Le Mans: Top five for Honda TT Legends

McGuinness starts his first stint at Le Mans
McGuinness starts his first stint at Le Mans Picture: Honda Racing

Honda TT Legends completed the legendary Le Mans 24-hour after a demanding race that saw John McGuinness, Cameron Donald and Keith Amor complete 819 laps of the French circuit to secure a fifth place finish for the team. The event was the penultimate round of the 2011 Endurance World Championship and sees the Honda TT Legends climb to xx in the overall standings.

The race began at 3pm on Saturday with Australian rider Cameron Donald taking part in the running start for the Honda TT Legends, who had qualified in tenth position. An impressive first stint placed the team in fifth – a position that they held on to for the majority of the race, only slipping back to sixth for brief periods during the first half.

Slick pit stops and efficient fuelling saw the night section of the race pass smoothly with no major issues for the team, which was running a Combined ABS-equipped Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade – the first time the system has been used at World championship level.

As the sun rose, the team was still running comfortably in fifth but by 10am it had come under attack from sixth place contenders Ymes Folch Endurance, just one lap behind. This prompted a quick change of strategy with the team’s fastest rider, Cameron Donald, swapping stints with Keith Amor in an attempt to widen the gap.

The tactic paid off and as Donald, McGuinness and Amor battled heroically through extreme fatigue, they were able to keep Ymes Folch at bay and held onto fifth until the chequered flag. Cameron Donald completed the final stint and the Honda TT Legends team completed its second 24-hour event of the 2011 Endurance World Championship season.

"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," said McGuinness.

"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."

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