AFTER months of preparation, John McGuinness got his 2011 FIM World Endurance Championship campaign underway at the weekend when he finished in an excellent 5th place in the Bol d’Or 24-hour race.
Held at Magny Cours, France, John was riding as part of the Honda TT Legends team alongside Steve Plater and Keith Amor and it was a more than encouraging start for the newly formed team.
The opening qualifying session on Thursday saw good conditions with the three riders taking to the track separately for 30 minutes each.
As expected, Plater was the quickest of the trio but both John and Keith were within a second of his time and were in a provisional 8th place on the grid.
Friday saw similar conditions and John was able to consolidate his lap times and the team were able to move up one slot with an average lap time of 1m42.879s to end qualifying as the 7th fastest team.
McGuinness had the honour of starting the race and his steady, conservative first set of laps helped the team get into a good, early rhythm and maintain a strong position in the first few hours.
By the end of the second hour, the team were up into a superb 6th place and although they were pushed back to 7th three hours into the race, the next portion went without any dramas and they were able to maintain this position right up until the early hours of the morning.
John, Steve and Keith were stringing together some strong lap times during their individual stints and their hard work and effort saw them rewarded in the early morning when they moved into 5th.
See The Visitor (20-04-11) for full story.