In the light of the unprecedented global health crisis, the FIM Endurance World Championship has modified its calendar and taken steps to protect teams.
Eurosport Events, the championship promoter, together with the FIM – International Motorcycling Federation, has revised the FIM EWC calendar taking government restrictions into account.
In view of the current lockdown, with bans on public gatherings and restrictions on the movement of people, the 8 Hours of Oschersleben, scheduled to take place on 6 June in Germany, cannot be organized. The event has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. This high-profile event was added to the Endurance World Championship calendar in 1999 and has since become a must-see for all fans of the sport in Germany.
The 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship will therefore restart in Japan on 19 July at the Suzuka 8 Hours for the Formula EWC class, with the EWC and Superstock teams then converging on France for the 24 Heures Motos on 29 and 30 August 2020.
The FIM and Eurosport Events have decided to include the 2020 Bol d’Or as the fifth race of the calendar and the finale of the ongoing season. After kicking off at Le Castellet in September 2019, the 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship will seal its international rankings at the Bol d’Or on 19 and 20 September this year.
Keenly aware of the difficulties that teams are currently experiencing, the FIM, Eurosport Events and the organizers of the FIM EWC races are doing everything in their power to provide cost-cutting solutions and to support the championship’s players.
The 24 Heures Motos and Bol d’Or pre-tests will be cancelled, but the free practice sessions on the Tuesday and Wednesday will be extended to give teams more time on the track.
Eurosport Events will help independent teams by allocating €1,500 per motorcycle for all the non-factory teams who have participated in the 24 Heures Motos and the Bol d’Or.
Questions for François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events
– What were the priorities that led you to revise the calendar?
The world is undergoing a great tragedy, which is having unprecedented repercussions for society and for all public gatherings. There is a great deal of suffering. The lockdown has had a severe impact on the sporting world. Races can’t be held if the safety of teams and riders cannot be guaranteed, and the current public health crisis clearly makes it impossible to envisage holding the 2020 8 Hours of Oschersleben. The event will return to the calendar in 2021 from 20-23 May. After repositioning the 24 Heures Motos at the end of August, we put forward a proposal to all the championship’s players to end the season with a great race at the Bol d’Or. Following a lengthy lockdown and so much frustration for motorcycle racing fans, I’m certain that ACO and Éditions Larivière will be capable of organizing two fantastic popular celebrations at Le Mans and Le Castellet. The revision of the calendar therefore means that the Suzuka 8 Hours will no longer be the finale of the world championship. Mobilityland, the organizer of this iconic race, understands the situation and shares our priority, which is to safeguard the interests of the FIM EWC in these very particular circumstances. The next season will therefore begin with Sepang and end with the Bol d’Or.
– The Suzuka 8 Hours will therefore no longer be the finale of the FIM EWC. How will this affect the championship?
Together with the Suzuka 8 Hours organizer, we are monitoring the question of allowing non-Japanese teams and riders to compete in the race in the event of a second wave of Covid-19 cases on the archipelago. The race will not be the championship finale and, as a result, it will no longer benefit from the bonus of 150% of the points.
– Will TV coverage of the FIM EWC be impacted by the Covid-19 crisis?
The postponement of sporting events beyond summer will inevitably create a logjam of programmes on television channel schedules. Eurosport Events as a promoter produces the TV signal from the races and broadcasts it beyond the Eurosport network. We will do our maximum to offer the best possible broadcast.
– In view of the financial losses caused by the global crisis, how will Eurosport Events be able to support teams?
We are working hand in hand with ACO and Éditions Larivière to help reduce the costs for teams. The financial aid we are offering for participation in the Bol d’Or will go to independent teams, who are the most fragile and most in need of support in these difficult times.
The FIM President, Jorge Viegas, concludes by declaring “We are living in an exceptional moment, which means that we are taking measures that we never imagined we would have to take. The most important thing for us is to firmly maintain our desire to return to motorcycle competition and to resume the FIM Endurance World Championship as soon as possible. We are working hand in hand with Eurosport Events, this new structure will allow us to have a championship worthy of the name and to meet the expectations of all those who love this spectacular discipline!”
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