The early morning was looking pretty good at Spa-Francorchamps. The N°1 Suzuki (Yoshimura SERT Motul) was back in the top four after its technical problems during the night, while the N°37 BMW and the N°7 Yamaha were engaged in a real Grand Prix race for first position. A nail-biting duel, lasted twenty minutes, but ended abruptly when the engine blew on the Yamaha (Yart Yamaha Official Team EWC), perhaps a result of pushing so hard to make up the two laps they had been behind.
Then, shortly before 8.00 am the rain came. It was light at first, allowing the riders to stick with their slick tyres, but it surprised everyone when it suddenly intensified. Within two laps, the N°5 (F.C.C. TSR Honda France) crashed out of 6th position. Then came a second crash, featuring the N°1 Suzuki at the end of the Combes straight. The Superstock class riders fared no better with the N°33 Kawasaki (TEAM 33 LOUIT APRIL MOTO) going out at the Source hairpin and the N°18 Yamaha (TEAM 18 SAPEURS POMPIERS CMS MOTOSTORE) ending its race further down the circuit. The N°65 (Motobox Krelmer Racing) also went down.
Inevitably the safety car came out and most of the riders were able to return to their pits to carry out repairs, with the exception of the N°33 (TEAM 33 LOUIT APRIL MOTO) which was leading the Superstock class and was forced to retire.
The race resumed after a ten minute respite from open racing behind the safety car, with drivers all out of position. The N°1 Suzuki was hit on the way up and fell back to 5th position, behind the N°4 Kawasaki (TATI TEAM BERINGER RACING) and the N°5 Honda (F.C.C. TSR Honda France) who came back from a chain problem during the night. Avoiding all the drama has been the N°37 BMW, which has managed to stay out in front and ultimately to benefit from the withdrawal of the N°7 Yamaha to be alone in the lead, eight laps out in front.
With four hours to go, that places the BMW N°37 and its riders Reiterberger, Mykhalchyk and Guarnoni in an ideal position to win its first 24 hours race. But beware, the last hours are always particularly tricky.
EWC standings after 20 hours of racing
- 1. BMW N°37 (BMW MOTORRAD ENDURANCE WORLD TEAM)
- 2. Kawasaki N°4 (TATI TEAM BERINGER RACING) + 8 laps
- 3. Honda N°5 (F.C.C. TSR Honda France) + 11 laps
- 4. Yamaha N°77 (Wojcik Racing Team EWC 77) +12 laps
- 5. Suzuki N°1 (Yoshimura SERT Motul) + 12 laps
SST standings after 20 hours of racing
- 1. Yamaha N°94 (TEAM LH RACING)
- 2. Yamaha N°18 (TEAM 18 SAPEURS POMPIERS CMS MOTOSTORE)
- 3. Yamaha N°66 (OG MOTORSPORT BY SARAZIN)
- 4. Kawasaki N°23 (TEAM NORMANDIE MOTOSPORT)
- 5. Yamaha N°121 (FALCON RACING)