Tyco BMW rider Christian Iddon made his opening foray in to endurance racing at the weekend in the Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Race in Japan – the final round of the FIM Endurance World Championship.
Riding for the BMW Motorrad39 team, supported by BMW Japan, Iddon joined team-mates Daisaku Sakai, who won the 8hr in 2010, and reigning European Superstock champion Raffaele De Rosa, who currently races in the FIM Superbike World Championship.
The team also had assistance from BMW with the bike’s electronics, while Leigh Finlay, Iddon’s Crew Chief, and Mark McCarville came from TAS Racing to help with chassis.
Qualifying 13th of the 68 teams entered , De Rosa started the race for Motorrad39 but crashed after just three laps, losing them over 30 minutes on the leaders.
Raffaele continued again after the team made repairs, unfortunately crashing again twelve laps later due to a broken sensor locking the bike on entry.
The BMW S1000RR was pretty much destroyed, with the team rebuilding it but the delay meant they only got back in Race with five and a half hours to go.
Stockport’s Iddon jumped on first – Christian, Daisaku and De Rosa completing various stints until Daisaku Sakai completed the final half hour of the Race, crossing the line in 60th place.
Unfortunately the team were ‘unclassified’ in the results, rules stating that they must complete 75% of the race winners’ laps.
“Despite the result, I can honestly say this has been one of the highlights of my racing career,” said Iddon. “The event itself is just amazing and I’ve never done an endurance race before but I have really enjoyed it.
“I know we were unclassified but as a team I am so proud of how we conducted ourselves.
“It’s very difficult to get riders and technical staff from so many different places to come have a consensus on what to do with the bike and strategy and I’ve never experienced this before.”