Probably not … even if the global state of emergency also has an impact on racing. As in so many racing series, the wheels in the FIM Endurance World Championship are currently standing still, and also the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team has to be patient.
After two successful first events, which was the start of the season in September 2019 in France and the second event as the final of the year 2019 in Sepang in Malaysia in December – where the team scored important championship points with third places in both occasions – the motivation for further podium places is very high. At the moment, however, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team has to wait for further race appearances. Due to the global corona crisis, the FIM EWC has reacted and adjusted the calendar. The famous 24-hours race at Le Mans, which was supposed to continue the endurance season in two weeks, has been postponed to the end of August. The 8 hours of Oschersleben in Germany, planned for early June, had to be canceled. According to the current calendar, the 8-hours race in Suzuka, Japan, will continue on July 19th. Until then, the most important thing is that we all stay healthy and that the world recovers from this crisis.
But what are our riders doing during this unforeseen break? How do they experience the current situation? How do they keep fit and motivated? Of course we asked them and also requested to report on their season so far …
Kenny Foray: “Of course our position for a very first season in the championship is not bad. Up to now we didn’t have a 24-hours race at the beginning of the season and the second race was not a complete one either, because we never had the weather on our side. Therefore it would have been good to finally have a 24-hours race at Le Mans in order to gain this experience now, of course. Unfortunately everything has changed and it is difficult to oracle about the future. At the moment, like everyone else, I am staying at home with my family. My wife works in the hospital, so I’m home with the two kids. We always have something going on. I try to do a lot of sport, go running near the house, or train with the home trainer in the house. I hope that everyone else stays at home, so that we can finally continue with the season very soon. The most important thing is that everyone is safe. Motorsport is not a priority at the moment, but I miss it very much, and just for that reason I hope that everyone will stick to the exit restrictions.
I want to race again as soon as possible. Before the start of the season, no one had great expectations. It was a new team, a new motorcycle, we first wanted to see where we are. But now, after two events where we were really good, I think we can continue to finish on the podium.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “Time is not easy for all of us right now. The worst thing for me is that you can read new bad news every day. Something is canceled every day etc. and I can’t handle it that well. This whole situation is new to me. Of course, we will all survive if we don’t race for a few weeks. It’s just as it is, but I’m more than willing to race again. I keep myself fit, but now I only train a few times a week, just to stay fit. If I know when to start again, I will increase my training and then I am ready to jump on my motorcycle and race again whenever that will be. At the last test in Le Mans I had a really good feeling with the BMW S 1000 RR and we were also able to prepare well for any wet weather. The bike ran really well during the test and I was very surprised at the progress made in all the individual areas that we tested. So we are really well prepared for all weather conditions now. Unfortunately, the race has now been postponed to the penultimate event of the season. I am happy when this time has finally arrived. Regardless of whether it would start again tomorrow or in three months, I am ready.“
Markus Reiterberger: “I’ve only been part of the EWC family since one race now, so I can’t really judge how the season has gone so far. As far as I know, expectations have been far exceeded. With the two third places and the current second place in the World Championship, I think we can really be satisfied. Work continues tirelessly on all sides and that is what makes it successful in the end. I can only speak of Sepang now and I really enjoyed that. Of course, I also had to find my place in the team first, but it all happened very quickly. The results were great in all practice sessions and we were amongst the leaders under all conditions. I have two top teammates, two very quick teammates and I’m really happy to be part of this family. The event in Sepang gave me new personal motivation after my rather difficult last season. And I’m happy about that.
I now hope that the Corona crisis will soon be over, that everyone in the world will be healthy again, that we will all survive this well and will soon be able to do racing again. Without racing everything feels a bit strange. We just have to wait and see. We are all in the same position. I hope that we will be amongst the front runners at the other events, that I hope can still take place. We all have the goal of becoming world champions once in a lifetime. In theory we have the chance and we can do it. Maybe the goal is a little high, but it is possible. But first I hope that we are all healthy and that we will all be able to open the throttle again together on the racetrack very soon.“
Werner Daemen, Team Manager: “So far, of course, I am very happy about the two podium places at the two previous events. For a new team, that’s already more than we expected. We gained experience every week – about the motorcycle, the team, the new engine, the new tyres etc. – and the hopes for the rest of the season were growing very high. Now, like for everyone else, the corona crisis comes in between. We have to be patient and wait. Nobody can currently tell when and how it will continue. I am in good spirits that we will still be racing this year, but nobody knows that exactly and nobody knows where we will be then. Of course I hope for good results, in any case for top 5 results. With Markus, Ilya and Kenny we have some of the best riders in the whole World Championship. A top 5 result at the end of the year should be possible. But first we have to see what the future holds. I wish all of us that we can get together on a race track this year in good health and good spirits.”
There’s not much to add to what our riders and the team manager Werner Daemen have said, except of that we thank our sponsors, partners, friends and families for staying with us and staying loyal and hoping that we all will survive this crisis together and, as planned, be able to race together again in mid-July – if possible.
We wish you all a relaxing Easter for now.
Stay healthy and keep your passion for motorsports!