Tecmas-MRP BMW in quest for the Holy Grail!
After it’s historical victory at the Mans 24 Hours at the beginning of season, the Bourges team Tecmas MRP BMW wants to achieve the task in the other prestigious event of the 24 hours set in France, the “Bol d’Or” at the end of this week at the Castellet in the South of France and obtain the FIM Worldwide Cup for the Superstock Endurance. A hell of challenge!
Before the last round of the FIM Worldwide Cup for Endurance in Superstock category, from 14th to 17th September on the Paul Ricard track at the Castellet (Var), this is a full suspense. About ten teams can still, mathematically and depending of the hazards of the race, get the title. For the Bourges team Tecmas BMW, 4th at the general classification within 16 points from the leader, Chromeburner-RAC41-Hona, all the hopes are allowed.
16 points! It’s quite behind but not infeasible to catch up with as, at the “Bol d’Or” the points are 1.5 doubled. This means that the winner will be credited of 60 points (against 40 at le Mans and at Spa), the 2nd will get 49.5 pts, the 3rd 42 pts, the 4th 36 pts, the 5th 31,5 pts, the 6th 28.5 pts, etc. up to the 20th who will obtain 1.5 points. During the complete weekend, the team who will have the full score will get 85 points, that is to say 60 points for the victory, 5 points for the pole position and twice 10 points if she is ahead at intermediary classification at the 8th and 16th hours of the race.
Like at the Mans 24 Hours?
The question is now to know whether the team managed by Arnaud Sassone can accomplish a perfect weekend. Without being to optimistic, one would be inclined to to answer “yes”. Like it was the case at the Mans 24 Hours where the trio : Foray – Bühn – Arbel marked 64 points for a maximum of 65 points possible with a prestigious victory which will stand forever in the great history of the team and of the Bourges Sport all over. In the Sarthe, only the pole position had let slipped the Tecmas-MRP-BMW team, Kenny Foray signing (only) the 2nd chrono. Otherwise, the BMW-M1000 RR has been complete, the n° 9 taking the 10 points dedicated to the leader at the 8th and 16th hours of the race. A perfect performance, both on the track and in the stand, with domination sportively recognized by their competitors and welcomed by Werner Daemen, the MRP Racing Team boss, as well as by Marc Bongers, the director of BMW Motorrad Motorsport and it’s technical director Uwe Geyer. “To hope to overtake them, it would have been necessary to have the fall of a pilot or a mechanical breakdown when the motorbike seem so reliable and, especially, efficient” was admitted at Honda’s.
A high level of performance once again displayed at everybody’s eyes at the Spa 24 Hours where Kenny Foray was on pole position. The N°9 was actually leading the race in the Superstock, being “peer-to-peer” with some of good competitors of the EWC… Until that moment where the actual Superbike French champion was coming back at low speed to the stand a little while before the half-hour race. Nothing could have let thought this sudden stop. Not the smallest alert, no overspeed, no untimely increase of the engine temperature; nothing! And yet, this unsuspected mechanical breakdown hurting the high engine, the team was going to pay it very strongly. After a huge machanical action which lasted more than 3h30, the n°9 motorbike was coming back on the track. The team target was, then, to acquire some points for the Superstock classification. But, in the event of the risk of a total engine breakdown and the worry of dropping oil on the track, which could have been terribly serious for the other bikers, Arnaud Sasonne decided towards 2 A.M. that it would be wiser to sign the abandon paper
Arnaud Sassonne: “We are confident, but…”
What will happen at the Castellet? “We are confident. We have validated everything. One knows that our motorbike is the most performing of the whole lot and that our pilots are at the top. If we show the identical level of performance than at Le Mans and at Spa… until this surprising stop, we will target the victory at the Castellet. After, for the title, it will depend of our direct competitors’ performances” abounded Arnaud Sassone. As a matter of fact, even with 85 points, Tecmas will not be ensured to wear the worldwide crown. It would just be a risk that Chromeburner finishes 2nd each time at the intermediaries and at the chrono trials to get 71.5 points and keep the leadership.
To go fast… until the end!
With Tecmas, there is not (too) much choice. To go and get the title, it will be necessary to get the maximum points, and, therefore, target the victory. Run an offensive race without never forgetting that 24 hours it’s very long, very long… The mechanical will have to give it’s most and more but will also need to be handled with care to reach the end. At each race, one repeat that, in Endurance, the first victory is to pass under the checkerboard flag, but, after all everything is possible. The pilots know perfectly all these parameters as well as they know that an important track off would annulate the team’s hopes. The staff will also have to determine the best race strategy, to be efficient in the Dunlop tires choice and when stopping at the stand where it’s always possible to catch on these precious seconds so difficult to do on the track. But, the team is fully prepared, trusting and motivated. Alike it’s leader Kenny Forey who remain on 7 victories during the last 8 ones of the French Superbike championship. We can also note that Maxime Bonnot, only just married, will leave his place of replacement pilot to Nelson Major who has just been sacred France champion FSBK, European Bikes category, driving a… BMW wearing the Tecmas colors. A well-deserved promotion.
Text : Christian Ragot
Photos : Stéphane Valembois
Translation : Josette Borne
FIM ENDURANCE WORLDWIDE CUP UP-DATE. 1. Chromeburner-RAC41-Honda, 85 points (40 au Mans et 45 à Spa) ; 2. Honda No Limits, 79 pts (38+41) ; 3. National-Motos Honda, 77 pts (16+61) ; 4. Tecmas-MRP BMW RT, 69 pts (64+5) ; 5. Team 33 Louit April Moto Kawasaki, 65 (11+54) ; 6. 3Art Best of bike Yamaha, 53 pts (53+0) ; 7. Wojcik RT, 50 pts (24+26) ; 8. TRT Bazar 2 Suzuki, 49 pts (19+30) etc…