Team Suzuki Press Office – September 26.
New Suzuki Endurance Racing Team Manager Damien Saulnier has been awarded the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy in recognition of his combativeness after the team won the weekend’s Bol d’Or season opener in France.
Saulnier’s acceptance of the Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy after the finish of the Bol d’Or was an emotionally charged moment. François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the FIM EWC promoter (pictured), awarded the trophy – which is a symbol of true grit and sporting spirit – to Saulnier, who took over the helm of the 15-time EWC championship-winning squad this summer.
The Anthony Delhalle EWC Spirit Trophy has special meaning for both Saulnier and SERT, who tasted victory at the race at Paul Ricard Circuit with riders Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson and Gregg Black. SERT’s last win dated to the 2016 Bol d’Or where the factory Suzuki had won that race with Philippe, Masson and Delhalle.
Before joining Suzuki Endurance Racing Team in 2011, Delhalle cut his teeth as part of Junior Team LMS Suzuki, managed at the time by Saulnier.
The spirit of the French rider, who passed away in March 2017, remains alive in the FIM Endurance World Championship with the trophy, which rewards an individual or collective feat during the race.
Saulnier recalls their first meeting: “Anthony came to see us in 2005 wanting to ride for Junior. Then, when we were putting together a line-up for the Qatar, I wanted him onboard, and they won some championships. I was impressed by his career and his progress. His move to SERT was only to be expected. He was so calm and relaxed in everyday life that we all wondered how he could ride so fast. But his career will forever remain unfinished. And that makes me even prouder to now receive this trophy in his name and in his memory.”