Dominique Méliand, the highly successful manager of Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (SERT) for over 40 years, retired after the 42nd edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours last weekend. Dominique has led SERT to a total of 15 World Endurance titles in that time.
To congratulate and praise the popular EWC team manager, a retirement ceremony took place on the main straight prior to the start of the Suzuka 8 hours race.
Challenging the last round of the EWC 2018-2019 season ranking in second position, it all looked promising for yet another title until the last five minutes of the race when a technical issue ended the dream.
Sadly, the team couldn’t congratulate the retirement with another crown, but after the race, a huge retirement party took place in the hospitality booth.
Toshihiro Suzuki, the president of Suzuki thanked Dominique, saying: “The Suzuki GSX-R and SERT have been successful for many years in the EWC, earning multiple championships, but this was not possible without Dominique.
“We thank you from our hearts and hope you lead a wonderful life in the future as you have so far.”
Many riders who had competed in the team gathered at the party such as Keiichi Kitagawa and Yukio Kagayama, but riders from rival teams and sponsors were also present, showing their respect while others sent in comments and notes.
An eye painting of a “Daruma” also took place; a traditional Japanese custom, in respect to the achievements of Dominique.
Dominique Méliand thanked all the guests, saying: “To think it is my last race makes it a little sentimental, but I think the time has come to pass on the responsibilities to the next generation. I hope a wonderful future lies ahead for the new generation. Thank you all for all these years.”