Reigning and two-time Hindle Pro Sport Bike CSBK national champion Kenny Riedmann will compete aboard an Atomic Motorsport Suzuki GSX-R1000 this weekend in the Superstock class at the famed 24 Hour Bol D’Or event at Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France.
Riedmann’s best lap in the second qualifying session put his team 21st overall, and 11th in class, for the start of the race on Saturday, September 19. His effort is considered a strong debut since Riedmann is new to this type of racing, as well as the bike, team and venue.
Riedmann is expected to be the “clean-up hitter,” riding third in the three-man rotation, usually with worn tires. Each stint is expected to last in the 45 minute range, the fuel range poor at Circuit Paul Richard thanks to the mandated 24 litre gas tank and very high speed straightaway. Regular Riedmann tuner Scott Cameron is on hand from Canada to assist with the Atomic Suzuki program.
Riedmann indicated through his father, former racer Roland, that the bike is detuned compared to his regular Mopar CSBK Superbike Kawasaki, no surprise given the demanding nature of the day and night event. The two-time Hindle Pro Sport Bike Champ for Triumph also had to adjust to starting each session with the machine fully loaded with fuel.
This year’s event marks the 79th running of the Bol D’Or, a French classic, returning to the Mediterranean coast near Le Castellet. Originally held at Le Mans, the event moved to Circuit Paul Richard in the 1970s, then more recent to Mangy-Cours. This is the first time the Bol has run at its most famous host venue, Paul Richard, in 15 years.
The venue is 5.861 kms in length, including a famously long Mistral straight than covers 1.3 km and allows the big bikes to run on full throttle for 13 seconds. The track is famous for warm weather and a crazy party atmosphere.
Riedmann’s team, listed on the score sheets as “Atomic 68,” includes regular FIM Endurance World Championship competitors Stephane Egea and Giovanni Bussei. In qualifying, the three turned best laps within a few tenth of each other: Riedmann at 2:02.6, Egea at 2:02.9 and Bussei with a lap at 2:03 flat.
At the front of the 51-team field is the works Kawasaki SRC Superbike class squad of famous veterans Gregory Leblanc/Mathieu Lagrive/Fabian Foret took pole at 1:58.2, followed by the Yamaha factory entry of Yamaha Monster YART, ridden by Broc Parkes/Max Neukirchner/Sheridan Morais at 1:58.490, Yamaha GMT94 third overall with a lap at 1:58.8. Honda Endurance Racing will start fourth while the factory Suzuki is fifth, followed by two BMWs, the second the top Superstock entry at seventh overall.