The Bol d'or was first organized by Eugene Mauve as a race for motorcycles and automobiles limited to 1100cc engine capacity. In the 1950s the limit was raised to 1500cc, and later to 2000cc.
The race takes place on the second weekend of September and lasts for 24 hours with each motorcycle having a team of 3 riders taking turns. Prior to 1977 the teams comprised only 2 riders, but it was increased to 3 riders in the interests of safety. 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 the Le Mans Bugatti circuit. For the next 22 years the event took place at Paul Ricard, after which it moved to Magny-Cours. When the race left Le Mans the "24 Heures Du Mans" was established, so that with the Bol D'Or's return 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 base, with the three main events held in France (Le Mans & Magny-Cours) and French-speaking Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps), and the most successful teams and riders are French. In 1992 an all-British team of riders won the race; and British rider Terry Rymer has had consistent results. In the 1970s the competitors included Phil Read and Neil Tuxworth, who later headed Honda Racing UK, additionally 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
- ???? - present:Le Mans
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 accompanied by a motorcycle rally, carnival and other motorcycle related events.
- 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)