Speedweek Oschersleben 2008 - short version
Again in this year equipe37 took part in Oschersleben. However there were some major changes, which should effect the event considerably.
First of all the organiser put an end to things after 10 lossy years and announced an 8-hours-race during the 11. Speedweek. That didn’t sound very interesting to us. To go for the 24 hours of Barcelona we couldn’t afford the money so we decided in the end to start in the area of the Börde.
An additional difference compared to last year was the fact, that equipe37 (after Timo, the boy of Marieke and MaTThijs) again got offspring: Emilia, daughter of the proud parents Tati and Axel. Emilia became team member on Tuesday at 00:27 and avoided Axel’s participation, as rider as well as team-boss.
Driver will be Bernd Scheeder; I shall be responsible for organisation.
In chronological order:
Tuesday, August, the 5th.
Almost at night Carsten and Max start at the team headquarter in Roßdorf with the team bus and Bernd „Besche“ Scheeder’s (who would worthy replace Axel) unique trailer. For the author of this report it had been much more easy, because he came from Berlin – the shortest journey like every year.
In Oschersleben we arranged the pit at first (in coordination with our neighbours, Moto Box Krämer, we even laid a carpet) and fixed several team- and sleeping-tents. Especially the latter was a reminiscence to our very first 24 hours race in Magny Cours, where we used to rest on Red-Cross-beds, too.
We did some bureaucratic stuff (inscription etc.), then we were ready to go.
In the late evening Besche arrived and brought the professional time keeper’s understorey of his own team Wacker with him. And FloR1 was aboard now, too.
Wednesday, August, the 6th.
Arrival of MaTThijs, Marieke and Feiko; just in time bevor the start of the official schedule of the day.
Today is track day; four times 30 minutes. Unfortunately the small pit crew had a lack of information, which became obvious – very embarrassing, when you have two „guest-„riders on board – when Besche lost the oil filler cap. So it went on and on almost the whole day. But nevertheless, at the end of the day all three drivers achieved lap times to be satisfied with. In particular Besche, who rode a R 1 for the very first time and used Conti rubbers for the very first time, too.
For me as involuntary representative for my brother Axel the whole day was a complete razzle-dazzle with thousands of questions I couldn’t answer.
In the evening David and Laurens arrived; so the dutch branch was completed.
Thursday, August, the 7th.
The first free practise followed immediately after the driver’s briefing. Beside the multiple technical failures on the bike we had to realise, that Besche and FloR1 never got back to the lap times of the previous day. This problem continued during the night practise.We were qualified, but not satisfied. The average speed of all of the three riders was far away from the goal, Besche and FloR1 wanted to achieve.
My mobile carried on ringing the whole day and all team members covered me with questions, hints, critique and proposals. I’m in a horrible mood.
The Heppenheim cadre arrives: Unhold, Uwe, Michel and new team member Markus. The latter has been recruited by Uwe; and the two of them should do an amazing job as time keepers.
Also Mischar and Nail, responsible for sponsor support, came in with loads of PR-stuff – starting with business cards and not ending with placards. This professionally beautifies our VIP-Lounge.
And Wolf, our one man task force, arrives. During the Speedweek he will do hundreds of miles to organise tools, cable ties, spare parts and groceries.
Friday, August, the 8th.
Last qualification session. No improvement of lap times; FloR1 is agonising with self doubts. The afternoon – until the pit walk – should be used for wheel changing practise. But the mechanics had still a lot to do to get thousands of things arranged. By the way the wheel suspension has been modified to increase the speed of tyre changing.
Meanwhile Alex and Pia as well as Nena and Mona, Besche’s daughters, arrived. Pia considered at once my bad temper and recommended St. John’s wort and valerian. Things have got far to that stage!
At the end of the pit walk the mechanics carried on. Some time in the night fortunately the bike is ready to race.
Saturday, August, the 9th.
After the warm up the chief technician’s advise, that our modifications on the rear swing arm were illegal. MaTThijs’ question put to me „as team legal consultant“, if this were correct, I have to respond with „yes“. And it doesn’t matter, that those changes have not been critizised by the scrutineers. Again work for the pit crew: get the bike into stock condition. How will this influence the pit stops?
Next evil tidings on the grid: our generator, supplying the tyre warmers with electrical power, doesn’t work. Bought shortly before Hengelo, where it operated very well!
That means for MaTThijs, our first rider, to start with cold rubbers. But that doesn’t bar him from getting forward place by place with excellent lap times.
Change of riders and wheels including refueling of the R 1 work out brilliant. Filling attendant is now Unhold, because Carsten, who was intended for this job originally, felt a bit uncertain after spreading the whole bike with petrol during practise pit stops on Wednesday. Sorry for any inconvenience, Peter! But you have been the only one to fit to this position, and I bet, you know.
To save one pit stop in 8 hours, David planned stops for every 67 minutes. The fourth stop in that row should be the only „big one“: with wheel changes front and rear. Up to this point of the race everything went absolutely fine, so now something HAD to happen: the holder for the rear swing arm stand collapsed! With two tripods we could improvise; but refueling happened on a bike just held by the front stand!?
Preparing the last rear wheel change we converted Besche’s monster frontstand, so Michel, working traditionally at the rear, was equipped with sufficient tools. While we’re at it: „Don Perfecto“ did a fantastic job even under those aggravated conditions and changed the rear tyres as no one else!
Following to this little bother everything ran its usual course. Pia as a physiotherapist got her hands full in a literal sense; Uwe suffers from migraine which turned out later to be an allergy against ginger. But he and Markus stood their ground and did their work to our full satisfaction.
Even the conversation with our guests was very interesting; they too had big fun to stay with us.
Then the race came to its more or less unspectacular end. But I missed the relief you feel after 24 hours. You’re fit in a way, no night passed waking.
In spite of all minor and major problems: to survive an 8 hours race is no real adventure!
Sunday, August, the 10th.
Michel has to leave first, because he will travel somewhere for his employer the same day. One by one leaves the site. Meantime the Ford Transit and the trailer are fully packed, so Carsten and Max may leave, too. May be it’s just a little anecdote aside, that MaTThijs’ caravan and Besche’s trailer got several damages during the voyage and completed a „mechanical“ weekend perfectly.
Wolf offered me a lift to Magdeburg main station. It’s raining cats and dogs now; we have been lucky with the weather in the end. I get melancholic, a feeling like at the end of a holiday.
The 24 hours of Barcelona, may be? Or the Bördesprint, without world championship status next year, but with 24 hours again? Would be excellent; but not with me as a team manager.