|The Honda TT Legends team was forced to retire 18-hours in to the 2013 Bol d’Or 24-hour, breaking its seven-race stint of successful finishes in Endurance World Championship events. The disappointment also marks the first time that the team has had to withdraw from a 24-hour race.
John McGuinness started the race for the Honda TT Legends and the first few hours saw him, Simon Andrews and Michael Dunlop put in an impressive performance that took them from 28th to third place. As evening fell on the Magny Cours circuit in France, light rain caused a few incidents for other teams, but the Honda TT Legends settled into a steady fourth place, where they remained through the night until daybreak.
Just after 8am, Dunlop made an unexpected pit stop and the Honda TT Legends crew set to work, eventually identifying and fixing a problem with the heat exchanger. McGuinness re-joined the race in 13th place but unfortunately the irreparable damage to the engine had already been done and it subsequently overheated. He was forced to dismount and push the bike back to the pits on the first lap and the team retired from the race.
The EWC will continue with the Suzuka 8-hour in Japan on 28 July.
This is a very disappointing end for the team after all the hard work and effort everyone has put in. It’s unfortunate but we had a problem with the heat exchanger which caused the engine to overheat and fail towards the end of the race. It’s our first incomplete event in seven races and our first ever retirement from a 24 hour race, but it happens to everyone at some point and the main thing is that everyone is ok. We haven’t had any injuries to anybody and although there was some leakage from the bike, it doesn’t look like it caused problems to anybody else as the safety car came out very quickly. Like I say, very disappointing for everyone but we have to move on and look forward to the road races coming up in the next few months.
We’re just gutted not to have finished. The lads have done so much work on the bike – new electronics, traction control – all sorts of bits and pieces that they’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of hours on. We’ve had a fantastic run of results up to now with seven races completed and we were looking good in the race. We were top five again and chipping away, but unfortunately we had a problem 18 hours in. I’m just speechless really, just gutted, but we’ll try and take the positives out of it. We were running a lot closer to some of our rivals so we can take that to the next round.
It had gone well up until that point. I did a good few stints at the beginning to get us up to fourth and I was happy enough with that. It’s a shame what’s happened for everyone because the guys have worked so hard. The chassis was working well and we had the quickest bike out there at some points, so it just would have been nice to reward everyone with a podium. We were third at one stage so to go from that position to coming away with no points at all is not fun, but that’s endurance racing. We can be happy with the hard work we’ve put in and the way we’ve worked together and we’ll look forward to the next round.
It’s so disappointing for all the lads after all the hard work they’ve done. I really feel for them because it’s not just about us riders, it’s a massive team effort and they put so much into it. I just got my head down and got on with it, going with the flow really. It was going well up until that point, but we’ll go back and take a look at the bike and come back bigger and stronger next time.