OSCHERSLEBEN 8 HOURS
On Saturday 22 August, the Oschersleben circuit near the town of Magdebourg in Germany will host the third round of the motorcycle endurance world championship (FIM EWC). With SERT (Suzuki Endurance Racing Team) and the GMT94 Yamaha squad practically neck and neck in the standings, the 8-hour race might well determine this year’s world champion.
Before heading to Germany, the top squads in this year’s FIM EWC (Endurance World Championship) took part last month in the Suzuka 8 Hours. This unique race featured an outstanding line-up, with no fewer than five MotoGP riders travelling to Japan. Australian champion Casey Stoner crashed out early on, and the factory Yamaha ridden by Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith and Katsuyuki Nakasuga took the win after a thrilling battle.
Suzuki Endurance Racing Team placed fourth in Japan, bolstering its world championship lead, and is currently the top regular team. But it faces a threat from the GMT94 Yamaha squad, which took sixth place at Suzuka and is only 29 points behind in the regular team standings. With 35 points for a win at the Oschersleben 8 Hours, the championship is still wide open. And let’s not forget that Bolliger Team Switzerland is only two points behind in third place. The squad often puts on a good show in Germany, and is likely to show its mettle this time around too.
Several other teams look to be in fine fettle for Germany. SRC Kawasaki entered Suzuka as a first-timer and was forced to abandon the race, but the team has got what it takes to come back strongly. Same goes for Honda Racing, winner of last year’s Oschersleben 8 Hours, and Monster Energy Yamaha YART, now featuring Superbike rider Max Neukirchner.
BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com entered the Superstock class last year and pipped the top teams to pole position, finishing fourth. This year, they’re contenders to be reckoned with in the top category.
Junior Team Le Mans Sud Suzuki will be in Germany as points leader in the Superstock class, and are tipped to win the race. But they’ll have to watch out for Team Traqueur Louit Moto 33, their nearest rivals at the Le Mans 24 Hours, not to mention Tati Team Beaujolais Racing and AM Moto Racing Competition.
Other teams worth keeping an eye out for are Yamaha Viltais Expériences, with new riders, and the British and German squads. Völpker NRT 48 by Schubert Motors will be playing on home ground. Meanwhile, British team Jackson Racing has been on top form in other races this season, and Prime Factors Racing has signed Endurance expert and former rider Steve Plater as team manager.
The Oschersleben 8 Hours is the highlight of an entire week of motorcycle races, festivities and concerts – a popular outing for the German public.