TEAM RST made history last weekend as they put on a masterclass performance to win Britain’s first 24-hour motorcycle race.
The Freetech Endurance series’ inaugural 24hr scrap at Teesside played host to more than 400 riders and nearly 70 teams.
And with nearly 1000 laps under their belt, it was Warren Guantario, Shane Norval, Hudson Kennaugh and Jonny Towers to lifted the trophy.
While the Baldy’s Angels squad topped practice ahead of The Full 180 and Fianna Racing, it was Team RST on top in Saturday morning’s Superpole session as they stole top spot with a 1:19.063, nearly 1.4sec quicker than anyone else.
But as they lined up for the Le Mans-style start, the winner was anything but certain.
From the off, Baldy’s Angels snatched the lead from RST with Gar51de Racing sitting third ahead of team Fast and Loud. By lap 16, however, Ryan Garside’s crew had taken the lead.
Team RST sat behind for the next 50 laps before making their move for the lead, taking over from Fast and Loud and Baldy’s Angels as The Bike Hospital slotted into fourth as the leading Moto4 class machine.
As the top two remained unchanged, there was a shuffle behind while Gar51de Racing worked their way back up to fourth by lap 190 before settling into fifth just behind the Suzuki squad.
But as the night wore on, Team RST’s lead only stretched and around the half-way mark at midnight on Saturday, it looked like a battle outside the top five.
With a comfortable advantage heading into the final leg and despite a few issues along the way, Towers, Kennaugh, Norval and Guantario crossed the line after 24 hours of racing with 986 laps completed, more than 26 laps clear of second place.
“Four hours in we had a decent lead but about then I thought, ‘f*** me we’ve still got 18 hours to go,” Towers told UK Clubsport. “I’ve ridden at night before so I was used to that, but Teesside was a great little track to do the 24 hours on.
“We had a good strategy of running two riders back-to-back for a few hours so that we always had two riders fresh and rested, which I think worked out well for us in the end. We still had our fair share of issues, we had exhaust header bolts come loose and had to switch tyres a few times from wets to dry, but other than that it went really well.
“It was such a great time and fantastic to be a part of the first 24-hour motorcycle race in the UK. It’s sort of reinvigorated me, I really enjoyed the challenge.
“We’ll be back for the other rounds, I’ll miss one but the goal is to win the championship and I think we have a good shot at it.”
Fast and Loud secured the runner-up spot with 960 laps in the bag as The Bike Hospital bagged third overall with the Moto4 class victory for modified bikes. Suzuki took fourth overall on 955 laps with Gar51de Racing rounding out the top five on 946.
Bear and Rose Racing scored sixth ahead of quickest-lap setters Baldy’s Angels, while The Full 180 came back from three crashes and a number of issues to cross the line eighth. Viking Suzuki and YPM Renegades rounded out the top 10.