Caterham administrators in talks with possible new buyers

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The administrators currently in charge at Caterham F1 Team have confirmed in a new statement that they are in talks with a number of possible buyers for the financially-stricken outfit.

Following a dispute between former owner Tony Fernandes and possible buyers Engavest, the team entered administration last week and was taken over by administrator Finbarr O’Connell of Smith and Williamson.

Caterham will not be racing in the United States this weekend, nor will it take part in the Brazilian Grand Prix in one week’s time. Marussia will also miss both races after hitting its own financial strife following the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

In a statement issued on Friday, the administrators confirmed that it was still hoping to get the investment in place for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in three weeks’ time. Failing that, it will work to get the team on the grid for 2015.

“We remain in conversation with a number of credible, interested parties regarding the sale of the historic Caterham F1 racing team,” the statement reads.

“Our current strategy is to seek a buyer that will allow the team to compete in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on 23 November 2014 and we are doing all we can to make that happen. However, if a deal cannot be finalised in time, then the strategy is to secure a buyer to allow the team to compete in the 2015 F1 championship.

“We are working with our specialist Corporate Finance team to manage the sale process and we have received several expressions of interest from parties with the financial strength to fund a F1 race team. These conversations are ongoing. We believe this approach will maximise the assets of the broader Caterham F1 team and so enable the best outcome for creditors and other stakeholders, including employees of 1MRT.”

The statement also revealed that the employees at Caterham F1 Team actually work for 1 Malaysia Racing Team, Tony Fernandes’ company, and not the firm that has entered administration, Caterham Sports Limited.

“Staff at Caterham’s Leafield site in Oxfordshire are employees of 1MRT, which is a separate entity to CSL,” it reads. “Staff were advised in writing that from 8 October 2014, their employment had been transferred from CSL to 1MRT. This took place before the current administrators of CSL were appointed.

“As administrators to CSL, we are doing our best to resolve matters as smoothly as possible and for the benefit of creditors and other stakeholders. This remains a highly complex situation.

“We understand that in recent weeks there has been a lack of communication between 1MRT and staff at the Leafield site. The administrators of CSL are therefore mindful of the uncertainty facing 1MRT’s employees and their families and are doing their best to address this.”

For the time being, the uncertainty at Caterham is set to continue. O’Connell is set to travel to Austin this weekend for the United States Grand Prix to provide updates on the search for a buyer, but unless one is found soon, Caterham’s hopes of survival may be all but over.

Caterham drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi have come to the race in Austin despite not racing, with Ericsson conducting work for Swedish television as his F1 hopes are put on hold.

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen’s two-man battle in Motocross provides surprises

Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross
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The 2019 Motocross season is one-third in the books and the title battle may have already come down to a two-man contest, while the pair of contenders might just be a little surprising in their own way.

Strictly by the numbers, no one can count Eli Tomac’s early season charge of first- and second-place finishes shocking, but threepeating in Motocross is such an incredibly difficult feat that no one would have been surprised to see him struggle out of the gates either. And in fact, that is precisely what happened.

Tomac came out of the gates slow in Round 1 and was seventh by the end of Lap 1 of Moto 1 – hardly the auspicious start he hoped for. He rebounded only as far as fourth and that ultimately cost him a chance to win the overall. Tomac won Moto 2 to claim second overall.

In Round 2, Tomac found his rhythm and won both Motos and grabbed the red plate. For the moment, he had the momentum with three consecutive Moto wins.

Tomac stumbled again in Round 3 – this time finishing only fifth in Moto 1 and earning only 16 points to dig a deep hole that eventually surrendered the red plate to Ken Roczen.

It was at Thunder Valley in Round 3 that a pattern emerged. Tomac would not make it easy on himself early in the day, but was more than capable of winning the second Motos to overcome his deficit.

That Roczen has won this season is also not a surprise in itself. Many believed his ascent to the top step of the podium was way overdue.

That he has run so well, however, was not entirely expected at the start of the season. Since injuring both arms in a pair of accidents, Roczen came tantalizingly close to snapping his winless streak a dozen times. He won heat races during the Supercross season and finished second at Anaheim I, Minneapolis, Dallas, and Seattle earlier this year.

He just couldn’t secure the overall win.

Roczen’s Moto 1 victory at Hangtown might have been the precursor to another disappointing weekend, but once Tomac got into the lead, Roczen zeroed in on the Kawasaki’s back tire and finished second in route to the overall victory.

Roczen lost the overall and the red plate to Tomac in Round 2 at Pala, but he stood on the podium in both Motos. Roczen podiumed twice again in Round 3 while taking that overall victory to regain the red plate in what has become a seesaw affair in the early part of the 2019 season.

Last week, Roczen looked more like Tomac with his desperate struggle in Moto 1 and sixth-place finish. That was the first (and so far only) time this season that he failed to stand on the podium.

Roczen’s Moto 2 win last week was just enough to put him second overall with barely enough points to force a tie at the top of the leaderboard with 176 points apiece.

Meanwhile, Tomac failed to win either Moto with a third in the first race and runner-up finish in the second.

The moral victory and advantage may shift to Roczen this week.

As they have swapped the victory in the first four rounds with Roczen winning the odd-numbered events, he sees this weekend’s Round 5 as an opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to next weekend’s race,” Roczen said in a team press release. “The track is sandy. It’s very similar—actually almost identical—to what I ride on a regular basis at home.”

Tomac and Roczen enter Round 5 with a 32-point advantage over two riders tied for third in the standings.

So far Zach Osborne and Jason Anderson have not been in the same league as the leaders, but it only takes one slip of the wheel to fall out of the points in in a race and allow these racers to close the gap.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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