24 Heures Motos 2023 - 13-16/04/2023
IN 100 WORDS: Following two years without spectators due to COVID-19 restrictions, fans were back in their thousands for the 45th edition in April 2022. And they witnessed a thriller with Suzuki-powered Gregg Black, Sylvain Guintoli and Xavier Siméon combining in style for Le Mans-based Yoshimura SERT Motul. Rather than the 13.626-kilometre Circuit de La Sarthe, the traditional EWC curtain-raiser takes place on the 4.185-kilometre Bugatti Circuit. It comes complete with the famous Le Mans start/finish straight, Dunlop Esses and Ford Chicane, while a twisty infield section ensures there’s little respite, nevertheless. Riders also face the prospect of competing during shorter daylight hours.
*The first 24 Heures Motos took place from 22-23 April 1978 with Jean-Claude Chemarin and Christian Léon riding a Honda to victory.
*It followed the Bol d’Or – the other French 24-hour classic bike race appearing on the EWC schedule – relocating to Circuit Paul Ricard after the 1977 event.
*However, event organiser, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, staged its first race for motorbikes in 1912, long before the Bugatti Circuit’s inauguration in September 1966.
*After starting at 14h00 local time in 2020 and 2021, the 2022 edition of the 24 Heures Motos was flagged-off at 15h00.
*As well as hosting the EWC, the Bugatti Circuit is home to the Grand Prix de France MotoGP event.
EXPERT VIEW BY LOUIS ROSSI:
“It’s a mythical race with an incredible atmosphere. The weather is always the question. At Le Mans it can be good one day and the next it can be dramatic. You have to adapt in every situation and the night is a difficult moment because you have to adapt to the cold conditions. But this is the 24 hours and it’s part of this spectacular race. If it’s cold it’s very physical because you have a lot of tension and you are quite tired and you have to try to manage your brain and your body to be fit during all night. Then, after the sun starts to come up, you regain some energy to finish the race. But for sure the end of the night is every time a challenging moment.”
2022: Yoshimura SERT Motul (Gregg Black, Xavier Siméon, Sylvain Guintoli) 840 laps
2021: Yoshimura SERT Motul (Gregg Black, Xavier Siméon, Sylvain Guintoli) 855 laps
2020: F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Josh Hook, Freddy Foray, Mike De Meglio) 816 laps
2019: Team SRC Kawasaki France (Jérémy Guarnoni, David Checa, Erwan Nigon) 839 laps
2018: F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Josh Hook, Freddy Foray, Alan Techer) 843 laps
Automobile Club de l’Ouest - Circuit des 24 Heures, 72000 Le Mans, France
YART - Yamaha Official Team EWC – Karel Hanika
Yoshimura SERT Motul – Gregg Black