Yamaha aiming for record 4th straight win 2nd Title at 41ST Suzuka 8hrs

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. announced the team line-up for this year‘s 41st “Coca-Cola” Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race.

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With the race set to take place from July 26th – 29th at the legendary Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture, Japan, the Yamaha Factory Racing Team will return to challenge for a record-breaking fourth consecutive Suzuka victory.

They will be contesting alongside the Endurance World Championship (EWC) regulars: the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team and the defending EWC Champions, the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team.

Making a sensational debut in 1998, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the YZF-R1 production superbike, and to highlight the occasion the race bikes for all three teams will sport a special red-white livery. The colour scheme is adorned with the iconic “YZF” and “R1” logos of the first-generation R1, as well as a special commemorative 20th anniversary logo. As Yamaha seeks an unprecedented four consecutive wins as well as a second back-to-back EWC title, the slogan for this year‘s Suzuka 8 Hours is “R1evolution: The “R” Evolution Sparking a Revolution”.

The Yamaha Factory Racing Team that secured Yamaha‘s first-ever hat trick of wins at the 8 Hours will once again feature Japanese racing legend Katsuyuki Nakasuga and World Superbike stars Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark. The team will again be led by Wataru Yoshikawa, the manager of Yamaha‘s factory team in the All Japan Road Race Championship.

Riding for the GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team, in their quest for a second straight title, are endurance racing specialist David Checa, former Moto2 and MotoGP rider Mike Di Meglio and 2017 EWC Riders Champion Niccolò Canepa. The French team is currently second in the standings, with just a 10-point margin to first thanks to a fantastic win at the Bol d‘Or, a second place at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring, and a third at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben.

The YART Yamaha Official EWC Team‘s roster to handle pre-race tests and the gruelling eight-hour race features long-time veteran Broc Parkes, 2016 German IDM Superbike Champion Marvin Fritz, former World Superbike racer Max Neukirchner and young Japanese superbike racer Takuya Fujita. Despite some unlucky DNFs, their win at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring puts them 13th in the standings before the race in Suzuka.

Photos: Yamaha Motor Racing Srl

It’s a WorldSBK Brno weekend

Manufacturers profiles from Automotodrom Brno

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Aprilia have won three times here with Max Biaggi: in Race 1 in 2009 and Race 2 in 2010 and 2011. Their six podiums here were also secued by Biaggi, from 2009 to 2011 the Italian Champion always finished in first or second with Aprilia. In 2012 for their last weekend in Brno, Biaggi was again the best Aprilia rider as he recorded a fourth place in Race 2 despite starting only fourteenth.

Like Aprilia, BMW has an Italian rider to thank for their best performances in Brno: as Marco Melandri recorded a double in 2012. Those two wins, in the last two races run here, are the only podium placements for BMW at the Czech track.

Ducati are the most successful manufacturer in Brno, with five wins and 17 podium finishes. The wins span 15 years from the success in 1993’s Race 1 from Carl Fogarty, to 2008 when Troy Bayliss scored a double from pole. In the middle there was another double from Troy Corser, in 1996. In their last weekend here in 2012 Carlos Checa was their fastest rider, with a fourth in Race 1 and a third in Race 2. Interestingly, all the Ducati wins in Brno came from pole.

Honda have won twice here: in 2007’s Race 1, with James Toseland and in 2010’s Race 1, with Jonathan Rea. They are second in the Brno rankings for podiums with 15, to Ducati’s 17. All this success came without the advantage of a single pole position, as the best grid spot for a Honda bike in Brno is a second place, recorded in qualifying in 1996 by Carl Fogarty and in 2006 by James Toseland.

With 2012 as the last race run in Brno, Kawasaki are yet to make a significant impact on the records. They have won once here, back in 1993’s Race 2 with Scott Russell, and climbed on the podium six times – the last one in 2012, when Tom Sykes and Loris Baz were on the podium three times out of possible four in the races. In 2012 Sykes recorded the only Kawasaki pole position at Brno. The 2012 Brno podiums for Kawasaki were the first ones since the 2001 Sugo round.

Yamaha holds the record for pole positions here: four to Ducati’s three. They recorded this feat in just five years: from 2006 to 2010 they qualified on pole position four times out of possible five. Yamaha have won three times here with three different riders: Noriyuki Haga in 2005 Race 2; Ben Spies in 2009 Race 2 and Marco Melandri in 2011 Race 1. Yamaha so far have not only been the fastest bike in qualifying, with the aforementioned four poles, but also the fastest bike in the races, as the fastest race lap went eight times to the YZF-R1 from 2005 to 2011, matching the same, record, value for this track set by Ducati from 1993 to 2012. (WorldSBK)

Yamaha Teams Gear Up for 8 Hours of Oschersleben

Following on from the YART Yamaha Official EWC Team’s victory at the last round of the 2017/2018 FIM Endurance World Championship in Slovakia.

