Bol d'Or 2023 - 14-17/09/2023
IN 100 WORDS: Tony Zind rode solo to win the first Bol d’Or on a five-kilometre circuit of dirt roads close to Paris in 1922. For the 100th anniversary race in 2022, Florian Alt, Erwan Nigon and Steven Odendaal joined forces to triumph on Circuit Paul Ricard’s 5.673-kilometre layout. Since the first edition, seven venues have staged the race. Paul Ricard held its first Bol d’Or in 1979 and the 2023 event, the EWC season finale, will be the 30th at the track. At more than one kilometre in length, the Mistral Straight has turned the race into an exciting battle of attrition.
*The Bol d’Or was first held in 1922 on a five-kilometre circuit of dirt roads between Vaujours, Clichy-sous-Bois and Livry-Gargan.
*Back then it was more a question of survival than an out-and-out race with one rider per bike allowed and no stops except for refuelling.
*Competitors had to wait until 1954 before they could count on a team-mate with a third rider not permitted until 1978.
*While the Bol d’Or celebrated turning 100 in 2022, the event event was actually the 85th running and the 29th edition to take place at Circuit Paul Ricard.
*World War II, waning public interest and the COVID-19 pandemic respectively resulted in no Bol d’Or between 1940-46, 1961-68 and 2020.
EXPERT VIEW BY FLORIAN MARINO:
“This race is more tough for the bikes because we have such a long straight with full throttle, which is obviously not the best for the engine for 24 hours. After that it’s not such a difficult track, it’s a pretty flowing track but you need good references on the track to understand where to brake and also understand the mistral, as we say in France, the wind, which can adjust the braking points. If it’s dry we can manage but you need to understand how the wind can help you in some way and understand when you have to be careful and this is down to experience. I do some extra work in the gym to strengthen my neck because you can feel more tension on the neck with the long straight and the wind. But it’s quite a fun track with a lot of places to overtake which is good for the race.”
2022: Viltaïs Racing Igol (Florian Alt, Erwan Nigon, Steven Odendaal) 718 laps
2021: Yoshimura SERT Motul (Gregg Black, Xavier Siméon, Sylvani Guintoli) 704 laps
2019: Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (Vincent Philippe, Étienne Masson, Gregg Black) 313 laps
2018: F.C.C. TSR Honda France (Freddy Foray, Josh Hook, Mike Di Meglio) 698 laps
2017: GMT94 Yamaha (David Checa, Niccolò Canepa, Mike Di Meglio) 683 laps
CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD
RDN8 - 2760 Route des Hauts du Camp 83330 Le Castellet, France
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team – Illya Mykhalchyk
ERC Endurance-Ducati – Xavi Forés