Chris Leesch and his teammates rode the Team 33 Coyote Louit Motos Kawasaki to a podium spot in the Superstock category. Without a doubt one of the toughest categories on the 24 Heures Motos grid. After the dust had settled, we met with the rider from Luxembourg in the Motul truck which the brand had provided the team with.
Chris, from a private team’s perspective, how was the race for you and for Team 33?
It went really well. We’ve managed to secure a podium spot in the Superstock category, and we’re really happy with that. We tried to push hard for a win, but the winning Suzuki team rode a flawless race without a single mechanical glitch. So I can only congratulate them.
When you’re racing Superstock, you’re racing in the middle of the field. Are you focussed on faster bikes of higher categories?
As a racer, you’re actually told never to look behind you unless you really have to. I never do it during the race, because it’s really distracting. Sometimes, when I come in the box, I hear someone say I had a close encounter with another rider while I wasn’t even aware of it happening.
What’s the biggest challenge for a rider during a 24-hour race?
There are two main issues: it’s physically demanding and you need to keep up your concentration all the time. There are a lot of slower riders on the track that you want to pass as quickly as possible. But at the same time, you want to give them some leeway because you don’t want to accidentally run them over. Then there is the physical side; you have to be able to save your strength. At one point, your arms and legs will be toast and then you’ll have a problem. Even as an experienced rider, it still happens to me that I push myself too far in my first two stints, and that I really need to back down to preserve my energy.
Looking at the two 24-hour races in the championship, which one do you prefer?
Both Paul Ricard and Le Mans have their own charm, but from the moment you enter the track, it’s clear that Le Mans is something really special. There is this atmosphere that is unlike any other place I’ve ridden before. It’s the magic of Le Mans, really. On top of that, I believe that Paul Ricard is more of a car-oriented track, because when you have an accident, you immediately hit the wall or the tarmac. The Bugatti circuit of le Mans is much more suitable for motorcycle racing.
What does Motul mean to you and to the team?
They are not only an important partner and an incredible value to the team, but they are also a staple in the sport. They contribute a lot to the event, such as the superfan concept, and really get everyone involved.