Suzuka 8 Hr. Results

From a press release issued by Honda Racing:

The Suzuka 8 Hours. Suzuka, Japan, August 3, 2003.

Nukumi and Kamada Win Chaotic Suzuka 8 Hours for Sakurai Honda

The Sakurai Honda Team of Yukio Nukumi and Manabu Kamata won a crash littered Suzuka 8 Hours held today, Sunday August 8, at the circuit the event is named after. The partnership tiptoed their way through oil spills, pace cars and numerous accidents to hand Honda their seventh consecutive victory in the most prestigious two-wheel event on the Japanese race calendar.

Nukumi and Kamada rode a fine calculated race, they held their nerve in heavy traffic as they slowly clawed their way to the front to duel with long term race leaders Kitagawa and Fujiwara on the number 8 Suzuki. Both teams, and the number 7 Seven Stars VTR1000SP-W Honda of Tohru Ukawa and Hitoyasu Izutsu were the major beneficiaries of a second lap crash that brought down two of Honda's chief hopes for success in the race, the Seven Stars VTR1000SP-W of Nicky Hayden - Ryuichi Kiyonari, and the Sakurai VTR of Tady Okada and Chozun Kameya, racing with number 74 in tribute to the late Daijiro Kato.

The route cause of the crash came directly after the start as the field rushed into turn one. The Over Yamaha blew an engine and trailed oil through corner. As the race leaders crossed the line for the first time they were unaware of what was waiting for them as they hit turn one. Oil flags were waving but too late for Hayden, Okada and Atsushi Watanabe (Yoshimura Suzuki) who all hit the gravel track, race over.

"There were no oil flags shown on the straight when I got into my second lap." Said Hayden. "I saw it getting into Turn 1 but it was too late as the machine had started to slide by then."

Many thought the race should have been red flagged at that point due to the safety issue concerning the number of machines and attending circuit staff at the scene. Instead the Clerk of the Course decided to bring out the pace car for 20-minutes, he also incurred the wrath of the teams by having the damaged machines returned to the pits on the wrecker truck, a move that was to cause further confusion later in the race.

Okada was furious with the track staff at the scene of the incident. "I'm really angry with what happened. The track marshal put the bikes on the wrecker truck to get back to the pits. We knew this would be a problem."

With three of the most fancied teams quickly sidelined many feared the race would be deprived of some of its customary excitement. They need not have worried. When the pace car pulled off the track it left the number 7 Seven Stars Honda of Tohru Ukawa leading the number 8 Suzuki of Kitagawa and Fujiwara. The two teams then provided the excitement for the next hour. The Weider Honda CR954RR of former double 125cc World Champion Haruchika Aoki and Osamu Deguchi held third place.

Their duel ended just before the second hour had been completed. Izutsu crashed the number 7 Honda at the hairpin breaking a handlebar and damaging a footrest. Izutsu got the machine back to the pits and after speedy repairs rejoined the race in 24th place. But they were forced out of the race soon after with a mechanical problem.

The sole remaining VTR10000SP-W, the number 71 Sakurai Honda of Yukio Nukumi and Manabu Kamada, was left to retrieve Honda's fortunes and they did it in great style. By the third hour they were into second place and closing relentlessly on the number 8 Suzuki. A lap later they were a mere 20 seconds adrift, the two machines one lap ahead of third placed Shinichi Nakatomi and Wataru Yoshikawa on the Presto Yamaha. The Weider Honda dropping back.

Fourth place was held by the F.C.C. TSR CBR954RR Honda in the hands of former grand prix stars Shinichi Itoh and Takeshi Tsujimura, which Itoh had taken to pole in the 'Special Stage.'

The race was between the number 8 Suzuki and 71 Honda. As the fifth hour ended the two machines were separated by just 21 seconds. Then the Suzuki pairing built on their lead to head the Honda duo by over 90 seconds at the seven-hour mark but their race was run soon after. When the Suzuki pitted for the final time to take on fuel and change tyres it refused to start and their race was run.

