2014 BMW Motorrad NewsA shock to both motorcycle-racing fans and the BMW Motorrad France 99 team, the Bavarian motorcycle manufacturer made a late decision to end its involvement in the 2014 FIM Endurance World Championship.
The decision, which arrives two months before the opening of five round at Magny-Cours for the Bol D’Or, Team Thevent, which manages the #99 BMW S1000RR, was a surprise.Why? BMW says it lacks the budget. Following the 2013 FIM Endurance World Championship, BMW reported it would stay committed to the series.In 2012 at Le Mans, the biggest race on the Endurance World Championship calendar, the team secured a third place finish with the BMW S1000RR, the first time a European manufacturer has been represented on the podium in the event’s 35 year history.Michael Bartholemy (Team Thevent Team Principal) says: “To say this decision by BMW was something of a surprise would be an understatement. We were asked by BMW Motorrad at Le Mans if we would continue in 2014, to which our answer was a definite yes. In November I flew to BMW, again presented our proposal and the response was positive.“Since then we have been negotiating in good faith, with BMW, with riders and with Pirelli while BMW clarified internally some technical issues with the bike we would race in 2014. Finally the budget was agreed with BMW, but just 24 hours later we got a call from them saying that they were sorry, but there was no budget and they weren’t going racing.“It’s disappointing and it leaves something of a bitter taste, as I think our results show that we’ve done a good job for BMW, against far more experienced rivals and with a budget far lower than the rumors in the paddock would have people believe.“It also puts us in a very difficult position, as we have riders under contract, a deal with Pirelli and everything else in place to race, including five permanent members of staff and all the specialist equipment that endurance racing demands.”“Our only hope of racing in 2014 lies with another manufacturer. We have the people, we have the equipment and, as our results over the past three years show, we have what it takes as a team to win races. However, what we don’t have is time. With the decision from BMW coming so close to the start of the season, it leaves us little time to forge a partnership with another manufacturer.“We still have one option to explore, but we’re fast running out of time. It may be that we have to sit out the 2014 season, before returning to the Endurance World Championship in 2015.”The 2014 FIM Endurnace World Championship begins April 26 with the 24 Hours Bol D’or in France; Suzuki Endurance Racing Team is the reigning champion team.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.