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Ups and Downs for Ward at Bol d’Or
Ups and Downs for Ward at Bol d’Or

Tom Ward had a rollercoaster of a weekend in the Bol d’Or from the Circuit Paul Ricard last weekend.

Following the weekend, Tom brings us up-to-date with the race weekend with his view from behind the visor.

What a rollercoaster of a weekend, we had a flawless build up to the race with everything going to plan and a mega qualifying!

We weren’t sure if 55s would be possible with the speed deficit of the Suzuki on the 1.2 mile back straight (around 15/25kph down on most other manufacturers, which equates to about 1-2 seconds per lap) but I managed to do the fastest ever stock Suzuki lap around the Paul Ricard circuit 1.55.8 which lasted around 40minutes before my team mate Eemeli Lahti pipped me by 0.1 my ideal was quicker though…. not that I’m bitter at all.

Eemeli started the race in mixed conditions and led the race for the first 20 minutes before he had to pit for dry tyres, we battled in and out of a podium spot for the first 6/7 hours.

Each stint was around 50 minutes with Eemeli on new tyres to begin with then Tom O with the same set of tyres and then me to finish with them to try and capitalise on time in the pits with less tyre changes. We all agreed before the race this was the best strategy! Unfortunately in the night we had a mechanical problem with the quick shifter bracket breaking costing us around nine minutes in total putting us back outside of the top 10, at this point in the race it was tough mentally and physically to find motivation.

All three of us had our low points but luckily we had a great crew of people around us to pick us back up and fight on.

Then in the early hours of the AM Tom O had a small crash which he nearly saved but unfortunately had to return to the pits to repair the bike to continue, this cost another 10 minutes.

By this point we were all in a bit of a hole but kept plugging away trying to eat and drink, whilst falling asleep getting massages from our hero physio Alex, throughout the whole race all three of us were consistently in the 58s matching the leaders pace.

With three hours to go we struck more bad luck, unfortunately Tom O suffering the brunt of it again, losing the front on oil that was dropped from a bike along with about 8/9 other riders at the fastest corner on the track! Again he managed to get back on the bike and back to the pits.

You can imagine by this point the three of us felt like giving up but we kept going to the end, the bike bent and battered we crossed the line eighth in the Superstock class.

Nearly 30 minutes lost with all our problems which without them would have put us in contention for the podium. Even though the result wasn’t what I felt we deserved, I am so proud of our team and Tom O / Eemeli for not giving up and seeing it through to the end.

Sometimes this is how the endurance races go. We ended up seventh in the FIM Endurance World Championship EWC standings only 11 points fromthird place.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone in the TRT 27 team, they are absolute troopers everyone is a selfless volunteer which makes the whole team a family

Thanks to Mark at GBmoto Racing for steering the ship and upping the level within the team and as always thank you to my girlfriend for being by my side the whole time along with my mum and dad’s support! Thanks to my loyal sponsors/friends who have been part of this journey.

Images courtesy of Balpix Photographie