Honda TT Legends ready for the Bol d'Or
The all-new Honda TT Legends team will get its first taste of the 2011 FIM Endurance World Championship this weekend as the series kicks off with the Bol díOr on 16/17 April. Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness, TT and North West 200 victor Steve Plater and road racing specialist Keith Amor will contest the 24 hour race at Magny-Cours, France with Cameron Donald in place as reserve rider.
Fifty-three teams will take part in the 75th Bol díOr event, which has moved from its traditional spot in September to become the opening round of the season for 2011. The Honda TT Legends team is under no illusions that the task ahead is an easy one, but with successful pre-season testing complete they are looking forward to the challenge.
For further information on Honda TT Legends visit the new website www.hondattlegends.com. For up-to-the-minute news and insider views Ė including updates and images through the 24hour race Ė follow @HondaTTLegends on Twitter.
John McGuinness Iíve done a lot of things in my racing career but Iíve never done a full world endurance season, so itís all completely new to me. Pre-season testing has gone very well, weíve put in a lot of laps and weíve all stayed in one piece with no crashes, but to be honest Iím nervous and apprehensive about the first race. Thereís certainly pressure competing against so many accomplished teams on the world stage, but we have a competitive package with a great history so I want to step up my game and ride well.
Steve Plater Itís going to be steep learning curve for the team going into the championship with a 24-hour race Ė we could have done with an 8-hour first off. Having said that, there is a vast amount of experience in the team. Some of the key members have over 25 years experience in EWC and Iíve been endurance racing professionally since 1999. In the past I have mixed road racing and one-off endurance events throughout the season, but this year my focus is solely on the EWC. Testing has been good, the bike has been working well, the team has come together and hopefully when it matters next week we can bring it home and score some points.
Keith Amor This is a brand new thing for me and jumping straight into the 24 hr race is probably not the ideal way to start my World Endurance career! Iím a bit apprehensive, a bit nervous but itís exciting and Iím looking forward to it. Itís going to be a really, really tough challenge but its nice to be working as part of team for each other as opposed to being part of a one-man band. Itís going to be interesting for sure. I plan to ease into it as gently as possible, do safe laps at the outset and make sure I donít let anybody down.
Neil Tuxworth Ė Team Manager We had two objectives during testing Ė to have a reliable machine and for the riders not to crash. We now have over 24 hours clocked on the Fireblade with no major issues. Itís a versatile and dynamic machine that has already proved it can transfer from the smooth short circuits of world championship racing to the bumps and trials of the TT course, so we have no worries there. As for the riders, we completed testing without a single crash so all in all itís been excellent and I couldnít wish for more at this stage.
Iíd say we are in with a fighting chance at the Bol. Nobody here underestimates the challenge ahead and there is a huge amount of pressure on the team, but weíve learned an incredible amount so far. Weíll carry on learning as the year progresses but Iím reasonably happy with where we are. The number one aim is to finish the race Ė you canít get a result without finishing. Long distance racing can throw up all sorts of issues but hopefully weíre in a position where we can deal with them and keep our riders on the track.