Photo by Andrew Northcott
Five-time Daytona 200 winner Miguel Duhamel will be coming out of retirement to race with journalist Didier Constant on a Honda RC30 in the Bol d’Or Classic this coming September.
Five-time Daytona 200 winner and multi-time AMA champion Miguel Duhamel will come out of retirement to race in the Bol d’Or Classic endurance race on September 15-17, 2016 at the venerated Paul Ricard circuit. Duhamel was coaxed out of retirement by fellow Canadian Didier Constant, who is the editor of the Canadian motorcycling website motoplus.ca, and will be partnering Duhamel aboard the DCT Racing Team Honda RC30. Duhamel’s last visit to the Paul Ricard circuit was for the famous Bol d’Or 24 Hour race, where he teamed with father Yvon and brother Mario to finish 7th in 1988.
The Bol d’Or Classic is different from its more popular namesake by its interesting four-hour format that is broken up into two days; one leg is run on Friday night, and the other leg on Saturday morning. Motorcycles raced in the Bol d’Or Classic must be built before 1991, and the two-rider teams must consist of one professional rider and one amateur rider. The theory behind the rider pairings is to prevent a runaway race winner, as well as to keep the competition at a “fun” level.
Photo by Didier Constant
Retired since 2009, the 47-year-old Duhamel (seen here in a file photo from 2005) is looking forward to putting on his leathers again and racing, as well as returning to the circuit where he raced with his father Yvon and brother Mario in the Bol d’Or 24 Hour FIM World Endurance Championship race 28 years ago.
“I like the idea of racing at Paul Ricard in September a lot,” Duhamel remarked. “It’s a circuit I love. And to ride the Bol D’or with Didier is doubly interesting. It is a return to the past—28 years ago to be exact. It’s going to be awesome; it’s a great project.”
Constant is keeping his goals modest. “My goal is not to get on the podium, even if I intend to do my best,” admits
Constant, “I don’t want to be an anchor for Miguel. I’ll be satisfied with an honorable performance. My goal is to give life to a dream, an achievement of which I can brag to my future grandchildren.”
The two Canadians will ride a DCT Racing Team Honda RC30. Top Moto Honda, a leading Honda dealership located in Tarbes in the Hautes-Pyrenees, will prepare the “Dreams Come True” Honda. The dealer, under the leadership of
owner Philippe Puyo, has participated in the Bol d’Or and Le Mans 24 Hours several times. Technical support at the track will be provided by First On Track, the brainchild of Ludovic and Yvan Genestier specializing in organizing track days and advanced rider-training courses at circuits throughout Europe.
However, this exceptional project also has a more charitable objective: To raise funds for Riders for Health. This humanitarian organization, founded in the late 1980s by Barry and Andrea Coleman in collaboration with Randy Mamola,
provides motorcycles and ambulances to doctors so they can deliver medical care and first aid to rural populations in Sub-Saharan Africa, including countries such as Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Gambia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
“All I have to do is to train myself and to learn to ride a little faster,” quips Constant. “I have six months to get there, that should be enough, I hope. Otherwise Miguel will have to ride twice as hard to make up lost ground.”
A quote from Duhamel back in 1999 at the Daytona 200, where he snatched victory from Mat Mladin by the tiny margin of 0.014 seconds, probably explains the purpose of endurance racing best. “Being fast on a motorcycle isn’t enough to win,” he said while on crutches from a previous injury. “It takes determination.”