8H de Sepang – Why Vincent Philippe is about to leave the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) – Used SUZUKI


Why Vincent Philippe is about to leave the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT)

8H de Sepang - Why Vincent Philippe is about to leave the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) - Used SUZUKI

Vincent Philippe, pillar of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team since 2003, plans to take part in his last motorcycle endurance race in the colors of SERT in Malaysia in mid-December.

After wearing ten crowns, the 41-year-old driver from Franche-Comté wants to avoid too many seasons in a team undergoing restructuring since the departure of "Chef" Méliand…

The joy of the best victories does not always erase the bitterness of the worst defeats … Vincent Philippe can attest to this: despite his ten titles of world endurance champion and his record of eight victories at the Bol d’Or (! ), the failure of the SERT GSX-R1000 six minutes before the arrival of it still remains in the throat…

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The bisontin and his teammates, Gregg Black and Etienne Masson, saw their world crumble when the second hand had only six tiny laps to complete: an electrical malfunction causing the breakage of the 4-cylinder of the "Gex" brutally seals their abandonment … after 474 minutes with beating drum !

The SERT bike, then ranked 9th, lost in an instant all the benefits of a smooth race in front of the Kawasaki SRC, which won its first world title with a 12th place in Japan. Stupor, anger and sadness in the SERT box, where Dominique Méliand sees his dream of …

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"A break was needed after the disappointment, the big disappointment, of this title of world champion which went up in smoke in 6 minutes. (…). A few weeks were needed to mourn this 11th title ", explains Vincent Philippe who confesses to have been in a very bad mood at home during this period. !

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This catastrophic scenario traumatized him all the more since it coincided with the retirement of the emblematic "Chef" of the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (on the right below) … To the loss of the title is added therefore upset benchmarks within SERT, where Vincent Philippe does not plan to continue running in 2020.

The completely renewed SERT

"We are now focused on the Bol d’Or at Le Castellet from September 18-22," he said after the team discovered their new organization during the two days of pre-Bol testing. "The SERT team has changed its face after its change of owner and is managed by Damien Saulnier".

8H de Sepang - Why Vincent Philippe is about to leave the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) - Used SUZUKI

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Although he assures us that these tests “went well”, the bisontin notes a completely redesigned SERT by the former manager of Junior Team Suzuki: “he has surrounded himself with many new faces, the team has been completely renewed except the pilots, Gregg Black, Etienne Masson, and myself ". 

This reshuffle of the SERT associated with this lost title and the departure of Méliand probably made Vincent Philippe think back, whose beginnings in motorcycle racing already go back to 1992 and his first victory in the French Open 125 championship in 1996. At 41 years old, the idea of ​​withdrawing inevitably germs… 

"I will not be leaving for a full season"

"By dint of hearing that you are old, that you have had your day, even if I don’t hear it that way, you start to convince yourself of it. One thing is certain: I have often had, in my career, the opportunity to be the driver who makes the team win. I will not accept being the one who makes them lose ", he warned in June in .

This remarkable lucidity is in tune with the fundamental values ​​of endurance – the most beautiful of motorcycle sports! – where everyone makes their contribution to a common project, leaving aside their individuality. 

"I will not be leaving for a full season", Vincent slices, evoking "several reasons [which] pushed me to make this decision: it is my choice and I think I have been around the planet! given in my career, took immeasurable pleasure in winning ten world championship titles "…

"I signed a contract with the SERT until Christmas. I therefore have the Bol d’Or and the 8H of Sepang in Malaysia on December 14," continues the Franche-Comté who is however not quite resolved to leave endurance circuits… 

 8H de Sepang - Why Vincent Philippe is about to leave the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) - Used SUZUKI

"I’m still hesitant to ride in 2020: the goal would be to join a nice team, a safe bike, in order to win the Stock Endurance World Cup", he takes himself to dream, while planning to ensure the comments of TV broadcasts and to continue to accompany" the pilots in coaching and to make some baptisms on circuit ".

And while his autobiographical short film "" has been seen by "more than 500,000 people on big and small screens", the iconic SERT pilot is planning a retraining on the sand of rally raids…

Endurance is losing many of its great figures

"I will be able to set up my Dakar project, which is close to my heart", considers Vincent Philippe who estimates that "a year or two" will be the time needed to "achieve my ends". In the meantime, the 2016 world champion will devote himself to another project: the opening of a Dafy Moto store in 2020 "with my friend, partner and future associate Raphael Villechaise".

8H de Sepang - Why Vincent Philippe is about to leave the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) - Used SUZUKI

"We will offer you a very nice store of accessories and motorcycle equipment, as well as a workshop for your revisions or preparations. We are also looking to create our team for those who are interested," he warns. Notice of applications !

"After the Bol d’Or, we will take stock of the 2020 season: thank you for your support and we will do our best to win a 9th Bol d’Or", concludes this immense champion who joins the list of big names who recently left endurance, with Christophe Guyot (GMT94) and Dominique Méliand…

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