Vincent Philippe, a Suzuki Endurance Racing Team rider since 2003, recently raced and won his last-ever Bol d’Or. We spoke to the champion who has notched up 10 world titles with the factory Suzuki team.
Vincent Philippe, endurance racing’s most successful rider – the winner of 10 world titles from 2005 to 2016 with Suzuki Endurance Racing Team – will stop racing in the FIM Endurance World Championship at the end of the year. All the more reason for him to savour the victory the team wrested on 22 September at the Bol d’Or – their first win since the 2016 Bol d’Or.
“It was simply incredible. I didn’t dare hope for it because I didn’t want to be disappointed, but getting it was fantastic. Winning is tough these days, it’s become more and more competitive and the pace is faster and faster. It came at just the right time, it made up a little for our disappointment at not getting the title at Suzuka, and it was so amazing to achieve it just after Damien’s arrival [Damien Saulnier, the new team manager]. Of course it’s the result of the work done beforehand to ensure we had a reliable bike. The new team simply capitalised on that, and I’m really happy for Damien because it’s straightforward proof of competence, conscientiousness and success. It’s brilliant for me to finish this way, with a new record and a 9th victory at the Bol d’Or, even if there’s still Sepang. And I was lucky enough to be in the saddle to finish the race; Damien made me that gift and I’m really grateful. Being on the bike and finishing the Bol d’Or with the win was an unforgettable moment. Obviously our last win, at the 2016 Bol d’Or with Anthony Delhalle, was also running through my mind.”