It is all change for this weekend’s (Jan 30 – Feb 1) second round of the Euro Offroad Series as the championship returns to Berlin for a second year. Following a successful first visit to the German capital city last year, the first change is the venue with the race moving to a larger, more modern, building to better cater for the 200 plus entries. Having partnered up with Schumacher as official tyre supplier for Season #4, which got underway in Poland last October, another change for Round 2 is the switch over to pre-glued handout tyres for everyone. The third change comes in the form of the track action after the 2015 brought about one of the biggest team driver line up changes in years.
The championship’s most successful partnership, that of Joern Neumann and Durango, is no longer following the manufacturer’s decision to dissolve its factory race team meaning the German will race his home event without a chassis sponsor. The benefit of being a free agent is that the undefeated 3-time 4WD Champion can choose which ever cars he feels is going to better his chances of adding to his tally of being the championship’s most winning driver. Also effected by the Durango decision, multiple podium finisher Michal Orlowski, will line up in new team colours with Schumacher, who having lost both Tom Cockerill & Round 1 star Carson Wernimont, have snapped up the talented 13-year old.
One of the key instigators in the creation of the EOS, Hupo Honigl will also be representing a new team at Round 2. The Austrian, who last season finished third in the 2WD standings after a successful campaign with Team C, joins Serpent giving the electric offroad newcomer its first full factory representation in the championship. Another manufacturer to be represented for the first time with a factory presence this weekend is HB who have signed EOS regular David Ronnefalk, the Swede having previously been Kyosho’s lead charger.
Team C, while losing Honigl, have gained former 1:8 Offroad World Champion Robert Batlle. Having previously raced in the EOS for 2WD Champions Team Yokomo, the Spaniard did not contest Round 1 and will be hoping to mark his return to championship with a strong debut for his new team.
Having got his 2WD title defence off to the perfect start when he dominated Round 1, Naoto Matsukura will not make the trip to Germany, the Japanese ace having only just signed for Kyosho after his shock departure from Yokomo. Still Yokomo will be contenders for another win through 2WD World Vice-Champion Lee Martin. Finishing on the podium in Poland, the British driver will be looking to claim his first EOS win for Yokomo and while without Matsukura as a team-mate will again have designer Shin Adachi on hand who is travelling from Japan for support as well as racing himself.
One of only three drivers to have enjoyed wins in the EOS in 2WD & 4WD buggy, Martin Bayer is the only front runner who travels to Round 2 without a change of chassis sponsor or loss of a prominent team-mate. Championship Runner-up in 4WD, the Xray driver will be hoping for a strong showing having missed out on the podium at Round 1 and will be spurred on by his battle with Neumann for the win at the DHI Cup earlier in the month.