24 Heures Motos, Le Mans, France – 7-9 April 2016 – Results

IHRO returns to Le Mans after a 13 year break and is delighted to have been invited to be a support event for the world famous 24 Heures Motos race of Le Mans.

The race will be run on the 4.185 km Bugatti Circuit which is a permanent race track located within Circuit des 24 Heures, named after Ettore Bugatti. The circuit uses a part of the larger circuit as well a separate, purpose-built section. The sections of track on the Bugatti Circuit that are on the Circuit des 24 Heures include the Ford Chicane at the end of the lap, the pit complex, and the straight where the iconic Dunlop Tyres bridge is located. The circuit then turns right, away from the 24 hours car circuit and twists behind the paddock area to return to the main circuit before the start line. It is an enhoyable and chellenging track offering numerous styles of bend over a small variation in circuit height.

Possibly one of the best spectator supported events of the current era, the atmosphere at the meeting is amazing and sees upwards of 100,000 passionate fans who party hard all weekend.

The circuit hosts the MotoGP event as well as the 24 Heures Motos.
Race Report
By Graham Boothby
The dominating feature of our season opener at Le Mans was the weather !.

The first official practice session on Thursday was red-flagged after 15 minutes due to hailstones on parts of the circuit, Due to time constraints this proved to be the end of the session.

However nearly everybody managed to set a time with Lancelot Unissart on his Godet Egli Grey Flash showing his early intentions with a practice time 3.5 seconds faster than the next man, previous IHRO Le Mans winner Bruno Leroy on his standard framed Godet Grey Flash with Ian Steltner on his Seeley G50 in a creditable third place some 3 seconds adrift of Bruno. In the IHRO1 350 class Vincent Rouanet was flying with an excellent 4th place overall behind Steltner, Joe Ackroyd on John Oldfield’s Aermacchi was 2nd in class with Raymond Duriez on his Aermacchi 3rd. In the IHRO2 class, fastest was Raf Blanckaert on his Paton ahead of Alain Vandriessche on his Paton with Rob Van Teulingen on his Egli Drixton Honda third. The Friday session started off even worse than the Thursday, with the red flag again being displayed for hailstones after only one lap ! The riders sheltered in front of the 24hours garages until a shortened session was set off after a 20 minute delay. By this time, many had given up and returned to the paddock so only 14 riders posted a qualifying lap in this session with Alex Sinclair the fastest on his Godet Egli Grey Flash, Steltner was just behind him in second place but some 18 seconds slower than his dry time form the previous day.
The race at 10.30 on Saturday morning started in the dry with Steltner getting a flying start from the front row closely perused by Unissart, Leroy and John Cronshaw on his Goldstar. Ales Sinclair’s run of bad luck continued as he came into the pit lane after the sighting lap to remount his loose carburettor, he finally got away after the race had started supported by a huge cheer from the massive grandstand crowd, unfortunately his race was soon over and he retired again with the same problem after only one lap.

By the time the riders returned on their first lap, the positions had changed with Unissart ahead of Leroy and Cronshaw up into 3rd ahead for Steltner, then came the 2 Patons with Blanckaert having the advantage from Vandriessche, these positions remained fairly constant until it started to rain, hard, but happily without hailstones this time, a number of riders retired as the track got wet and the air temperature dropped to 6 degrees. Those who had practiced in the rain on Friday began to benefit from their experience and Steltner caught and passed Cronshaw who later retired, from that point it was a case of self-preservation and riding to the finish. Steve Parrott on his Aermacchi won the IHRO1 350 class from Jack Scrivener on his Aermacchi by just over a second with Martin Hudson a fine third on his 250 Motobi. Antoine Poiret used his love of wet weather riding to reduce his Ducati’s power deficiency problem to finish an excellent 10th overall in his first major international race to win the Godet Young Rider award.
The win by Unissart and the playing of the French national anthem was very well received by the patriotic crowd, and Unissart’s accolade was well deserved, an excellent ride in dreadful conditions.

From Le Mans we move on to Spa in july, where we hope the weather will be kinder.
Download Race Results Le Mans 2016