Melissa ParisThe FIM Endurance World Championship has quietly become one of the most interesting motorcycle racing series going right now. A number of former and current road racing stars are spending time there and competing on the entertaining and historic circuits on which it is often held. A short list of female competitors…
Steve Martin, Gary Mason, Jason Pridmore, and many champions from mainly European nations, with the notable addition of Australians and an American or two, all race alongside and with one another for team honors above all else. This year’s running will have another contender in Team Weronica, a team consisting of Italy’s Paola Cazzola, Guatemala’s Vania Medrano and Nina Prinz of Germany – all women in case you didn’t notice.
The second North American representative was recently announced to be AMA Pro Daytona SportBike series competitor Melissa Paris.This can be considered a significant milestone for women in the sport of motorcycle racing. If you do look at it like that, this is the first all-female team in the history of the Endurance World Championship. The histories of each of these impressive riders are also lists of firsts; for instance, Paris set a new record as the highest placing woman at the Daytona 200.She was also the first woman to qualify for a FIM World Supersport race.
Medrano has championships in an interesting progression through disciplines starting with motocross, through enduro and into supermotard. The first woman to enter for an entire World Supersport season is Cazzola, and Prinz has taken the women’s European Superstock 1000 Championship and diced it up in the German (IDM) Superbike Championship.
Moving away from the significant first(s) that this team represents – which is a great legacy, but it couldn’t have come soon enough – the experience and determination are impressive sans any gender qualifications. Team Weronica has a diverse range of talent, and will have the backing of an equally adept team of engineers and technicians from the British Superbike Championship series paddock. Their ride will be the power-meister BMW S1000RR, a bike which has garnered plenty of praise on the street but precious few podiums on the race circuit. That is definitely changing and the S1000RR is seeing its fortunes improve as the factory gains racing experience with the bike. Beyond the pure, raw horsepower, BMW has also equipped that machine with an incredibly adaptable set of electronics which allow for great latitude in settings.
Team Weronica BMW S1000RRChemistry will need to be a primary focus for everyone on the team early this year if they hope to have a good season. If language and ego are not barriers, the bike will be the biggest challenge to conquer – and that can be a long process. Finding a good setup for all riders on an endurance team is difficult enough with a bike which all members of the team have had some experience with; the S1000RR is a new beast for Team Weronica. However, sometimes a common drive for a singular goal, as with all team sports, can be a very powerful tool which brings out the best in everyone involved. Team Weronica has all the right ingredients, now they need to get started on mixing things up!
The first race of the 2011 FIM Endurance World Championship is the 16 – 17 April running of the 24 Hours Bol D’Or at France’s Magny-Cours.
Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com