Team Bolliger Switzerland all set to turn 40 in EWC with its four riders signed
Team Bolliger Switzerland has completed its rider line-up for the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship as it prepares to celebrate turning 40.
Established in 1982 by ex-ace racer Hanspeter Bolliger, the Swiss team is now managed by Bolliger’s 29-year-old son Kevin, who will oversee its unbroken participation in the EWC, which stretches to 40 seasons and counting.
For 2022, in addition to new Austrian recruit Nico Thöni, 26, who was announced last month and will partner existing riders Jan Bühn from Germany and Swede Jesper Pellijeff, Bolliger Team Switzerland has secured the services of Dutchman Nigel Walraven, 31, as its reserve rider.
Walraven has ridden for the Kawasaki-powered Team Bolliger Switzerland for three seasons and was happy to accept the squad’s offer of a fourth rider role for what will be his final year of EWC action before he ends his riding career.
“We are happy to have Nigel in our team for what will be his final season after some hard crashes in the past,” said Kevin Bolliger. “He’s really happy with the fourth rider position because he really likes to be part of the team and at the end of the season he will stay as rider coach and will prepare everything the riders need during the races in 2023. Nigel is part of the family and even if we don’t need him to race, his experience will be important, and we know if need him to race he has the speed to do a good job.”
With the 2022 EWC calendar featuring three 24-hour races following the addition of the 24H SPA EWC Motos alongside existing twice-round-the-clock races, 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans and the Bol d’Or in Le Castellet, Bolliger admits an even tougher season is in store for his privateer outfit.
“It’s already hard with two 24-hour races for the mechanics, for the materials, for the riders but this is endurance racing and with Spa we have a nice race coming back,” said Bolliger. “I have many childhood memories from being at Spa with my father and we look forward to a nice season.”
After placing 11th in the 2021 FIM EWC Independent Teams’ classification, Bolliger is intent on his team finishing higher up the order in 2022.
“It’s still difficult with the pandemic but that’s not a reason why you can’t be successful,” Bolliger said. “As a privateer team we are not on top because there are six factory teams gunning for the win. Our job is to be behind these teams because if these teams make a fault or have failures then we need to be there to get these places and earn these points and to be solid in the race. Our main goal is to make no faults and be the best privateer team. The goal is to finish the season in the top five. I know it’s a big goal, but I always say the goal needs to be big enough to put some force on it and have something in front of you which you like to achieve. Already the top 10 is hard but it’s possible like when we showed up in fourth at Le Mans, so we plan to be as close as possible to the factory teams and put the points together.”
Team Bolliger Switzerland will get its pre-season preparations underway with a three-day test at Valencia, Spain, from February 25-27. It plans to unveil its new livery design for EWC 2022 at the Motofestival in Bern, Switzerland, from March 3-6.