Experience the Endurance World Championship in Oschersleben

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Experience the Endurance World Championship in Oschersleben
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Experience the Endurance World Championship in Oschersleben

Sport: Experience the Endurance World Championship in Oschersleben
Motto persevere

The German Speedweek has existed since the Motorsport Arena in Oschersleben existed. With the award of World Championship status to the long-distance race that has been taking place for 17 years, she received her accolade. For athletes, organizers and spectators alike: staying power is required.

Anke Wieczorek


Sausage smoke rises into the air, a white cloud spreads the smell of real charcoal. On the grate, the minced meat in the natural casing slowly turns a delicious golden brown. Just one step further, brown-yellow-striped soft ice cream snakes its way from the rattling machine into the three different sizes of waffle cups. For those who like it faster, there is a coffee to go. Suzuki has staked its claim with a huge, inflatable tent castle. The trailers from Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Aprilia, Ducati and Co park neatly in front of the boxes. In between there is simmering, roasting, steaming, lubricating or sleeping.

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Motto persevere

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It’s Speedweek time. The time of the cult weekend in the Motorsport Arena of Oschersleben, which welcomes its visitors with the banner “Biker welcome”. In the middle of the Magdeburg Borde, almost exactly in the middle between Hanover and Berlin. When it is time for Speedweek, the race track gets bogged down. Full throttle is given for a week. The only German run for the FIM Endurance World Championship has been held here for 16 years. At first it was a 24-hour race. The pointer now only ticks eight times in a circle around the clock.

Quirky stories

Endurance is French and means endurance in German. In other words: one lap after the other is unwound. Man and machine run at the limit. A pit stop doesn’t take much longer than in Formula 1, but it does include a driver change. Three drivers form a team. If someone falls, he has to get the bike back into the pits on his own, that’s the law. We fight till we drop. At night, when the edge of the track begins to dissolve in the headlights. At dawn, when the dew rises over the meadows. On the day when the spectators crawl out of the tents and caravans and life moves into the stands. It goes round after round, hour after hour. And again and again at the Endurance World Championship, stories happen that are so bizarre that you couldn’t even invent them with the greatest imagination.

The roar that is still number one today: In 2002, a driver from the Mille Racing team fell in the middle of the night. Instead of pushing his motorcycle back to the pits on foot, he secretly avoided the escape route, which runs parallel to the route and turns right just before the target curve. The good man didn’t expect that. At full speed, according to the data recording, it must have been 296 km / h, he thundered straight ahead – right into a pond. And he was gone. Bad luck: His right leg was trapped between the tank and the embankment. Fortunately, track announcer Tommy Deitenbach had to go to the toilet at the time and went to his own ceramic in the mobile home, which was parked in the infield near the pond. As he peered through the window, he noticed a beam of headlights outside that didn’t belong there. And then he heard the desperate Italian’s cries for help. A search party summoned finally rescued him from the stinking swamp, and Aprilia, covered with algae and mud, was also rescued. Completely crazy: one press of the start button – and the Mille ran again. Although she did not return to the race, the team still received a prize at the award ceremony: armbands and a lifebuoy.

From the 24-hour race to the eight-hour short version

A race over 24 hours, that is the ultimate distance and the myth of the long distance. 27 teams competed at the first German Speedweek in 1998, now there are around 40. Although only eight hours are driven. But there is no other way. Apart from France, the motherland of long-haul routes, nobody can afford the full package. But the idea of ​​launching and maintaining a counterpart in Germany is alive and well. Created on the shoulders of sidecar icon Ralph Bohnhorst, arena managing director Peter Rumpfkeil and long-distance specialist Ottmar Bange. Three years ago, the crew was on the verge of giving up everything. “We weren’t sure whether we should go through with the whole thing or not,” Bohnhorst looks back. “The costs ate us up, we had bottomed out.” Cause: Even at the legendary 24-hour races, the number of visitors from once 30,000 bikers had shrunk by half. The general decline in the number of spectators observed in motorsport also hit the already remote region. The total break-in finally followed with the eight-hour short version, which was also necessary to curb the noise nuisance of the nearby residents.

There was only one thing that helped to get the cart out of the mud: reduce costs. The rides on the party area disappeared just like the big screen. Nobody really noticed or missed it, it is only difficult to notice in the purse of money. In contrast to the 24-hour races, the eight-hour events also do not require two staff shifts. And the prize money, around 50,000 euros for 24 hours, has been adjusted accordingly. “All things that nobody ever sees,” says Ralph “Bohni” Bohnhorst. “Of course our heart is attached to the 24 hours, this is our baby. But, for objective reasons, we don’t get a project like this baked. For that we would have to have 20,000 more paying viewers. Motorsport was bred and we heard the bang. But we got the curve and are now on healthy feet. The World Endurance Championship is our figurehead, and we won’t let that die. ”Which was positively received by everyone involved.

The renowned Bolliger-Kawasaki team from Switzerland, which is part of the FIM Endurance World Championships like fire in flames, also agrees: “It’s all right. We don’t have to drive for 24 hours only. That’s okay. ”The eight hours are enough anyway for the German teams that do not drive the entire World Cup, but only the Oschersleben lap. Steve Mizera, who drove a test bike around the corners for BMW, was flat like a flounder after 480 minutes and 275 laps over 3.667 kilometers, although he does not fall into the wimp category.
It’s almost like it used to be, just a little bit smaller. At night everyone is in each other’s arms and there is a party. The grin on their faces is as wide as a couple of fans in front of the beer stall. Yes, in Oschersleben the World Endurance Championship is lived from the bottom of the heart. Behind the scenes it is being said that the FIM is also interested in making the baby more prestigious. There is even talk of live broadcasts on television. The bikers are welcome.

IDM Supersport 600

Ping pong game

The Supersport 600 drivers from the Superbike * IDM also took to the starting line as part of the 17th German Speedweek. It was about the final decision before the final in Hockenheim from September 19-22, 2014. The result could not have been closer. A single championship point now separates the two title favorites Marvin Fritz (Yamaha) and Roman Stamm (Kawasaki) from each other. The Swiss came to Oschersleben with a four point lead and one point behind on the way home. Fritz, however, was lucky. In the first run he quickly pushed past guest driver Florian Alt, who normally competes in the Spanish Moto2 championship. Stamm, on the other hand, was involved in a duel by Alt. By the time he passed, the train had left the very front. The second run was canceled in the first lap. The Swiss Christian van Gunten, Tatu Lauslehto from Finland and the German guest driver David Schmidt fell badly, but did not suffer any life-threatening injuries. There was no restart.
Before the Hockenheim finals, the Superbike / Superstock 1000 classes now only have to run once. Your appearance as part of the DTM from September 12th to 14th at the Lausitzring is also a premiere. For the first time, Germany’s highest motorcycle road racing class meets four-wheelers at an event.

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