The story of the Haojue team is a tale of woe, and one which appears to be reaching its tragic conclusion. After dismissing engine designer Jan Witteveen for "a lack of performance" the team elected to skip the Catalunya round of the 125cc World Championship. Their subsequent non-appearance at the Assen round added fuel to the flames of speculation which licked around their future, but the announcement that both Michael Ranseder and Matthew Hoyle have been released from their contracts showed that there was a real fire raging behind the smoke emanating from the team garage.
Ranseder has come out of the episode reasonably well, the Austrian rider having found a home with the Italian CBC Corse team and due to make his debut at the upcoming Sachsenring round. No news of the fate of Matthew Hoyle yet, this being the first season that the young British rider was to spend in the 125 class, after a strong year in the Red Bull Rookies Cup.
But Ranseder's pronouncements on his personal website do not bode well for the Chinese-backed Haojue team. Prior to the Assen race, Ranseder announced that he had finally been released by the Haojue team, after finding out that the most of the rest of the team had also been released. "I'd found out in the last few weeks that the contracts of most of the team members had been terminated. At first, it wasn't really clear to me why my contract hadn't been dissolved as well. I was desperate to get hold of Garry Taylor, and he told me that I can go look for another ride straight away," Ranseder wrote on his website.
With no riders, only a skeleton crew at best and development of the bike at something close to a standstill, the days of the Haojue team are surely numbered. An interesting experiment, bringing Chinese money into a sport which desperately needs it, is likely to fade far too quickly into the history books.