By Giles Spencer
Tooting born motorcycle racer, Gino Rea, finished 3rd in the final round of the FIM Endurance World Championships at Estoril in Portugal last weekend.
The South Londoners Wojcik Racing Team qualified in 5th place for the event and after 12 gruelling hours of racing, managed to claim the final step of the podium, only three laps behind winners, YART – Yamaha.
The team also lifted the EWC Dunlop Independent Trophy for the race and finished the season in 4th place overall, missing out on the Independent Championship by only two points.
“It was a pretty special weekend. We didn’t really expect to be on the podium.
“We knew we could be quite strong as we have a strong rider line-up now but in Le Mans we struggled with the electronics on the new 2020 Yamaha R1 and that problem carried over to Estoril but we were able to improve it just a bit.
“We were quite fast from the start of the weekend. I qualified 4th in my session in front of some factory bikes and the circuit seemed to work better for us as it’s tight and twisty and although there’s one long straight it’s from a fast corner where as Le Mans is a bit more stop and start, so the circuit worked better for us with our stock engine and I was able to mix it with the factory guys, which was really cool.
“The race was pretty pretty much perfect. We struggled in the cold temperature to start with as the race began at 8am but once it warmed up my pace was really good, at one point I nearly had the fastest lap of the race.
“We were consistently in the top 4-5, then we moved into third position with three hours to go and we just managed it from there.
“Wojcik Racing did a great job of preparing the bike for this round and we had no faults with it throughout the whole race and that was one of our keys to being on the podium, being consistent, fast and faultless.
“I’m very, very happy, plus after we got on the podium last year at Bol d’Or in mixed conditions so we all wanted to repeat it but I don’t think we were expecting it so soon in full dry racing conditions.
“There weren’t many accidents in the race and no safety car so we really earnt that one.”
Rea will be back racing in the UK this weekend, 2nd-4th Oct, for the next round of the British Superbike Championship at Donington Park.
Photos by Mateusz Jagielski
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