Legends use ABS at Le Mans 24-hour

Riders dash to their machines at the start of the race.

JOHN McGuinness, Cameron Donald and Keith Amor, aka the Honda TT Legends, had mixed feelings after completing the legendary Le Mans 24-hour race at the weekend.
After completing 819 laps of the French circuit they claimed fifth place overall in the penultimate round of this year’s Endurance World Championships.
The running start for the event was at 3pm on Saturday and Aussie rider Cameron Donald took charge of the first stint, after the team qualified 10th. By the time he handed over, the team had risen to fifth, a position they hung on to for most of the race, slipping to sixth occasionally during the first half of the race.
Pit stops and refuelling were all carried out slickly and the night section went off smoothly with no big problems.
The team was aboard a Combined ABS-equipped Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. It was the first time an ABS system had been used at world championship level.
By daylight, the Legends were still in a comfortable fifth position, but by mid-morning came under pressure from Ymes Folch Endurance. A quick strategy change saw the team’s quickest rider, Cameron Donald, swap stints with Keith Amor. This paid off and the team hung on to the finish.
Team manager Neil Tuxworth said: “We seem to be good at the 24-hour races! This will have moved us up in the World championship, which is fantastic.
“Of course, the major thing for us is we took the risk of running the Combined ABS system for the first time on a World-level race bike and we are over the moon that we had no problems with it. The riders were very happy and while we’ll obviously keep developing the system to perfect it, for this first time everything has certainly gone very well. Overall, it was a pretty trouble-free race.”
Racing legend John McGuinness commented: “We’ve finished the two biggest races of the EWC season — the Bol d’Or and the Le Mans 24-hour. Le Mans is steeped in history, it’s a massive event and I am proud to be able to say that we have finished it.
“There are 20-odd people in the team and everyone has played a big part to get us to finish fifth here and score some points for the World championship. I must have done about 300 laps and never really put a foot wrong, I just tried to do my best and keep out of trouble. For saying it’s the first time the ABS has been run in a World championship, I’d say we’ve done a pretty good job.”
The team’s speedster at the event, Cameron Donald, gave his thoughts: “It’s all a little bit surreal at the moment. Riding that cool down lap was pretty emotional. Le Mans is a bit like the TT was to me nine or ten years ago, it’s something that I’d only ever dreamt of doing. Not only did I get to start the race, I got to finish the race and as a team we finished fifth, so I’m thrilled. I’m still pinching myself a little bit.
“I want to say a massive thanks to the team for the opportunity and to everyone behind-the-scenes because the amount of work that went into finishing this race was unbelievable. I am glad it’s over though!”
For Keith Amor it was a case of mixed feelings: “I don’t know whether it’s elation or relief! It’s been a tough week, especially for me as I’ve struggled to be honest.
“I need to say a big thank you to Cameron and John has they have carried me to a certain extent. The team has done a great job. To finish fifth here on the new ABS bike is a testament to the whole team and the hard work they put in.
“24 hours is a long time to race. I’m feeling emotional but I’m smiling.”

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