Endurance is a team sport
Posted 04/22/2016 / Events & Competitions
The 24-Hour Motorcycling race experienced by the Team Yamaha Viltais Experience. Summary of an emotionally charged adventure.
Just like every year, the Bugatti circuit kept its promise and some teams experienced a whole range of highs and lows. This was particularly the case for the Team Yamaha Viltais Experience, who experienced every possible racing incident imaginable during these 24 Hours Motorcycling: race leader, breakdown, fall, return from fall, cold, rain.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is known for not giving its participants an easy ride. With a whirlwind of emotions, the young members of the Team Viltais Experience faced a race full of unexpected twists and turns.
With a start in dry track conditions, Nicolas Salchaud, a Team Viltais Experience rider, got off to a resounding start and took the lead very early on in the race. After 5 laps, the team positioned itself in 4th place overall and in the lead in the SuperStock category. Then after 30 minutes and due to tyre changes, the Yamaha 333 captured the lead for the first time in its history. An intense moment for this young team!
After 4 hours 45 minutes of racing, Olivier Depoorter, a Team Viltais Experience rider fell, but it was inconsequential. The mechanics did a great job in the pits and Olivier was able to set off in 13th place and 6th in the Stock category. Nightfall came, and with it, very difficult conditions, with temperatures reaching as low as -1°. The three drivers, Nicolas Salchaud, Axel Maurin and Oliver Depoorter were unflinching and made a great comeback which went on for the entire night, even flirting with their best times despite the cold.
Despite a broken exhaust pipe which was changed around midnight, at sunrise they occupied a fine 5th place overall and 1st in Stock. Unfortunately, endurance races are very challenging for mechanics and Yamaha was forced to pit around 9:00 am. After what seemed like endless minutes of investigations by the team's technicians, the terrible verdict came and a black sheet was placed on motorcycle number 333. It was with a huge amount of disappointment that the mechanics announced a blown engine and permanent abandonment. The entire team was dumbfounded for a few moments. What followed was an intensely shared emotional moment and the promise to come back even stronger in the next race, with the same objective: to fight for victory!
Time to head for the 12 hours of Portimão!