Meet Julien Diguet, the team's race manager.
The racing season for the teams in the FIM EWC Endurance Championship is about to begin. After changing race dates several times, it now finally looks like we will see the guys from the RAC41 ChromeBurner team in action!
A great time to take a look behind the scenes. We often forget it, but the race team is of course more than just the riders we see on TV. Behind these riders is a whole peloton of experts who want to perform at the highest level in their field. In this blog, we highlight the people who operate in the shadow of the riders. Starting with the story of Julien Diguet, race manager of RAC41 ChromeBurner.
“I am Julien Diguet, 41 years old and I am from Blois, France.”
“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a fascination and passion for motorsport. I watched everything on TV, not just motorsport but basically everything from top sport. When I turned 14, I bought a scooter and a new world opened up for me. I was devoted to that thing and drove it for two years. At the age of 16, I immediately went for the 125cc driver's license and around the same time I also started my apprenticeship in motorcycle mechanics. Not much later, around the age of 17, I was riding way too fast and narrowly escaped a serious accident. From that moment on, I sold everything, bought a track bike and started racing on circuits.”
After the departure of the previous Team manager, RAC41 had to look for a successor. The preference was for someone from the team with strong communication skills and who was very strong from an organizational point of view. Ultimately, they saw a perfect candidate in Thierry Pincemin so they gave him the role of Team manager. This released the role as Race manager and Thierry pushed me forward, because of my experience as a former rider.
My work is really nice! It's hard to imagine, but this entire race team (except for the engineer) consists entirely of volunteers. We are all here because we share the same passion: racing motorcycles! Managing passions is challenging, but so much fun. We are all driven by goals and results that we try to achieve on race weekends. This is what makes our team so unique. You don't see many teams working at this level with volunteers. In addition, the owner of RAC41 ChromeBurner makes sure that we can work in a very pleasant environment.
A race weekend has two sides; it is the reward for hard work during the offseason but also very stressful. A race weekend starts on Monday. On monday I help with the administration and make sure the team is ready. On Tuesday, we always do the first runs on the circuit and I sit around the table with the technicians from the team. On Wednesday, we check the bike and I have to make sure that possible problems are solved so that we can look at the weekend without too much craziness, because the day after it is time for the first qualifying. After that we start analyzing the lap times. Friday is all about the second qualifying session and I have to make sure everything is at its optimal condition, so that we are completely ready for the race. That means guaranteeing that people are in the right places with the resources they need to perform and that we are prepared for all scenarios. Saturday is race day, which means I am responsible for everything running smoothly and for making sure that all communication within the team is top-notch. The race is over on Sunday, hopefully with a good result, and we slowly start packing our stuff. This is in a nutshell what a race (weekend) looks like to me.
Not every race weekend goes smoothly and according to plan because you have to deal with setbacks and challenges. This can of course, take all kinds of forms, such as the weather. Another setback that is always lurking around the corner is technical defects on the bike or a fall of a rider. In such a situation, you try to do everything you can to get the bike back on track as soon as possible. In short sprint races, a fall or a technical defect almost immediately means the end of the story, with Endurance racing, that is not immediately, because the races last several hours. So we do everything we can to get the bike back on track because anything can happen. When the bike can no longer be saved, there is no other option than to retire from the race ... This is always a bummer, but you have to be strong, and reload yourself for the next race!
Covid 19 has, of course, also had an effect. Our preparation has been disrupted because we have had a very strict lockdown. We could not work on the engine and the calendar of the FIM EWC could only be made with reservation, resulting in the fact that we could not work towards a date. We did everything we could to make the right preparations for the first race. We aim to be in the top three this season and I am confident that we will succeed. We have a good bike and awesome riders, so we're looking forward to Le Mans!
June 12 and 13 - 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans in France
July 17 - 12H of Estoril at Estoril in Portugal
September 18 and 19 - Bol d'OR at Paul Ricard in France