That left Nukumi and Kamata a whole lap clear of the Presto Yamaha, a lead they were never to surrender. While Nukumi raced the machine during the last stint Kamada stayed on the pit wall holding a picture of Daijiro Kato, a friend and hero to all Japanese motorcycle racers.

While the team watched and prayed that nothing would deprive them of victory Nukumi and the Sakurai VTR10000SP-W cruised home covering 212 laps and gave Honda a victory that seemed beyond them after two hours of racing. The victorious pair were still clutching the picture of Kato when they mounted the podium to receive their trophies and the adulation of the crowd

The Presto Yamaha came home a lap down, one lap clear of the CCBR954RR of Itoh and Tsujimura. Aoki and Daguchi brought the Weider Honda home in seventh place, with Tatuya Yamaguchi and Yuki Takahashi finishing 10th for the 555 Honda team.

Suzuka 8-Hours Results:

1. Team Sakurai Honda 71 (Y. Nukumi/G. Kamada), Honda RC51, SB, 212 laps
2. YSP & Presto Racing (S. Nakatomi/W. Yoshikawa), Yamaha YZF-R1, JSB, -1 lap
3. F.C.C. TSR Zip-FM Racing Team (S. Itoh/T. Tsujimura), Honda CBR954RR, XF1, -2 laps
4. Suzuki GB Phase One (J. Pridmore/J. Ellison/J. Lindstrom), Suzuki GSX-R1000, SP, -4 laps
5. Team 22 & Tsukigi Racing (G. Ggiabbani/T. Kishida), Suzuki GSX-R1000, SP, -5 laps
6. Clever Wolf Racing Team (M. Saito/T. Fukami), Yamaha YZF-R1/7, XF1, -6 laps
7. Weider Honda ATS DDBoys (O. Deguichi/H. Aoki), Honda CBR954RR, JSB, -6 laps
8. Corona Extra TiForce Endurance (A. Gobert/A. Fergusson), Suzuki GSX-R1000, XF1, -6 laps
9. Corona Light TiForce Endurance (J. Szoke/P. Young), Suzuki GSX-R1000, SP, -6 laps
10. Masked Rider 555 Honda (T. Yamaguichi/Y. Takahashi), Honda CBR954RRJSB, -6 laps
11. Beet Motul Racing (Y. Takahashi/N. Nakai), Honda CBR954RR, XF1, -7 laps
12. Moriwaki Motul Racing (M. Okuno/R. Tsuruta), Honda CBR954RR, XF1, -7 laps
13. Wins Factory & Vega Sports (H. Kawase/K. Teramoto), Suzuki GSX-R1000, JSB, -7 laps
14. Garfield RSK (H. Kobayashi/H. Ogata), Suzuki GSX-R1000, XF1, -8 laps
15. Honda Hamamatsu Escargot & CBR (K. Nagura/S. Noyori), Honda CBR954RR, JSB, -8 laps
16. F.C.C. TSR (Y. Konishi/T. Mori), Honda CBR954RR, JSB, -8 laps
17. RS-Itoh & Kaze 6 (I. Higazhimura/S. Karita), Kawasaki ZX-7RR, SB, -8 laps
18. Tea, Sanpachi (N. Yamato/M. Kotera), Kawasaki ZX-9R, XF1, -9 laps
19. Team Yoshiharu Yokkaichi (M. Izumi/O. Nishijima), Honda CBR954RR, JSB, -10 laps
20. Blue Helmets MSC (K. Nakamura/N. Sasaki), Honda RC51, SB, -10 laps
21. Honda Sofukai Suzuka Racing Team (T. Arakawa/K. Matsushita), Honda RC51, SB, -10 laps
22. Himeji Kawasaki Racing Team (T. Nakamura/K. Nakanishi), Kawasaki ZX-9R, XF1, -11 laps
