Q & A - Kevin Bolliger, team manager of Bolliger Team Switzerland
Kevin Bolliger has, naturally enough, taken command of the team created in the 1980s by his father Hanspeter. ‘Hämpu’ is still on the staff, but he handed over the reins to Kevin at the end of last season.
– How does it feel to be the new big boss of Bolliger Team Switzerland?
It feels great. Ever since I was a little boy, I dreamed of taking over my father’s team. Now, a good 20 years later, my dream has become reality. I am the team manager of one of the best and most successful private teams in the Endurance World Championship. Currently, my childhood dream is facing a lot of hurdles. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is hitting everyone in the world hard. Some of our sponsors have had to cut back on their contributions or even cancel them completely, and our legendary events, which make up a large part of our budget, are also being cancelled.
– How does it feel to be managing a team that’s older than you are?
I have a lot of respect for what my father has achieved with the team over the years. I am also happy that a few older team members are still with the team and actively support me. I have a strong bond with many of them because they have known me since I was a little boy.
There is a certain pressure not to make a mistake, because many eyes are on me. But it doesn’t really feel any different at the moment. I can imagine that the feeling will be different when I race with the team for the first time without my father.
– How long had you been working on the team with your father, and what was your role?
Even as a little boy, I was already on the road on a bicycle or a pit bike and made the paddocks of this world unsafe. Suddenly I was old enough to take on a role in the team and I was allowed to take on the post of fireman. Later, I actively joined the team and was more involved in the pit stop and mechanical work. About 6 years ago, I took over the job from my father at the pit stop. I think it was at that time that the replacement process was definitely initiated. Hämpu thus prepared me optimally for the role as team manager.
– What has changed, or will change, with you taking control of the team?
I don’t want to change the philosophy of the team because it has worked very well over the years. Because if my father had done something wrong, we would never be where we are now with the team. Hämpu has built a team from nothing over the years, which has twice been runner-up in the world championships and has conquered several top 5 places.
I will certainly try some new things together with the team to possibly get even more performance out of the team.
– What are Bolliger Team Switzerland’s objectives this season?
Here, too, not much has changed. Despite our dry period in the last couple of years, we are still one of the best teams in the championship. We want to continue to fight for top 5 places and be in the waiting position for podium finishes. We also want to maintain our position as the best private team in the championship. Our pit stops are among the fastest in the championship and we will keep it that way.
But one thing is clear. The FIM EWC has gained a lot in level and popularity thanks to Eurosport Events. It is getting harder and harder for us private teams to get into the top few positions. But for this very reason, our goal remains the same, because we are a strong team buoyed by a fresh breeze!