Haslam to make Bol d’Or debut with private Kawasaki squad

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Picture: Impact Images

Leon Haslam will go from scoring a Suzuka Eight-Hours podium to competing in a 24-hour race for the first time when he contests the 100th-anniversary Bol d’Or next week.

Along with Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea, Haslam formed part of the Kawasaki Racing Team that finished second in last month’s Suzuka. But while the 39-year-old will continue with Kawasaki power for the EWC season decider at Circuit Paul Ricard, he will switch to the French privateer TATI Team Beringer Racing squad instead, replacing Alan Techer, who is deputising for the injured Gino Rea at F.C.C. TSR Honda France.

“It’s the first time for me at this track and the first time I’ll be entering a 24-hour race,” said Haslam, a three-time Suzukla winner.

“It was a bit of a last-minute call-up but it’s nice to learn a new circuit and the EWC is probably one of the most open championships when it comes to what bikes and tyres work well. I feel in this short period of time we had we made some good steps.

“These sorts of challenges excite me,” he said. “Everyone I’ve spoken to who’s done it are saying you’ll be regretting your decision at two or three in the morning but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. My dad [Ron Haslam] finished second at Le Mans a fair few years ago now and it will be nice to take on the challenge.”

“The factory teams look a step ahead. TATI Team Beringer Racing is a private team but they’re the top privateer team so it would be nice to get as far up as we can. It’s a 24-hour race, anything can happen and they already made a podium at Spa when a few teams crashed out. We’ll give it a good go and see where we are.”