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Jan
09

Le Mans 2019

This report could be classed as being somewhat late, given the race was in April last year, I did write an article at the time but it got lost in amongst stuff when I got back, being distracted by Lilah dog issues.

The run up to race weekend had not been good weather wise, bags were packed with a variety of warm clothes, and then the forecast changed. Thierry msg’d and told us to bring sun cream and hats!

Incident free ride down meeting up with Sean, Tony and Les amongst others at Portsmouth. Ferry trips always pass in a blur of a few beers and chit chat catching up. Off the ferry handy Penso and I clear the port before everyone else and hit Alencon before the café with round windows is open, we find another café for breakfast and super strength coffee.

After calling in to Vero’s we rock up to the circuit grab some tickets, set camp and walk over to the supermarket on the Moulsanne straight, returning with a suitable amount of food and red wine.

We watch some night practice and get back to the tents as the locals are warming up their bikes, which they continue to do all night. I love the noise, utterly pointless, but I do love the sound of bikes being revved within an inch of their lives, some things thankfully never change.

The racing passes in the usual blur and haze of 24 hour madness, with Honda’s de Puniet putting in the fastest lap of the race at 7am on the Sunday morning. Despite having 24 hours to settle who can ride round the circuit the most the race is decided in the last half hour. Honda pitted before 2pm and are running low on fuel, with Kawasaki hot on their heels.

Kawasaki have fuel having pitted inside the last hour, when another competitors engine lets go at about 2.45 dropping oil on the track halfway round Dunlop curve. The pace car is sent out and Kawasaki can gain the time they need on Honda and cut their lead to nothing, as the pit car leaves the circuit without about 9 minutes left the endurance race turns into a sprint, but Honda have no fuel to race, they have to pit just to make it to 3pm leaving Kawasaki to take the win. Now that was quite something, the French love their endurance races and the crowd goes suitably bonkers at the the result.

Sunday night BBQ at Vero’s and predictably we over buy on the beer front, if that is ever possible, a great night. Monday we sort our shit out and go visit Nick en route to the ferry, catching up on years of racing and trips. Nicks race bike is a mish mash Heinz of a bike with his own undercut gears and home made ignition cut out for clutchless changes.

All too soon we are back at Caen, filling up on pizza washed down with a couple of cold ones.