74,500 spectators joined in the big motorbike festival and saw the victory of the no. 94 Yamaha entered by GMT 94 ridden by David Checa, Niccolo Canepa and Mickael Di Meglio. At the end of the 24 Heures Motos marked by a no-holds-barred battle up front and numerous race incidents, Yamaha won at Le Mans for the fourth time in its history while Suzuki retained the lead in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC) after the second round.
Everything to play for from a sporting point of view, concerts, entertainment, innovations, fine weather and a festive ambience meant that all the ingredients were combined to make the 2017 24 Heures Motos, THE big motorbike festival. The 74 500 spectators who attended the 40th staging of the event made the right choice and for the ACO it was the biggest crowd at the 24 Heures Motos for the last five years.
The sporting appeal of a race whose outcome was uncertain right till the end combined with entertainment that was in keeping with the expectations of the spectators, including the concerts that brought together more than 15 000 people, has anchored the 24 Heures Motos even more firmly on the calendar of outstanding sporting events. It’s also proof of the interest in endurance motorbike racing that continues to grow among fans and ordinary spectators alike.
From a sporting point of view the battle was closely-fought and the result to establish the order of the first three remained indecisive right up till the very last minute. The two works Yamahas, nos 94 and 7, battled for first place for a long time until the riders on the GMT 94 Yamaha David Checa, Niccolo Canepa and Mickael Di Meglio scored a glorious victory in the 40th 24 Heures Motos. This performance gave the Japanese make the fourth outright win in the Sarthe in its history. The trio also broke the distance record covering 860 laps in 24 hours, 16 more than the previous one which dated from 2012. It was Checa’s second win in the 24 Heures Motos (first in 2005 already with GMT 94), while Canepa and former grand prix rider and 125cc world champion in 2008 Di Meglio scored their maiden win in the race.
Into second place came the no. 7 Yamaha run by YART-Yamaha, which put on a great show in the Sarthe 24-Hours event. Completing the podium was the no. 11 Kawasaki of Team SRC Kawasaki that made a great comeback after its fall at the start and finished only 45 seconds in front of the no. 1 SERT Suzuki.
In what was a hotly-disputed race Julien Enjolras, Dylan Buisson and Kevin Denis on the no. 4 Kawasaki entered by the Tati Team Beaujolais Racing came out on top in the Superstock category. Into second and third came the no. 96 Yamaha of Moto Ain CRT and the no. 333 Yamaha run by Yamaha Viltaïs Experience. The 100% women’s crew of the Girls Racing team who finished the 24 Heures Motos in 30th position was another great achievement.
There was only one survivor out of the three machines entered in Supertwin, the no. 81 Ducati of the No Limits Special Team Ducati which saw the flag in 37th place overall.
The no. 45 Metiss entered by the Metiss JCL Moto ridden by Christophe Michel, Billy Cornut and Emmanuel Cheron finished 25th overall winning the Experimental category in the 24 Heures Motos for the second year on the bounce. The third round of the FIM Endurance World Championship, the Oschersleben 8 Hours, will take place on 19-20 May in Germany.
The next event for motorbikes on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit is the French Grand Prix on 19 – 21 May.