MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO win the 2014 Suzuka 8 Hour
Photo courtesy Bridgestone
For the second year in a row the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO team of Takumi Takahashi, Leon Haslam and Michael van der Mark won the Suzuka 8 Hour Endurance Road Race. The team prevailed in challenging conditions.
A heavy downpour of rain just before the scheduled race start meant the start of the 37th edition of the Suzuka 8 Hour was delayed until 1235 local time, resulting in shortened race duration of six hours and fifty-five minutes. As the rain fell, the riders lined up for the traditional ‘Le Mans’ style start and after a typically manic start, it was F.C.C. TSR Honda’s Kousuke Akiyoshi who led the field as the first lap we completed. Although the weather conditions changed from wet to dry, and back again many times during the race, Bridgestone-equipped teams led the entire duration of the 8 Hour.
In a cruel blow, for a second consecutive year the F.C.C. TSR team was hit with misfourtne when Akiyoshi crashed at the 130R corner while leading the race. Despite breaking his leg, Akiyoshi bravely managed to get his bike back to his pit box by which time, the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO team took over the race lead and Yoshimura Suzuki Shell ADVANCE team of Takuya Tsuda, Randy de Puniet and Josh Waters moved into second place, a position they would hold until the checkered flag. Incidents throughout the second half of the race resulted in the Safety Car being required numerous times, but in the final two stints Michael van der Mark and Takumi Takahashi held their nerve to secure glory for their team once more. On their way to victory, the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO also set the fastest lap of the race – 2’08.620 – courtesy of their number three rider, van der Mark.
Bridgestone-supported teams dominated the top of the results table, with six of the seven top-placing teams using tires supplied by the Japanese tire manufacturer.
It was an early exit for the Legend of Yoshimura Suzuki Shell Advance of American Kevin Schwantz and teammate Nobu Aoki. Aoki crashed five laps into the race damaging the team’s bike beyond repair. Aoki was transported to the hospital and at this point there have been no updates on his condition.
2014 Suzuki 8 Hour Results
MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO
YOSHIMURA SUZUKI Shell ADVANCE
Team KAGAYAMA & Verity
Monster Energy Yamaha with YSP
TOHO Racing with Moriwaki
Honda Suzuka Racing Team
Honda Team Asia
SUZUKI ENDURANCE RACING TEAM
YAMAHA FRANCE GMT94 MICHELIN
Monster Energy Yamaha – YART