Results of the 13th edition of the 24 HOURS of Le Mans (2012)
Report by category
The roller parade on the Bugatti circuit
Once does not make it a habit, the day started with the opening of the paddocks, followed by the 2-lap skate on the circuit. The accompanying people made the most of it in joining the skaters. The weather conditions were good despite a cloudy sky. From 6.000 competitors, we would have reached the 10.000 skaters according to the organization. The skating levels were very heterogeneous and falls are common in the downhill of the Dunlop. Some skaters even chose to take off their skates to go down.
The number 13 could have been a synonym for rotten luck for some people. The heavy rain was the surprise guest of the end of the first lap. It left after 20 minutes and gave way to sunshine. A strong and steady wind blew all weekend long. It quickly dried the Bugatti… It also pushed the skaters uphill in the Dunlop before driving them mad in the opposite straight line!
The only women's pair
Only one women's team had subscribed in the pair category. The "Marie Claire" managed 82 laps.
The mixed pairs
They saw the EO pair dominate the race head and shoulders. With 171 laps, the pair is 15 laps ahead of the Longchamps Roller Team 2 (156 laps). The third place goes to the Belgians Pollux and Philou of RouliRoula.
The women's endurance category
8 teams are on the starting line. The Kiwy Swetty wins with a comfy lead of 10 laps over the 2nd (142 laps), the GossipSkate Crazy (132 laps). The RPM Endurance Girls complete the podium with only one lap less (131).
Mixed endurance: the bar is set at 200 laps!
The ALVA Roller - Futurol 1 hit hard in managing a total of 200 laps in the mixed endurance category. This new record makes the pride of Pascal Briand, who is from now on the double recordman of the event after his participation to Powerslide's performance last year. Matthieu Barrault's team mates have also managed a lap in 6'30 during the 24H. They take the first place of the ranking with a lead of 23 over the 2nd, i.e. the equivalent of a double marathon! The London Skaters Enduro completes the podium in front of the second team of Valence d'Agen: the ALVA Roller - Futurol 2. A more thorough article will be soon dedicated to the performance of the ALVA Roller - Futurol 1.
In the enterprise category, the two teams from Sochaux seize the two first places of the ranking. ASCAP Peugeot 1 and 3 respectively managed 168 and 149 laps. The 3rd place goes to Allez USCPCA_rp with 143 laps.
The 8 student teams engaged saw the consecration of the Staff Pari-Roller team with 151 laps in front of LaSalle'thé (145 laps) and the English skaters of Nottingham University two laps behind (143 laps).
Women's scratch ranking
The blond ladies of the RPM Poli Var Team get a total of 177 laps with a best lap at 7'16… Needless to say that they left a good bunch of men's teams behind! The second place goes to the ALVA Roller - Futurol 3, 9 laps further (168 laps). The Czech of the CZ Tempish Girls complete the podium 9 laps further again (159 laps). They had to contain the attacks of the Rhône-Alpes Women Team during the following lap.
General ranking: Powerslide / Ligne Droite win two steps of the podium
The Powerslide / Ligne Droite team did not intend to have a token role for the 2012 edition. A big team was formed in order to counter-attack any vague attempt of EOSkates: Bart Swings (multiple world champion), Ewen Fernandez (winner of the 2011 Berlin marathon), Ferre Spruyt (Bart's team mate), Jore van den Bergue, Felix Rijhnen, the experienced Scott Arlidge, Bart's brother Maarten Swings and so on!
In the absence of their main opponent EOSkates, we knew that the black and whites were going to win the race. But we would not have expected that their second team Powerslide Since 1994, made of former skaters and coaches, was going to take the second place!
Here again, the names should ring your bell: Alain Nègre (former coach at Rollerblade's), Arnaud Gicquel (multiple world champion), Olivier Babonneau (former member of the Salomon team), Kalon Dobbin (World Champion), Livio Wenger… And the elders did not come for tourism either! The other skaters are: Luca Bagnolini, Carlo Scalera, Thimo Kiesslich, Kierryb Hughes...
The MetallEO Sport Chantenay Team, reinforced by an overexcited Yann Guyader, tried to contain the German wave but the suspense did not last long. After only 2 hours of race, the case was closed. We specially owe these intensive two hours to the fall of Bart Swing's chip who had to turn back and pick it up, losing a good 30 seconds. Add rain to all this hubbub and you get a twist of fate that livens things up!
The MetallEO' strategy also played: Yann Guyader skated one to two laps out of three for his team during the first hours! But when he finally let his team mates skate, their lead vanished into thin air. Then, they had to temporize in order to keep the 3rd place on the podium, the Horizons Université Team being in line of sight.
With 2007 laps, Powerslide / Ligne Droite does not break the record of the race (211 laps) but the black and whites were intent on going back home with a new record: It goes to Ewen Fernandez who performed the amazing time of 5'51 (against 5'58 during the previous edition). In peak form, Bart Swings is hot on his heels with several times below 6 minutes during the race.
Women's solo: Belgian locomotives
Carefully squeezed in-between several team mates, Belgian Hilde Solo managed to do 122 laps during the 2012 edition. She even affords to get a 20-lap lead over the second, her compatriot Sabrina Gaudesaboos (still 102 laps)!
The 3rd place goes to Catherine Exibard (Kat Seulette Velay Roller) with a nice total of 91 laps.
Let's also pay tribute to the 4th skater, Lidia Rainoldi (Lilibrindacier) who fell 5 hours before the finish and who could not resume the race…
Men's solo: a fight at the top for the 3rd place
The men's solo competition is somewhat scary. When you try to follow the lead group for a few laps, you realize at which speed the best skaters can go during 24 hours! And you feel much more humble after the experience.
The 2012 victory goes to Bioforever Roll'Allier (Francis Thienot) with 132 laps and a best lap in 9'04. The second place goes to young daddy Thibaut Dejean (pseudo: "For one more lap…") who also manages 132 laps, which is just huge! Last but not least, the 3rd place goes to François Bagnard (Mister Explosion) who still does 122 laps. He only just finishes in front of the 4th "Seul Le Mans Laurent"… The race ended up with a sprint after more than 500 km of effort! If you look at the scratch, these two gentlemen are outstripped by the first woman who also did 122 laps...
This year again, in order to end up in the Top-10, you had to flirt with the 100 laps. If we knew some editions where the top-10 had passed the bar of the 100 laps, here we notice that the podium is only reachable above 120 laps!
Let's Note: The presence of 3 Japanese skaters, led by Alain Decayeux. One of them takes the 6th place of the solo ranking with 108 laps: Tokyo Awa Yukata. There was also a Polish skater, as well as some Belgian, American and German skaters. The competition is opening to new nations year after year with 26% of foreign skaters in 2012.
In solo, strategies have changed. From now on, skaters do not take breaks, it is non-stop skating as far as possible! Maybe that the 600 km will not be reached in Le Mans but probably in Montreal in the next years…
Once again, we are back from the 24H of Le Mans, delighted and exhausted. The atmosphere of the circuit remains incomparable and the success of the competition grows every year, with a record number of inscriptions in 2012, particularly for foreign skaters. Let's pray that it lasts!
complete results of the 24H Rollers 2012
Photos by Kevin Lesueur (rssp.fr)
Photos by Christine Dumouchel (1/2)
Photos by Christine Dumouchel (2/2)
Photos by Sylvie Geoffroy (VRCV)
Photos by Franck Racker
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Official web site of the 24H Rollers
Translated by Close Yr E's
Photos: ReL & Kevin Lesueur