European Vintage Endurance Championship – The start in Paul Ricard

VIntage Endurance Start Paul Ricard lowAfter a 2014 season full of twists, the riders of the European Classic Series met again at the track of Paul Ricard in Castellet for the opening round of the 2015 season.

After the qualification sessions we found the title holders, the Belgian riders Richard Hubin and Grégory Fastré in pole postion, followed by the English Team Sweatshop Phase One, with Hugh Brasher, Stéphane Mertens and Ian Simpson and the Italians Giorgio Cantalupo and Cristiano Ascanio from team Taurus.
When the French flag announced the start of the four-hour race, team Taurus signed for the holeshot and took the lead after the first lap, staying in that position for 10 laps. Unfortunately, the young Italian rider was too eager, causing the GSX 1100 R to blow up its engine and leaving the team with no other option than to abandon in the 24th lap. The same path was set out for the Kawasaki number 2 from Team Hampe, with Christian Haquin, Nicolas De Dieuleveult and Bruno Langlois. The Suzuki of Team Monex Europe (Nick Edgeley and Kasey Wyatt) wasn’t even able to leave the stands due to mechanical troubles.
Team 85 Classic had to face some real misfortune: a crash in the first laps caused the Kawasaki rider to return to the box to repair the machine and then he still had to abandon after 42 laps. The BSA Rob North P&M from Team Hercberg Carthago (Andreas Kalmar, George Hogton-Rusling and Gary Thwaites) also had some mechanical issues which made the rider return to the box via the safety lane after which they also had to abandon.
While most of the riders returned to their boxes after 45 minutes for the mandatory pit stop, some teams forgot about this rule and got a 30 seconds Stop & Go penalty, for instance the German team TT Racing Black Forest (Bruno Arzner eandStefan Merkens), who were at that time in the top three.
In the front, the European champions had some clutch troubles with their Suzuki Morena and shared the leadership with the Moto Guzzi from Team Moto Bel’ (Christophe Charles-Artigues and Laurent Sleurs) and Team Sweatshop Phase One.
As for the Classic 1000, the Kawasaki Segoni Special from the Italian team Scuderia Officine Toscane (Emiliano Bellucci and Oreste Zaccarelli), which started at the end of the start grid, climbed its way up to the 8th position after 4 laps when mechanical troubles occurred and they were forced back to the 22th position. They then made a beautiful comeback and finished 8th in the general ranking, followed by the AML Racing Team from Pierre d’Imbleval and Richard Weber and the German team Autohaus Sellmann with Erich Sellmann, Gerhard Ludwig and Sebastian Basse. In the 750 TT category, the Germans of the Team Capelli Belli (Eckhard Struck, Manfred Sieg and Robert Bohmhauer) finished 23rd in the general ranking as the only representatives in their class with their Ducati Verlicchi TT1.
In the top 5 we saw Armor Classic Bike ( Yannick Le Gaudu and Yannick Mizera) and Roadrunner Team (Henk van der Mark and Dirk Brand) ride a very regular race finishing respectively 3rd and 4th in the general ranking. The 5th place was for the Swiss riders of the Bolliger Classic Endurance Team (Marcel Kellenberger and Andy Stierli) after a very nice battle with the Italians of Braghi Corse (Duilio Damiani and Giancarlo Rossi), who made a mistake in the last fifteen minutes of the race.
Also note the very nice comeback of Segale Classic (Walo Bertschinger and Dario Tosolini), who started in the 21st position but climbed its way up to a 6th place and the Belgian team Real Dholda Friends (Gian Mertens and Willy de Neef) who started last, got a Stop & Go, and still finished 12th. The same goes for RPM 83 –GWCRT – Sun Moto who almost got in the top 10. The only female team (Patricia Audebert and Karine Sliz), finished 14th in the general ranking.
After this first successful round, the teams and riders look forward to meet again at the track of Spa-Francorchamps on July 3rd, 4th and 5th.
General ranking
1. Team Force; 2. Sweatshop Phase One; 3. Armor Classic Bike; 4. Roadrunner Team; 5. Bolliger Classic Endurance; 
6. Team Segale Classic; 7. Neate Racing; 8. Scuderia Officine Toscane (Classic 1000); 9.Red Fox Ride 4 Fun; 10. Moto Bel’; 11. GWCRT – RPM 83 – Sun Moto; 12. Real Dholda Friends; 13. Team Classic Suzuki; 14. RPM 83 – GWCRT; 15. Baloo Racing Team; 16. AML Racing; 17. Projekt 34; 18. Poweracing – Japauto Club; 19. CB 750 Club; 20. Autohaus Sellmann (Classic 1000); 21. Team SCERT; 22. Team Vision Plus; 23. Capelli Belli; 24. DD Moto Team; 
25. Nocki Team;
26. Racer Garage; 27. Eos-Neate Racing 2

Full results on FIM Europe Website: