up.
From stint to stint, our riders gave it their all to set very fast lap times, sometimes in the top 3 of all the bikes on track and the technical team made fast and error free refuelling.
At 1am we were up to 25th and 11th Superstock.
Despite the fatigue and the capricious weather, we did not give up and at 12H, we finished in a magnificent 16th place overall, 6th in Supertock!
A very strong feeling of pride for what we have just achieved…but also of frustration because without this crash, we could have reached our objectives and won the category with a Top 10. But the crash is part of the “game” and if we don’t accept it, we don’t race.
We ask our drivers to go fast and to perform well on the track, so we have to accept that sometimes there are unfortunate consequences.
One of the positive things is that we have shown that we are determined and motivated in our quest for results and performance. We are now able to compete with the best and to fight for the win.
It’s going to be a long winter but we’re going to work hard and we’ll come back for the 2021 World Endurance Championship ready as ever with the desire to win and to share this with our partners whom we thank and without whom none of this would be possible!