23. Honda Hamamatsu Escargot & Sayama (N. Odogiri/H. Senmyo), Honda RC51, SB, -11 laps
24. Team M II R (M. Mizutani/Y. Matsumoto), Suzuki GSX-R1000, JSB, -13 laps
25. RS-Itoh & Kaze 27 (I. Matsubara/M. Murakami), Kawasaki ZX-7RR, SB, -13 laps
26. Team T.K.M. Xynas & GRS (Y. Okuda/T. Kimura), Suzuki GSX-R1000, SP, -14 laps
27. [email protected] Team (K. Kitaguchi/T. Masuzawa), Yamaha YZF-R1/7, XF1, -14 laps
28. Honda Kohoyokai & Auto Technic (R. Kuyama/T. Ebinuma), Honda CBR954RR, JSB, -14 laps
29. Yamashina K-Kansaigachincko-AJ (T. Kawarabayeshi/T. Mizusawa), Kawasaki ZX-7RR, SB, -16 laps
30. Project Big-1 (J. Maeda/N. Tomita), Honda CBR1300SF, XF2, -16 laps
31. T. Motokids (K. Fukuyama/Y. Sumi), Suzuki GSX-R1000, XF1, -17 laps
32. Team Kyoto Design Academy (S. Hikita/H. Nakajo), Honda CBR954RR, JSB, -18 laps
33. Team Etching Factory 15 (S. Takemi/K. Hasegawa), Yamaha YZF-R1, XF1, -19 laps
34. Team Hashimotogumi (G. Kanayama/K. Kanayama), Suzuki GSX-R1000, JSB, -20 laps
35. X-One Modial (A. Oikawa/A. Perselli/M. Bargiacchi), Mondial Piega 1000, XF1, -20 laps
36. Honda Kumamoto Racing (T. Ryu/T. Maeda), Honda RC51, SB, -20 laps
37. MCR Garage Teledash Haneybee (M. Yamanaka/S. Mizobuchi), Honda CBR954RR, -21 laps
38. Driver Stand R.T. (T. Nakamura/T. Shimizu), Suzuki GSX-R1000, ST, -21 laps
39. Team Little Wing (F. Asano/T. Kimura), Honda CBR929RR, ST, -21 laps
40. Kenz JTrust Mojo Suzuki (K. Kitagawa/K. Fujiwara), Suzuki GSX-R1000, JSB, -24 laps
41. Team Soul And Flame YDS Vritz (M. Yamamoto/T. Nagaoka), Yamaha YZF-R1, JSB, -24 laps
42. Five Heretics + 24 Sun (M. Inoue/K. Nishi), Suzuki GSX-R1000, JSB, -25 laps
43. La Bellezza Speed (K. Nemoto/Y. Hori), Ducati Monster S4, XF2, -27 laps
44. T-Moto Kids Shinnichi (K. Kojima/Y. Higuchi), Yamaha YZF-R1, JSB, -29 laps
45. Team MO2 Motorsports Hirose (M. Tokunaga/K. Sakai), Kawasaki ZX-7RR, SB, -32 laps
46. Club Yamaha Motorcycle Racing (M. Tokinaga/A. Morita), Yamaha YZF-R1/7, XF1, -35 laps
47. Mechbox-Garage Harada (H. Harada/K. Nozaki), Kawasaki ZX-9R, JSB, -39 laps
48. Wins Factory (T. Matsui/T. Kunimatsu), Suzuki GSX-R1000, JSB, -43 laps
49. HMFTMDR Verity Sygnhouse Monster (Y. Takamiya/S. Takaiwa), Suzuki GSX-R1000, XF1, -43 laps
50. Heat Magic by Wins Factory (T. Onishi/T. Yoshida), Suzuki GSX-R1000, JSB, -46 laps
51. Boxer Sports Club (T. Toda/T. Kurokawa), BMW R1100S, XF2, -47 laps
52. Kits & P’s Supply (M. Ouchida/M. Higaki), Kawasaki ZX-9R, XF1, -51 laps

Did Not Finish:

Team Cha-llenger (N. Fujiwara/T.Kayo), Yamaha YZF-R1, JSB, -14 laps, crash

Team Nobunaga Ramen (M. Tokuno/M. Furusawa), Suzuki GSX-R1000, JSB, -16 laps

Zongshen Suzuki 2 (I. Jerman/B. Bonhuil/P. Bontempi), Suzuki GSX-R1000, SP, -49 laps
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