An Endurance team comprises three riders, and its fate is tied to their wellbeing. Teams sometimes have to be rejigged as a result of a crash, an injury or availability issues.
Bolliger Team Switzerland, for example, are fielding a new line-up at the 8 Hours of Oschersleben. Sébastien Suchet suffered an injury in Slovakia last month and Roman Stamm crashed during practice this week in Germany. As a result, Dutchman Nigel Walraven, a permanently contracted rider with the Swiss team this season, will be partnered by Austrian riders Julian Mayer and Marco Nekvasil. Both men boast previous Endurance racing experience, and have familiarized themselves with the Kawasaki #8. Bolliger Team Switzerland are 15th on the grid and worth keeping an eye on, as a privateer team capable of keeping pace with the race leaders.
In the absence of their Japanese rider Osamu Deguchi, Webike Tati Team Trick Star have roped in Bastien Mackels. The Belgian, a fast and experienced Endurance rider, is the perfect stand-in for this team racing their first season in the Formula EWC class. “He’s given us a lot of help adjusting the setup of our machine,” says team manager Patrick Enjolras. “He’s an excellent fine-tuning expert for our team, as we are making our debut in the class.”
Three teams will be racing with only two riders at Oschersleben. Geoffroy Dehaye and Gregory Ortiz will be racing Motobox Kremer Racing’s Yamaha as a duo, as Jan Viehmann is injured. LCR Endurance will also be racing with two riders, Julien Leyninger and Florent Verchère. Xavier Carmenes was unable to qualify because of technical issues followed by a crash.
Wójcik Racing Team have also opted to field a duo comprising Briton Gino Rea and Swedish rider Christoffer Bergman to ride their Yamaha #77. Polish rider Marek Szkopek, formerly slated to ride the #77, will shore up the team’s Superstock line-up instead on the Yamaha #777 with fellow-countryman Kamil Krzemien and Austrian rider Philipp Steimayr. The latter’s participation nearly came to an abrupt end during practice in Thursday when a hare ran out on the track under his bike. Steimayr crashed, but was fortunately unharmed.