Le Castellet, France. Team MERCURY racing has finished another 24 hours challenge by ending the 82nd Bol d’Or PAGE Officielle at the Le Castellet “Paul Ricard Circuit”, the opening round of the 2018/2019 FIM Endurance World Championship EWC in the Top Ten. Karel Hanika (CZE), David Perret (FRA) and Ondrej Jezek (CZE) not only overcame the race distance, but also some challenges on the “man and machine” side.
Hanika, Perret and Jezek made a steady away for the start of the race, holding the team’s BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S 1000 RR in the TopTen of the starting phase already. The trio went for the fight for the Top-Five, when on lap 180 it fall back to 23rd position. It was a world class effort by the team in the pits to change a slipping clutch – boling hot! – in just under six minutes. Afterwards it was just about getting through this cruel challenge.
Whilst Hanika was fit, there were some issues for Perret, who had crashed in practice and on course of the race became problems with his neck. He went to see the physiotherapist after almost every of his stints to make sure he can fight through. Jezek cought a flue in the practice week of the Bol d’Or but heroically fought his way to the finish line with his team mates, riding the last 6 hours on two with Hanika only.
MERCURY RACING grabbed a total of 11 world championship points at the 82nd Bol d’Or, holding on to tenth position in the World Championship.
“The race went well from the start, but we were unlucky with quite a number of problems we had to face. After the team had to change the clutch, we used the night fully to make up positions and fight back to the TopTen. It was hard – as always in a 24 hours races – but I and my team mates and the pit crew gave more than 100 per cent. I am very happy for my team and all involved! Thank You!”
“A difficult race after my crash on Tuesday. My team mates did a perfect job, that can not be more recommended than everything else. Also our staff in the pits worked hard and perfect, a very reliable and professional team. I did gave my everything in the night, but then that might have been a little bit too much for my body. I am very, very sorry to the whole crew for that! The Bol d’Or is always something mystical and I am happy I’ve been part of it.”
“I am completely dead. I put everything into this race and I was not 100 per cent, still suffering from my illness. Especially those last 6 hours, which we did with Karel on two only, were the hardest and biggest sporting challenge, I ever had to face in my life. I would like to thank all the team who did an outstanding job this whole week and in the race itself. For me it was a great pleasure to be part of it!”
“A very difficult race with technical problems, as well as with injured and sick riders. The whole team worked extremely hard to bring the bike to the finish line, that was our goal and is our victory here. We are very happy with this Top-Ten result. We are now facing the winter break and will use this one, to be as prepared as possible for the next 24 hours of Le Mans in April 2019. See you there, thank you everyone!”