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Broc Parkes, Marvin Fritz and Max Neukirchner will be looking to make it two wins out of two at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben this weekend. The GMT94 Yamaha Official EWC Team made it a Yamaha 1-2 as they crossed the line in second at the 8 Hours of Slovakia Ring and the reigning champions head to Germany firmly in the hunt to defend their title in second overall, just one point behind the overall leaders.

It has been a season of ups and downs for the GMT94 team. Victory at the Bol d’Or was followed up by an excellent damage limitation exercise in Le Mans when the team managed to finish in tenth despite two major crashes. A stunning battle with YART in Slovakia saw them finish in second to record a Yamaha 1-2 and recover the points they lost from Le Mans, meaning they arrive in Germany second in the overall standings and just one point behind the leaders F.C.C. TSR Honda France.

Determined to record back-to-back titles, GMT94 will once again line up with Spanish endurance legend David Checa, former Italian MotoGP rider Niccolò Canepa, and 2008 125cc World Champion Mike Di Meglio taking on all-comers on the Yamaha YZF-R1. Winners of the 8 Hours of Oschersleben for the last three seasons in a row, they head to Germany looking to make it four out of four at what could prove to be a crucial penultimate round of the season in regards to the championship.

YART bounced back from two DNFs at the first two rounds of the season to take a sensation victory in Slovakia, their first since 2009, and are looking forward to riding at the team’s home race. Experienced Australian Broc Parkes, and talented Germans Marvin Fritz and  Max Neukirchner make up the team once more as they look to carry this form into Germany. The team finished second in the race last year after a superb duel with the GMT94 boys and they will be looking to build on their scintillating pace at the last round in an effort to finish the 2017/2018 season as strongly as possible and head into the 2018/2019 as title favourites.

This weekend will also see the culmination of the 2017/2018 Superstock Championship, with the Moto AIN Yamaha Team currently third overall in the standings with 26 points, just ten behind the leaders, and the 3ART-MOTO Team 95 Yamaha squad in fourth with 24 points.

The action kicks off at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben with free practice starting on Wednesday, qualifying takes place on Thursday and Friday, with Saturday’s race due to start at 1 pm local time (CEST).

The young Lyon was a racer at heart


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ACU Events Ltd regrets to confirm that Adam Lyon, 26, from Helensburgh in Scotland was killed in an incident during the Supersport 1 Race today at the Isle of Man TT Races. The accident occurred at Casey’s, just after the 28th mile of the course, on the 3rd lap of the race.

Adam was a newcomer to the TT this year. He qualified in 24th place for today’s race with a fastest lap of 122.261 which he improved to 122.636mph on the opening lap of today’s race. His fastest lap of the TT course – 123.443 – was in Friday’s Superbike qualifying session.

Adam lapped at 122.499 as a newcomer at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2017, finishing 11thin the second Supersport race. He finished sixth in the 2010 Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship with podiums at Croft and Silverstone.

ACU Events Ltd wishes to pass on their deepest sympathy to Adam’s family and friends.



Graham Jarvis wins Erzbergrodeo Hare Scramble


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Riding a fast yet calculated race, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Graham Jarvis has won the 2018 Erzbergrodeo Hare Scramble, round two of the 2018 World Enduro Super Series.

Reinforcing his reputation as the best hard enduro rider of all time, Jarvis paced himself perfectly throughout the gruelling race to arrive at the finish 41 seconds ahead of eventual runner-up Jonny Walker. Starting off in his usual steady style, the 43-year-old soon began to pick off the competition, eventually taking the lead at around one-hour and 45-minute mark at the unbelievably challenging climb named Green Hell.

From there Jarvis never looked back, the subsequent obstacles offering no major challenges. Despite a late charge from eventual runner-up Walker, Jarvis crossed the line in front and secured his fourth victory at the event.

Early leader Billy Bolt rode a brave race, ultimately finishing in a strong fifth position to claim important World Enduro Super Series points in the process. The young Brit was the second rider to arrive at the treacherous Green Hell section, but after offering help to a fellow competitor Billy expended a little too much energy with a small mistake dropping him back down to the bottom of the hill. Finally clearing the obstacle, the XL Lagares winner carried on successfully to the finish – arriving exhausted but in good spirits. Bolt now lies equal second in the WESS Championship standings, tied with team-mate Jarvis.

