Donington 4 Hour Classic: Rules and Regulations

Posted: 2nd May 2017

Grid Based on Team Average Time - 130% Qualifying Cut Off – Max 45 Minute Stints for Each Rider – Official Bike Recovery Vehicle...

Most of us will be familiar with the usual endurance racing rules. Two or three riders share the riding of one bike for the whole race, with pit stops for fuel and tyres as required and the rider pushing the bike back to the pits in the case of a mechanical failure or crash. The team with the most laps after the race time wins. Simple.

For the Donington Park Endurance Legends 4 Hour race there are some variations of these rules, so we've set out the key points and main differences below.

Please note, this is not the rule book! This is the rule book: donington-4-hour-classic-rules.pdf

Qualifying

All riders must qualify within 130% of the average of the best times in the class. This margin can be relaxed to 150% in the event of rain, at the discretion of the clerk of the course. This is quite a large margin, and bear in mind it is by class so expect some very widely spread lap times during the race.

Starting Grid

Starting grid positions will be determined from the average of the best times set by each of a team's riders during qualifying. Bikes without some form of self-starting mechanism (working electric start or kick start) will be placed at the back of the grid.

Bikes will be lined up on the pit-wall side of the track for the start, with riders opposite. The race will be started using the circuit's red starting lights. If a bike cannot be started by the rider alone, his or her startline mechanic may assist once the clerk of the course has shown and green flag to indicate that all the competitors have left the grid.

During the Race

No rider can ride for more than 45 consecutive minutes (pit stop included) or spend more than 2 hours and 40 minutes on track in total. Sanctions for exceeding this begin with Stop/Go penalties. If a rider does a 'double' or 'back to back' stint, they must pit, get off their machine, and then remount before returning to the track.

Regular endurance teams will find 45 minute stints unusually short, being more used to staying out for 60 minutes or longer, and this may negate some of their advantage. Those teams, however, are likely to be much quicker and slicker in their pit stops.

Pit Stops

There is a 60 km/h pit lane speed limit, with one minute penalty if it is broken.The engine must be switched off and the bike on a stand while work is carried out, refuelling takes place, and riders are changed. No other work on the bike can be carried out while it is being refuelled, and refuelling must be done via a 'closed' quick-fill system rather than via open jerry cans, etc.

Bike on stand, poper refuelling rig, fire extinguisher at the ready, gritty Swede looking on in the background...

Machine Breakdown Procedure

Riders must not leave their machines. They can push them, without outside assistance, pack to the pit box following the direction of the race. Bikes can be returned to the pit lane entry by a recovery vehicle provided by the organisers.

No mention is given of the procedure when a bike crashes rather than suffering a mechanical problem; hopefully the procedure will be the same. The use of a recovery vehicle during an endurance race is unusual and while it will avoid lengthy push-ins it might give one team an advantage over another depending on the availability of the recovery vehicle.

Words, Photo: Martin Gelder