New players in the FIM EWC
Several teams are making their first appearance in the FIM Endurance World Championship. Among the newcomers are the factory squad BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, Spain-based Team JEG-Kagayama, and UK outfit British Endurance Racing Team.
The new players are full-season entries for the 2019-2020 FIM EWC season, which gets underway on 21 and 22 September with the Bol d’Or opening round on the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France.
The most high-profile new entry is BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. Boasting full factory backing from the German manufacturer and entrusted to the Belgian team managed by Werner Daemen, who achieves standout performances on the BMW S 1000 RR in Germany’s IDM Superbike Championship, BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team are expected to run with the leading pack. Ukrainian rider Ilya Mikhalchik and German rider Julian Puffe, who dominate the IDM Superbike, will ride the BMW #37 together with Frenchman Kenny Foray, 2014 FIM EWC champion, an experienced endurance racer also familiar with BMW following two seasons with Team ERC.
Team JEG-Kagayama have progressed over several years racing the Spanish Superbike Championship. The team is managed by endurance rider Juan-Eric Gomez, the 1994 and 1997 Endurance World Championship runner-up and formerly a permanently contracted rider for Suzuki Endurance Racing Team (among others), with support from Japanese rider Yukio Kagayama, a Suzuka 8 Hours front-runner. With two managers such as these, Team JEG-Kagayama will be worth keeping an eye on right from the Bol d’Or. Their Suzuki #71 will be ridden by another seasoned endurance rider, Frenchman Grégory Leblanc, who is partnered by Japanese rider Naomichi Uramoto and Luxembourg’s Chris Leesch, both JEG riders in the Spanish championship. Paul Dufour is the team’s back-up rider.
British Endurance Racing Team are coming in as a full-season entry after doing trial runs at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben over the past two seasons. The North London-based squad is managed by David Railton, a former endurance racer whose track record includes a 12th-place finish at the 1988 24 Heures Motos. Three British riders – Jonathan Railton, Dave Ferns and John Blackshaw – will share out stints in the saddle of the team’s Suzuki #31.
Spanish team Kawasaki Català Aclam (a fixture at the 24 Horas de Catalunya), will also be doing a debut run at the Bol d’Or to see how they measure up against the FIM Endurance World Championship teams with riders Enrique Ferrer, David Sanchis and Arturo Tizon.