For the 86th Bol d'Or, the EWC season finale, held from September 14-17 at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet (Var, France), the Webike Trickstar Kawasaki team, wearing the number 11 on its Kawasaki ZX-10RR, put in a solid performance both on the track and during pit stops.
The 5.673km long track presents a real challenge for machines pushed to the maximum for more than 20 seconds each time they negotiate the 2km Mistral straight.
Unlike some of its direct rivals, the Webike Trickstar Kawasaki team managed to find the right compromise between performance and durability to get through the entire 24-hour race.
It was a sunny start at 3pm on Saturday, but the track was wet following heavy showers earlier in the afternoon. Grégory Leblanc, who started from 7th on the grid, quickly climbed to 4th position thanks to a judicious choice of tyres. Randy de Puniet and Kazuki Watanabe also set a fast and consistent pace, helping to keep the team in the top portion of the field.
After 8 hours of racing, the team's position in the standings gave it 5 precious points for the championship. Then 5 more points were added at the 16-hour mark.
The race was running smoothly for Ryuji Tsuruta's team when an oil spill sent a number of riders crashing, including Randy de Puniet on the #11 Kawasaki. A return to the pits while the safety car neutralised the race allowed the technical team to carry out a quick and effective repair to return the bike to the track in 5th position.
Thanks to a rigorous race, the Webike Trickstar Kawasaki team crossed the finish line of the 86th Bol d'Or in 5th place, collecting a total of 41.5 points for the event. The team thus finishes this transitional EWC 2023 season in 6th position with 106.5 points, before turning its attention to the 2024 season.
Placing just behind the Webike Trickstar Kawasaki team in 6th position were Team 33 Louit April Moto who completed 697 laps of the demanding Circuit Paul Ricard. And in 15th spot among thirty three finishers were the legendary Team Bolliger Switzerland.
Randy DE PUNIET - rider
“We were aiming for the podium at this race, so naturally I'm a bit disappointed. We're still a little short of where we need to be to compete with the top teams. But there are also some good things to remember for the future. The team is going to analyse the situation and come back stronger next year.”