In retrospect: the 24 hours Moto of Le Mans
All the signs for a top race were there: good training sessions, fast lap times, the bike was fantastic, good pace and in the first qualifying lap RAC41 ChromeBurner even set the fastest time.
In the second qualifying session the decision was made to test the race conditions and not to use the qualifying tires. All times combined made RAC41 ChromeBurner qualified in seventh place. Not a bad start at all, because the general race pace was good and that gave confidence for the rest of the weekend. In that sense, the entire preparation went smoothly.
On Saturday it was time for the race, which started at 12:00 a.m. with Grégory Fastré as the first rider. When Wayne Tessels took over as the second rider, dark clouds began to pass over the French circuit and it gradually started to rain. Despite the worsening weather conditions, the team held its own very well. When it was Johan Nigon's turn to hit the track on the Honda, it started to rain really hard. But again no problem for RAC41 ChromeBurner and even took second place!
When Fastré got back on the bike, RAC41 ChromeBurner was in a nice position in the Superstock class. Then a rider from one of the other teams fell in the corner just before the straight. Fastré, who was a few seconds behind him, had too little time to avoid the bike lying on the track. He hits the bike hard and also crashes.
The damage is considerable and the mechanics do everything they can to get the bike back on the track. Wayne got on the bike again and began to narrow the gap. This gap had become so big by repairing the damage that the catch-up race was pretty much pointless at this point. Therefore, the remainder of the race was used as a test. After all, a good result was no longer feasible, but every minute on the track is valuable.
However, around 9:00 PM the team again had to deal with technical problems, which were beyond repair. So, withdrawing from the race seemed the only option...
After 9 hours of racing, a promising 24 hours came to an end. The first part of the race was very promising, with even a second place. A podium, or perhaps more, would certainly have been possible. That makes it very disappointing, says Wayne.
The next race on the calendar is the 12 Hours of Estoril, Portugal on September 26th.
Photos: Florian Meuret