Recovering Gino Rea a World Champion as FCC TSR Honda win EWC title at Bol d'Or

The recovering Gino Rea is crowned Endurance World Champion with Mike di Meglio and Josh Hook as FCC TSR Honda clinches title in his absence 

Keep Fighting Gino stickers on EWC bikes

F.C.C TSR France Honda - the team featuring British racer Gino Rea - has clinched the 2022 Endurance World Championship after holding out for crucial points in a thrilling Bol d’Or 24 Hours.

The factory-backed squad was one of seven teams heading to Paul Ricard with a shot at title glory, albeit considered a relative outsider compared with rivals SERT Yoshimura Suzuki.

However, in a race of high attrition, FCC TSR Honda’s fourth place result was more than enough to overturn a sizeable deficit to the pre-event favourites for a fifth EWC title, its first since 2017-18.

The victory proved particularly poignant for the outfit - which in France comprised riders Mike di Meglio, Josh Hook and substitute Alan Techer - after being thrust to prominence in August following a serious accident involving its full-time racer Rea.

The BSB race winner suffered a horrific accident in the build up to the Suzuka 8 Hours, leaving him in a coma for almost a week with serious head injuries.

After spending more than a month in hospital steadily recovering his communication and motor functions, Rea returned to the UK from Japan on 7 September.

With FCC TSR Honda - as well as other teams - showing solidarity with #KeepFightingGino stickers emblazoned on the bike, the trio of di Meglio, Hook and Techer kept their cool despite niggling technical issues that hampered their progress to reach the flag four laps off the lead.

Indeed, though the sheer number of points available from the finale widened the pool of potential champions, FCC TSR Honda came to Paul Ricard facing a 23 point deficit to a SERT Yoshimura Suzuki team seeking a third consecutive title.

However, in a gruelling race that saw a number of the leading contenders - including fellow title hopefuls YART Yamaha and BMW - retire, FCC TSR Honda simply needed to reach the flag inside the top ten after Suzuki hit technical issues just 34 laps into the race, eventually calling it quits after three hours of repairs.

The Bol d’Or itself saw a shock winner in the privateer Vitalis Racing Igol team of Florian Alt, Erwan Nigon, Steve Odendaal and James Westmoreland, which capitalised on late issues for both the ERC Endurance Ducati squad and the Wojcik Yamaha team to rise from third to first in the closing stages.

The outcome was a particular heartbreak for ERC Endurance Ducati, which hit problems just 90mins from the flag having led for the vast majority of the race with just two riders - Xavi Fores and David Checa - after Chaz Davies opted out of competing due to a back injury.

ERC’s problems opened the door for the Polish Wojcik Yamaha team of Dan Linfoot, Sheridan Morais and Mathieu Gines to make a break for victory only for it to also lose time with a mechanical issue, dropping it behind Vitalis Racing before the finish.

An appeal by Gino Rea and his family to raise money for his recovery has been set up with a fundraising target of £125,000 set - CLICK HERE for more details and to donate.