The 2016 World Endurance Championship title has been claimed by the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT). This season of endurance racing proved to be one full of upsets and down -to-the-wire outcomes, but in the end, it was the Suzuki GSX-R1000 that would claim it all in a hotly contested race.SERT riders Vincent Philippe, Anthony Delhalle and Etienne Masson piloted their faithful GSX-R to success Saturday after a second-place finish behind the GMT94 Yamaha team at the Oschersleben 8-Hour Race in Germany.
With a mere few points separating SERT from the rest of the competition, everyone knew that the race was going to be close. However, the final tallies allowed SERT to eke out victory by a single point ahead of the GMT94 Yamaha team.During the podium celebrations, SERT was joined by Suzuki privateer Team April Motor Motors Events. The independently owned and operated team were the early series favorites, with riders Gregg Black, Alex Cudlin and Gregory Fastre taking an admirable third place overall finish in the series; the team dealt with some unintended issues throughout the day. Fastre’s pace was slowed, after suffering a crash in qualifying but the team and Fastre put up an 11th place finish in Germany, despite the complications.Championships are won by consistency, as the old adage goes and SERT’s title victory is a testament to that fact. At Oschersleben, SERT completed 309 laps, trailing the race victors GMT94 Yamaha by a 21-second margin. During the eight-hour race, SERT made seven pit-stops which soaked up 39.2 minutes, allowing them to claim the title by a single point.When crews descended on the German circuit, SERT sat in fourth place, nine points behind the series leaders Team April Motor Motors Events, and just a single point behind SRC Kawasaki and YART Yamaha – who were eventually forced to retire. GMT94 Yamaha, the runners up in the title chase, were seven points behind SERT. With a points narrow point margin between highly competitive teams, It was anyone’s guess who would claim the title.During practice and qualifying sessions, SERT managed to hug the top of the charts, eventually securing a third place starting position. It was drama filled, with riders such as Gregg Black of April Motors running off track, losing his right foot-peg in a minor crash, then picking his GSX-R up and getting back in the race where he finished his stint sans foot-peg. After Black came into the pits for refueling, the foot-peg was replaced.Drama continued to unfold as some of the leading title challengers dropped out and following the ‘Virtual Championship’ win scenario switching between YART, GMT94, April Motors and SERT, in the end it was SERT and the reliability of the GSX-R1000 that successfully defended the title.Down the wire it came, with YART, GMT94, April Motors and SERT trading places as to who would come out victories. When it was all said and done, it was a GSX-R1000 that brought SERT to the podium, earning them yet another endurance title.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!