Suzuka 8 hours - A Guide
We are on the dawn of the annual Suzuka 8 hours race. It is the biggest date in the big four Japanese manufacturers' calendar as they pit their greatest superbikes against each other. Here's my guide to what goes on.
What's it all about?
The Suzuka 8 hours is a motorbike endurance race that is part of the FIM Endurance World Championship. It takes place unsurprisingly over 8 hours at the Suzuka racing circuit in Japan. Teams are made up of two riders and one reserve rider. The winning team is the one that completes the most laps with the fastest average time over the 8 hours.
It all began in 1978 as a race for prototype TT-F1 motorbikes being developed by the big four Japanese manufacturers, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki. It is considered the most prodigious race in the calendar for many Japanese. Over the years a number of rule changes have happened to the race notably the switch from F1 bikes to superbikes in 1993. It has attracted huge crowds over the years usually hitting around 85,000. The highest ever attendance was 160,000 in 1990.
Over the years Suzuka has been host to many star riders and this year does not disappoint. From MCE BSB Josh Brookes, Josh Waters, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Michael Rutter are all making the trip. TT Legend John McGuinness will join Rutter on his team. Japanese stars such as Yukio Kagayama and 'Nitro' Nori Haga will also be taking part. One of the most notable entrants is the 48 year old retired GP racer Kevin Schwantz who is getting back on and hoping to make an impression. 63 teams have entered this years Suzuka so there's plenty to play for.
This link holds everything you need to watch the action with live streaming from Japan and all the time schedules for the event: Suzuka 8 Hours Coverage.
24.07.13 - Big Ed