Motor cycling, and the French team, Jean-Claude Chemarin and Christian Leon ridding a 1000cc Hondahave won the 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans.
Motor cycling, and the French team, Jean-Claude Chemarin and Christian Leon ridding a 1000cc Hondahave won the 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans. They completed the 736 laps,on Sunday (18th September) at an average of over 136 kilometres (nearly 85 miles) per hour.
Sixty-five riders made the traditional Le Mans start, in the world's most taxing endurance race for motor bikes. By the end of the 24 hours, 41 of the contestants had dropped out almost two thirds of the field.
After only forty minutes, a Honda entered by British team Stan Woods and Roger Marshall caught fire and was out of the race. Hand built, it had cost around forty thousand pounds (about seventy thousand dollars). British Honda's other works machine, shared by phil Read and Tony Rutter, was going well until it blew a cylinder head stud,when lying third. Although the pit crew worked feverishly to rebuild the engine, the riders had lost too much time.
The Honda France team were pressed in the early stages of the race by Yamaha, and later by Godier Kawasaki The response from Christian Leon was to chip a full eight seconds off his previous lap records. By the early hours of the morning the French pair had notched up a considerable lead. Then Leon fell, breaking his machine's frame. But drilled, bolted and braced, the Honda was fit to race on. A measure of the race's excitement was the one hundred and sixty thousand spectators who were watching in the early hours of the race's excitement was the one hundred and sixty thousand spectators who were watching in the early hours of the morning.
Although the French pair were several laps clear of their nearest rivals, the excitement grew. To see a French rider first across the finishing line was what most of the crowd had come for.
And almost before Jean-Claud? Chemarin did cross the line, the crowd had surrounded him. Some riders were unable to finish their last lap because of the fans on the track. But it was an impressive victory. On their 977cc Honda Chemarin and Leon completed 3,235.46 kilometres (2.022.16 miles) at an average sped of 136.61 kilometre (84.69 miles) per hour. Chemarin now tops the championship table with 39 points - so it was a double celebration for him and his team Leon.