Graham Jarvis: “I can’t believe it, I am so happy to take the win. I started off pretty steady and as the dust was so bad it was a little dangerous to push on too much. After a few difficult hills I started to get into more of a rhythm and I was feeling good as I came into Carl’s Dinner. As I started to catch the guys in front I knew that I had a chance to take the win. Green Hell was tough, I would have liked to have ridden a little further up as I had to push quite a lot. I just hung on, despite cramping up in my arms. To cross the finish line first feels amazing.”

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker finished as runner-up. The podium result moves him into first place in the World Enduro Super Series standings.

Jonny Walker: “That was a tough race but I am happy to finish second and take the lead in the WESS standings. I didn’t get the best of starts and lost a bit of time in the dust. Taddy made a mistake and I got out in front, but then Manni and Billy passed me on a hill when I messed up a little. Their speed was way too quick and I knew I had to pace myself. Carl’s Dinner was tiring, but I kept things steady and tried to minimise any mistakes. I managed to clear Green Hell ok and came out of there in second. The rest of the race from then on was less tricky and I pushed on as hard as I could but couldn’t quite catch Graham before the finish. I’m happy with second and it’s good for the championship but it would have been nice to take the win.”

Dan Kneen passes away following incident at IOMTT

Dan had an accident at Churchtown on the first lap of the session and died at the scene of the incident.

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ACU statement:

ACU Events Ltd regrets to confirm that Dan Kneen, 30, from Onchan in the Isle of Man died this evening following injuries sustained during the Superbike qualifying session on the Isle of Man.

Dan made his mountain course debut at the Manx Grand Prix in 2008 and won an unprecedented three races – the Junior, the Newcomers C and the Ultra Lightweight MGP Races.

He achieved his first TT podium in last year’s Superstock Race, finishing third in the Superstock TT Race. He has a fastest official lap of 130.347mph which he set in last year’s Superstock Race and recorded a lap of 132.258mph (17:06.994) in last night’s Superbike qualifying session.

ACU Events Ltd wishes to pass on their deepest sympathy to Dan’s partner Leanne, his family and his many friends in the road racing community and beyond. (IOMTT)

Van der Mark shocks Donington with first WorldSBK win

Michael van der Mark threw out the script for the Prosecco DOC UK Round with a sensational ride, flying from sixth on the grid to his first ever win in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship.

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No non-British rider had won at Donington Park since 2012, and from the Free Practice sessions and Superpole, few would have predicted that would change today in Race 1.

Van der Mark (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) is the first Dutch rider to win in the top class, and the first win for a Yamaha rider since Algarve 2011, Race 2. The Dutchman left both Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) shocked and fighting for the remaining podium places, with the Northern Irishman in second and ‘Superpoleman’ in third.

The psychological battle between the KRTs, leading the first row, started right from the start. Rea made it ahead at the lights, with the pair squabbling through sector 1. Sykes struck back three laps later at the Old Hairpin, but went wide at the Melbourne loop. Two laps later, an aggressive Sykes made it back in front, same move, same spot.

The Kawasakis were poised – and had been widely predicted – to dominate Donington weekend, but van der Mark threw a spanner in the works immediately, the only rider able to keep up with Rea and Sykes after passing his teammate Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team). But stalking the KRTs was not enough for the flying Dutchman – Rea went wide at Melbourne in lap 13, the same he’d done a few laps earlier, and van der Mark shot ahead into second.

A couple of laps later, he attacked again. Van der Mark stuck the nose in at Melbourne, yet again, closed the line over Sykes, and blasted away in the lead. But the battle was far from over here: Rea picked his teammate’s pocket around Schwartz with 6 laps to go, and shot after van der Mark, smelling blood. Yet today it was not to be for the defending champion, the Yamaha rider making no mistakes and meeting the flag.

Behind the sensational podium battle, Lowes finished in fourth, behind his teammate but scoring a fantastic finish at his home race. He will also have the consolation prize of leading the line at Race 2. Lorenzo Savadori (Milwaukee Aprilia) finally translated his great qualifying and free practice performances into a great race finish, making it in at Donington in fifth, ahead of his teammate, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia), in sixth.

With the Kawasaki, Yamaha and Aprilia bikes all phenomenal ahead, it was a sorry day for Ducati, with just Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) making it into the top ten, in eighth position. Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) crashed with five laps to go, and goes into Race 2 with no points.

Loris Baz (GULF Althea BMW Racing Team) made it in in seventh, with Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) finishing ninth following a thrilling battle with his teammate at Donington, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who went to the floor on the final lap. Closing the top ten was Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) on his full WorldSBK return after injury. (WorldSBK)

Best qualifying results have NRT gunning for tomorrow’s win

NRT World Supersport Team have had one of their best weekends in the Championship to date with Jules Cluzel claiming Pole Position and Thomas Gradinger starting in a personal  best P11 and with the pace to improve on that.

