EWC 8 hours of Suzuka : A ‘battle royale’ with the weather and track


The eight-hour Suzuka race—the big one—is a challenge that intimidates even the fiercest riders and makes for the perfect finale for this year’s EWC Championship.



The Suzuka challenge is always twofold: First, there are the conditions, which at this time of year are very hot and very humid and demand a lot from the riders. And then there’s the track itself. With a length of 5.8 kms and its fast and technical curves culminating in a figure eight, it is one of the longest and most demanding courses.


On top of that, and mostly due to the significance of this race, a lot of factory teams not competing in a full season of the EWC make the effort to compete in this eight-hour battle. Also, for regular teams, the race in Suzuka is one of the most important—not just because it’s the season finale, but mainly because at the end of the race there are 150% of the regular points to score, which could effectively change the outcome of the championship.



EWC 8 hours of Suzuka : A ‘battle royale’ with the weather and track

This year’s event, however, included another challenge: A typhoon was expected to strike the Suzuka area during the race weekend, and it did. The night before the race, torrential rainfall and winds of up to 170 km/h caused significant damage to the infrastructure of the track, but an impressive tour de force from the staff and crew at the track made sure everything was repaired. At 11:30 a.m. local time, the green flag dropped.


The eight-hour endurance battle, which was to end at nightfall, was riddled with rain showers followed by a quickly drying track because of the high temperatures. This meant a lot of riders got into trouble because of the weather, getting caught out in the rain while riding on slick tires. After six hours of racing, no one knew who had the lead. Team Honda, Kawasaki Team green and the Yamaha Factory Racing team were constantly battling for the lead. When night fell and the chequered flag was waved, it was the Yamaha team that came out on top for the fourth consecutive time, confirming their place as kings of Suzuka.




EWC 8 hours of Suzuka : A ‘battle royale’ with the weather and track
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