Adac Masters 03

The Origin

Early in the history of automobiles/motorcycles, they were tested in long rides to determine their reliability. One example is the Scott Trial, where test riders for the Scott brand tested their motorcycles. From this came Trial Sport, Speed Trial and finally Enduro. The latter is actually the “dirt” version of Endurance. To create a competition between different brands (AND countries), reliability trials were organized from the beginning of the twentieth century. Although long distances were covered, there was no speed element, or at least no leading role. These reliability trials took place over long distances and even across borders, making it difficult for the public and the press to follow the progress of the race.

In 1907, a mixed 24-hour car and motorcycle race was held at the Brooklands circuit near Byfleet. To accommodate the local authorities, the race was split into two 12-hour heats, with racing taking place between 8am and 8pm. However, it must have been run in the dark, as railroad lanterns were placed along the track to aid in the event. According to some sources, it was a “triple eight”, a race divided into three times eight hours. Between races, the motorcycles and cars were stored in a parc fermé to prevent tampering. The division of the race was probably done because of the noise pollution for the surrounding area, as Brooklands was also the birthplace of the first silencer, hence the name Brooklands can.

The dangerous concept of mixed racing was soon abandoned. After the Second World War, the endurance concept quickly gained popularity, giving rise to races at Weerst (1951), Liege (1971, moved to Spa-Francorchamps from 1973), Montjuïc Park near Barcelona (1957) and the Thruxton 500-mile race, initially (from 1960) at Brands Hatch, but later moved to Silverstone.

Falken Porsche Nordschleife

Race procedure

Usually the Le Mans start is used, where the riders have to cross the track to their bike/car, push/start it and then the race starts. (The “Le Mans Start” is no longer used at Le Mans because it is more dangerous than a “normal” start). A good/fast start is sometimes important from a tactical point of view, but in general it is more important to keep the equipment intact and not get involved in an accident.

An endurance race is usually ridden by a team of two or three riders. Driver changes take place during pit stops, where tires are often changed and fuel is refilled. Extensive repairs during a pit stop do not have to result in a poor finish at the end of the race. In the past, even relatively “hapless” competitors were able to achieve a reasonable result due to the longer duration of the race. Today, drivers sometimes sleep in the pits or in soundproof rest cabins during their rest periods. In the past, there was a makeshift campground where people slept in caravans or vans. Despite the rest, a 24-hour race is especially tough, especially during the night hours and especially if there is a period of rain during the race.

Mercedes Bilstein Nordschleife