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We’ve had the pleasure of being guests of the NRT Team this weekend at Donington. It’s been a mixed weekend of wet and dry conditions so far but Cluzel has been consistent in the top four despite going with a different tyre choice to all the others riders in FP3 this morning and stayed competitive throughout the session.

Meanwhile Gradinger went into SP1 making his mark immediately taking 2nd place guaranteeing his first ever place in Sp2 this afternoon. Gaining pace throughout the day on his first time out at the Donington Park Circuit, Gradinger settled for a P11 start, his best ever start position, for tomorrow race.

Cluzel fought his way through SP2 to finish with a time of 1’30.270, 0.192 seconds ahead of Mahias and 0.362 seconds ahead of Cortese closing out the front row.

Jules is looking for a nat-trick of wins tomorrow and Thomas is gaining pace all the time looking very capable of a top ten finish.


NRT looking for 3-in-a-row at Donington Park Circuit

Jules Cluzel and the NRT team are gunning for a third win in a row as the FIM World Supersport Championship moves to Donington this weekend.

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Last time out at the Italian round Cluzel ran a great race from the start. A bit of luck, good pace and strategy saw him take the win ahead of Caricasulo and De Rosa with Cortese and Krummenacher closing out the top 5.

Cluzel has taken two back-to-back wins in the Dutch and Italian rounds, the only rider to take two wins so far this season, picking up on a start of season that was hindered by some bad luck.

Placing 4th overall in the championship Cluzel is looking on form as NRT continue in their rookie year on the Yamaha R6. Currently only 6 points behind championship leader Randy Krummenacher and 2 points behind 2nd placed Lucas Mahias there is everything to play for this weekend at the Donington Park Circuit with Krummenacher, Mahias and Cluzel all very much on winning form.

NRT sitting 3rd overall in the team standings. Their entry into WorldSSP this year has been a real leap of faith and its paying off with Cluzel a regular podium fighter and Thomas Gradinger regularly having top 10 pace.

Gradinger, on his rookie year in WorldSSP, finished 12th in Italy and is currently 10th overall in the championship. Clearly making progress as the season continues he is chipping away at his times and closing on those riders that are just ahead of him.

We’ll be bringing you updates in paddock at Donington Park this weekend so stay tuned for more.



Results from Rounds 3 and 4 of the Indian Motorcycle Hooligan Series

A double-header of rounds at Peterborough Arena over the weekend saw podium joy for Indian riders Leah Tokelove and Lee Kirkpatrick, opening up an epic championship battle, that will be decided at DirtQuake in August.

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DTRA flat-track riders from across the UK and Europe filled the Peterborough Panthers paddock with an increasingly professional array of Hooligan class race machines, which are modified twin cylinder road bikes of 750cc and above, demonstrating the increasing popularity of this very accessible race series.

Krazy Horse’s Indian Scout Sixty Hooligan machines stayed at the sharp end all weekend, with Chris Hatton, Jonathan Falkman, Lee Kirkpatrick and Leah Tokelove all maintaining strong results across the heats.

In Saturday’s final, Tokelove pushed for the lead from second place on the start gate before falling back to fourth after running wide. She quickly regained second despite stiff competition. Meanwhile Lee Kirkpatrick carved himself from 6th on the grid to 4th overall. Tokelove maintained her composure to bring the Indian Scout home in 2nd and gain a further 16 Championship points.

Racing commenced again on Sunday afternoon (Round 4) with just three points separating the top three riders, although no one could have predicted a dramatic twist as Lee Kirkpatrick suffered a punctured rear tyre just moments after convincingly winning his final heat; the Krazy Horse team hustled to remove and repair the tyre in record time with the day’s final race looming moments away.

Kirkpatrick and Tokelove lined up on the front row, with Chris Hatton and Jonathan Falkman further down the field. Kirkpatrick maintained the hole-shot and got away with a stunningly fast start, while Tokelove was caught in a wheel-to-wheel, elbow-to-elbow battle on the outside line before an electrical gremlin took her out of competition. Kirkpatrick powered on to open up his advantage and claim his first winner’s plate of the series and 20 Championship points.

Between the races, Indian Motorcycle also laid-on a very special surprise for audiences of the DTRA’s ‘live stream’ and the MCN Festival crowds at Peterborough, by unleashing the American Flat Track Indian FTR750 for the first time outside the US, piloted in turn by Johnny Lewis, Chris Walker and Leah Tokelove.

The next stop for the Indian Motorcycle Hooligan Series is the decider at DirtQuake, Arena Essex, UK on Saturday 18th August.

Before DirtQuake, Indian’s Hooligan riders will be appearing at the Wheels and Waves, El Rollo Flat Track Race at the Hippodrome de San Sebastián, Spain on Saturday 16th June.


Photo: Jacqueline @barkingheadsphotography