Here’s some gossip from World Superbike racing.
First up: The folks at Liberty Racing (Canadian Brett McCormick’s WSBK squad) may be losing major sponsor Effenbert, or at least seeing their sponsorship scaled back.
The whole debacle started when Liberty said they weren’t happy with the way things went down at Monza. They originally put it this way: “The clear impression is that the WSBK has endured one of its worst days, disrespect for the public, for those who, like Team Effenbert, invests and for sports in general. It is unacceptable that the fundamental decisions of the day are been taken with such a superficiality not even worthy of a single brand championship of scooters. At the end it is clear that the WSBK is in the hands of a little number of team and riders.”
In other words, it sounds as if they think favoritism towards certain riders in the series cost them points.
Later, Liberty team reps said their comments weren’t aimed at WSBK management, but at a small number of other riders and teams. And, they said the perceived unfairness was possibly going to cost them sponsorship: “When the Sunday race 1 was cancelled at Monza, the team had a damage. Our sponsor has invested heavily in the Effenbert Superbike project, on Sunday we had Guintoli on pole and with such a result we couldn’t properly take advantage of the media visibility. And now we risk losing the title sponsor.”
So what’s the true story? Is Effenbert so unhappy with the debacle at Monza, they’re going to pull sponsorship, or has the cost of running four riders in WSBK started to hit home? Whatever the case, we’re hoping McCormick will be able to race the rest of the season once he returns from his injury; Liberty says they’re committed to finishing the 2012 season, so hopefully it will all work out.
Meanwhile, if the riders at Liberty Racing are wondering how their future is going to play out, they can still take comfort they’re not in BSB racer Peter Hickman’s shoes.
Hickman filled in for the injured John Hopkins on the Crescent Fixi Suzuki team last weekend at the WSBK Donington Park round. Sounds like a great opportunity to get some experience racing at a higher level, right? Except, his BSB team, MSS Bathams Kawasaki, took exception to his motorized moonlighting, and canned him.
That’s got to be a major blow for Hickman, who scored a DNF in the first WSBK race on the weekend, but landed a respectable 9th in the second race – not bad, considering it was his first time on the Suzuki. There’s no word as to whether he’ll continue to fill in for John Hopkins.