The Suzuka 8Hours is a motorcycle endurance motorcycle held at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan each year. Just as in the title of the race, it runs for eight hours uninterrupted and the teams are of two riders each, alternating throughout the hours. The Suzuka 8hours Endurance Race is a part of the FIM World Endurance Championship. It is one of the most famous motorcycle race in Japan, and spectators come from all over the world to witness this race. The number of spectators that come to Suzuka during race week is much higher, and is one of the biggest race in Japan.
This competition began in 1978 as a race for prototype Tourist Trophy Formula One (TT-F1) of motorcycles. This meant of course the big four Japanese companies-Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha who had unlimited engineering resources could power their models; use them on the track.
Suzuka 8 Hours Runs Uninterrupted
A main attraction of the Suzuka 8 Hours race is that it normally features star riders from MotoGP and Superbike racing names from around the world. It is not uncommon for a rider to have the 8 Hours race written into their contracts when they acquire a factory ride in MotoGP or Superbike. If the rider has notable success in their respective class during the season, they will usually negotiate to have the requirement of racing future Suzuka 8Hours races removed from their contract. Most high-level riders don’t like racing it because it breaks up their mid-season momentum and it’s physically draining. Michael Doohan is an example of one such rider who raced the Suzuka 8Hours early in his career but had his contractual obligations to the race removed following his significant success in the then 500cc now called MotoGP.
High-level Japanese riders return for the race annually as it is regarded by the Japanese as one of the biggest motorsport events on the calendar.
Throughout the years, the race had gone through several rule changes in accordance to the FIM-Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme- including the restriction to 750cc for F1 bikes. One major change for the race was in 1993. Due to the high popularity of Superbike racing, which had been a support class in earlier 8Hours races; the race now centered on superbikes. The Formula One class, which at the time was the pinnacle of the race, would be removed altogether. Another category included in the race is the Naked class motorcycles without fairings – similar to the street-fighter bikes.
At the event’s peak during the 1980’s, the race attracted in excess of 130,000 spectators while presently it attracts a crowd around 85,000. The record attendance figure is 160,000 in 1990. The race is part of the FIM Endurance World Championship for motorcycles, with the exception of 2005, due to the high importance the big four Japanese manufacturers place on the race, the governing bodies set a race date that avoids conflict with any of the other major championship races.
The Suzuka 8hours Endurance finish is scheduled at 19:30. The sun normally sets about 18:30, so the last hour is raced in the dark. The headlamps on the bikes are on, and this final hour is the most exciting of the race – the finale where the winner is decided at 19:30.
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