Pridmore leads Yamaha BK Maco Moto to 9th overall at Bol d’Or 24 Hour

Suzuki Endurance Racing Team wins, Kawasaki Bolliger Team Switzerland and Yamaha Folch Endurance fill out podium

Jason Pridmore

American Jason Pridmore led the Slovak Republic-based Yamaha BK Maco Moto endurance racing team to a ninth place finish (and sixth place in the Formula EWC class) at the 74th Bol d’Or 24 Hour event at Magny Cours, France. With Spanish co-riders Dani Ribalta Bosch and Victor Carrasco Espinar, Pridmore helped the team complete 752 laps for the Yamaha squad’s first FIM World Endurance Championship points of the season. Winning the 74th Bol d’Or 24 Hour race was the France-based Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) of Vincent Phillipe, Guillaume Dietrich, and Freddy Foray (the multi-time World Championship team is no longer competing in the full World Endurance Championship series, which has shrunk to only five races), with the Kawasaki Bolliger Team Switzerland team of Horst Saiger, Patric Muff and Roman Stamm finishing in second place, fourteen laps behind the winners. Third place after 24 hours went to the Spain-based Yamaha Folch Endurance mount ridden by Jordi Almeida, Pedro Vallcaneras and Jose Manuel Luis Rita, who were only one lap behind.

Just as many Japanese racers consider the Suzuka 8-Hour race a tremendously important event, both the Bol d’Or and the 24 Hours of Le Mans are heavily subscribed by French teams, who make up the majority of the teams and are the reason the series has continued to survive despite decreased interest in the endurance championship over the years. Since being forced out of MotoGP and most other national series due to the increased focus on spec tires, Michelin fields its own FIM endurance racing team (Michelin Power Research Team) that have been a contender in most of the events this year. Unfortunately, after qualifying fourth on the grid following the Superpole knockout qualifying sessions, the team’s Honda CBR1000RR was forced out of the race on the 63rd lap due to a nasty collision with the AM Moto Racing Suzuki, putting Michelin team rider William Costes in the hospital with a broken femur and AM Moto pilot Raphael Chèvre with “a serious head trauma”. After qualifying on pole and third place respectively on the grid, the BMP Elf 99 Racing Team (riding a BMW, and qualifying on pole by nearly half a second) and GSR Kawasaki Team were both forced out by mechanical difficulties caused by multiple crashes over the course of the race.