Anthony West is jetting his way to Slovakia at the moment as he prepares to join the MACO Racing Team for the 84th Bol d’Or on 18 and 19 September at Le Castellet. West will also ride for the team at the 8 Hours of Most next month before returning to Australia to continue his ASBK campaign.
While other teams tested this week on the Paul Ricard circuit that hosts the Bol d’Or, Westy will be going in cold ahead of riding the team’s Dunlop shod YZF-R1. He will join Frenchman Gregory Leblanc and 28-year-old German Marc Moser in the MACO Racing squad.
The 40-year-old does have some previous good form in Endurance racing though including a victory in the Superstock class at Le Mans 24 Hour in 2014.
Having performed particularly well a few days ago during private tests on the Paul Ricard circuit, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team and Yoshimura SERT Motul are the favourites to win the Bol d’Or. The official BMW and Suzuki teams dominated the proceedings and broke the previous Endurance track records.
Despite Yoshimura SERT Motul’s win at the 24 Heures Motos and a 3rd-place finish for BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, race incidents and crashes at the 12 Hours of Estoril in July slowed their progress in the provisional standings. They are currently 3rd and 4th respectively.
Webike SRC Kawasaki France Trickstar, the current leader of the FIM EWC halfway through the season, get to Le Castellet with a narrow 5-point lead over F.C.C. TSR Honda France, the winner of the 12 Hours of Estoril.
The French Kawasaki team and the Japanese Honda team will have to hold off a climb back up by the BMW and the Suzuki but also by two other factory teams, YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team and ERC Endurance-Ducati.
The experienced and high-performance YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team will be the most dangerous. Mandy Kainz’s team took pole position at Le Mans and Estoril but had bad luck in the race. The Yamaha #7, the third-fastest in the private tests in early September, is hence also one of the favourites to win the Bol d’Or.
ERC Endurance-Ducati are continuing to develop their Panigale V4R and progressing ever further from one race to the next. Ducati have rejigged their line-up because of Louis Rossi’s injury. He has been replaced by Lorenzo Zanetti, a Ducati test rider who knows the Panigale inside out.
The leader of the independent teams’ standings, VRD Igol Experiences, keep progressing. At the 12 Hours of Estoril in July, the independent French team conceded 3rd place to BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team a few minutes from the finish. 5th in the overall standings, VRD Igol Experiences will once again challenge the factory teams.
Another prominent privateer team is Tati Team Beringer Racing whose Kawasaki performs particularly well on the track. 4th on the starting grid at Le Mans and 5th on the grid at Estoril, Tati Team Beringer Racing once again stood out during the private tests at Le Castellet. All that is missing is success in a race. They had to withdraw after crashes at Le Mans and a spectacular collision at Estoril.
Other private teams to watch out for are Moto Ain who are building up experience in the EWC class, the solid Bolliger Team Switzerland, and Wójcik Racing Team.
National Motos and BMRT 3D Maxxess Nevers are neck and neck in the Superstock class but the competition is jostling for position. Team 18 Sapeurs-Pompiers CMS Motostore and Team 33 Louit April Moto were the fastest in the private tests. No Limits Motor Team and Pitlane Endurance who are in the Top 5 of the FIM Superstock World Cup provisional standings.
The first timed free practice sessions will take place on the Paul Ricard circuit on the morning of Thursday 16 September.
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