The Bol d'or is a motorcycle endurance race, held annually in France. Originally, it was an automobile as well as motorcycle race. The automobiles were limited to 1100cc engine capacity until the 1950s when the limit was raised to 1500cc, and later to 2000cc. The original organizer was Eugene Mauve.
The race, traditionally taking place on the second weekend of September, lasts for 24 hours and each motorcycle has a team of 3 riders taking turns. The teams originally comprised just 2 riders, with each rider having to do an exhausting 12 hours apiece; but sometime after 1977, in the interests of safety, the rules changed to 3 riders per team. Until 1970 the race was held at various circuits, mainly Montlhéry and Saint-Germain-en-Laye. From 1971-1977 the Bol D'Or was held at Le Mans. For the next 22 years the event took place at Paul Ricard, after which it moved to Magny-Cours. The Le Mans Bugatti Circuit is sometimes reckoned finest venue for the Bol D'Or; and after the race moved south, a successor event was established, the "24 Heures Du Mans". The Bol D'Or has now returned to Le Mans, so there are now two annual 24-hour motorcycle endurance events at Le Mans. The Bol D'Or is now held in the spring, while the 24 Heures Du Mans is in the early September slot formerly used by the Bol D'Or.
24-hour motorcycle endurance racing has a strong Francophone fan-base, with the three main events held in France (Le Mans & Magny-Cours) and French-speaking Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps). Not surprisingly, the most successful teams and riders are French, but there are occasional British successes. In 1992 an all-British team of riders won the race; and British rider Terry Rymer has had consistent results. In the 1970s Phil Read competed as a rider, as did Neil Tuxworth, who later headed Honda Racing UK. The Mead & Tomkinson racing team fielded "Nessie", a revolutionary bike with hub-center steering.
- 1922: clay track located in Vaujours, Clichy-sous-Bois and Livry-Gargan, 5.126 km (3.185 mi) long. One rider per motorcycle.
- 1923-1936: Loges track in Saint-Germain-en-Laye
- 1927: Fontainebleau
- 1937-1939: Linas-Montlhéry
- 1938-1946: No race
- 1947-1948: Saint-Germain-en-Laye
- 1949-1950: Montlhéry
- 1951: Saint-Germain-en-Laye
- 1952-1960: Montlhéry
- 1961-1968: No race
- 1969-1970: Montlhéry
- 1971-1977: Le Mans
- 1978-1999: Paul Ricard
- 2000- : Magny-Cours
The race is part of the a part of the Endurance FIM World Championship. The 2006 edition was the 70th edition of the race.
The race is an opportunity for a giant motorcycle rally, a carnival, a motorcycle show, and other motorcycle related events.
The 2007 race saw Suzuki's supremacy (with Suzuki GSX-R1000 finishing 1st and 2nd) since 2001 coming to an end with the victory of GMT94 team with the Yamaha R1 and riders David Checa, Sébastien Gimbert and Olivier Four.
- La tasse d'or (the golden cup), reserved for motorcycle of less than 50cc (known as the coffee cup: "tasses à café")
- Le bol d'or classic (the classic golden bowl): reserved for classic motorcycles
- Le bol d'argent (the silver bowl): amateur competition taking place before main competition.
- boldor.fr Official website (French)