Top privateer WSBK team shuts down

Success came at a price for Stiggy Honda

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Dec. 14, 2009
The top World Superbike privateer team of 2009 will not be competing in the 2010 season.

The Stiggy Honda racing team announced it will not compete in either the World Superbike or Supersport Championships in 2010. The team cited economic difficulties as the reason for its withdrawal.

Named for its owner, former Grand Prix racer Johan Stigefelt, the Stiggy Racing team has been a constant in the World Supersport paddock since 2005. After earning its best overall result in 2008, Stiggy Racing opted to compete in both the World Supersport and Superbike classes in 2009.

Racing for Stiggy Honda, Leon Haslam was the highest placing privateer racer, finishing sixth in the Championship, right between factory Hannspree Ten Kate Honda racers Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa. During the season, Stiggy Honda also employed American racers John Hopkins and Jake Zemke, and Italian racer Roberto Rolfo. Their combined efforts placed Stiggy fifth overall in the team standings.

John Hopkins competed in seven races for Stiggy Racing in 2009 before a season-ending injury.Stiggy Racing’s Supersport team had equal success in 2009, finishing fifth overall on the strength of riders Anthony West (seventh) and Gianluca Vizziello (18th).

The team’s success in the two classes came at a price however as competing in the two classes was a financial drain contributing to the decision not to race in 2010. The biggest blow was the loss of the team’s financial partner S2 Racing at the start of October. In the weeks following the S2 Racing split, Stiggy Racing announced it would not retain Haslam in 2010. The team also chose not to enter West in the season finale in Portimao, Portugal.

“Economic difficulties have made it impossible for us to finish the season the way we wanted,” Stigefelt said ahead of the Portimao round. “Yet again I have been forced to take drastic measures and had to cut Anthony for the last race. This is a very bad situation I have been put in and if I could solve the problems in a different way I would; this was really a last resort solution.”

Though his team will not be competing, Stigefelt won’t be absent from the series in 2010. Stigefelt has reportedly signed on as technical director for the new Retwagen BMW satellite team.