After a strong few days of testing and qualifying, the Prime Factors Racing challenge was cut short during the Oschersleben race as a rare crash from Gary Mason on lap 92 saw them forced to retire. Despite the disappointment, the team demonstrated front running performance that they will carry forward to the next race at the Bol d’Or.
With Oschersleben being only the second Endurance World Championship race for the Prime Factors Racing team, riders Gary Mason, Barry Burrell and Stefan Capella used the opening test sessions to further refine their BMW S1000RR Superstock machine. Unfortunately, the team’s first session on Wednesday saw a total brake failure, meaning valuable track time was lost as they repaired the number one bike.
Things fared much better in Q1, with the team ending the first qualifying session fifth in the Superstock class. Making some changes ahead of the second session, the team worked through a number of setting changes aiming to secure a strong race set up that all three riders were happy with. Finalising tyre choices, fuelling and strategy the Prime Factors Racing team concluded morning warm up confident of a strong showing in the eight hour race.
With Gary starting the race, he launched off the start to climb a number of places to be challenging for top ten (which included factory supported Superbikes). Unable to replicate the grip or lap times from practice or qualifying, Gary ran off track after a few laps and dropped back outside the top 30. Making it back up into 23rd overall, he pitted in and Barry Burrell went out for his first stint but also struggled to replicate his previous times. After debrief with Gary, the team decided to change tactics and rather than just refuel ahead of Gary’s second stint, they also changed tyres. With a fresh set of rubber in, he was immediately able to lap two seconds faster that he had, and set about closing the gap to the riders in front.
Unfortunately, on lap 92 Gary suffered a huge highside which saw him taken to the medical centre and the team forced to retire from the race. Despite fearing a broken collarbone, Gary was thankfully confirmed as having concussion and severe bruising and is already looking forward to the Bol d’Or 24 hour race in September.
Team Principal of Prime Factors Racing, Bruce Charman summed up “We’re bitterly disappointed to be leaving Oschersleben in this way but are very thankful that Gary is OK. The event was another learning curve for the Prime Factors Racing team but I’m really pleased with how everyone worked, we had a few new members join for the race, they slotted in fantastically and we’ve succeeded in creating a family feeling inside the garage. We were able to put in some strong lap times and were capable of pushing at the front of the Superstock class, but unfortunately some bad luck thwarted us from showing our true potential in the race.
We now have a few weeks to further improve the Prime Factors Racing package, before we head to the final Endurance World Championship event of the year at the Bol d’Or. That event will also see our new Team Manager Steve Plater join us, and I’m confident we will be ending our debut season on a high!”