Adverse track conditions and temperatures only just above freezing were not enough to stop Team Motobike from an excellent victory last Saturday, as Markus Barth and Jurgen Fuchs (151) achieved a clear win in Class 4 of the prestigious 1,000 km Hockenheim race. The BMW HP2 Sport passed its test in series production sports racing with flying colors.
From 9am on Saturday, approximately 130 teams of Classes 1-4 lined up at the 2.83 mile Hockenheim Grand Prix circuit for the endurance test. For safety reasons because of the poor weather, the race management had drastically shortened the race, so instead of the usual 120 to 130 laps, the teams only had to do 40 laps to qualify for the sprint.
In compliance with the regulations, Team Motobike entered two serial production HP2 Sport machines. The motorcycle with the start number 151 was piloted by last year's winners Markus Barth and Jurgen Fuchs, while Rico Penzkofer and Stephane Mertens rode the #162 HP2 Sport. Both machines were provided by BMW Motorrad Germany.
At the start of the sprint - covering the usual 14 laps including a mandatory change of rider - brilliant sunshine rewarded the spectators and participants who had braved the cold conditions. In Class 4 (4-stroke with max. three cylinders, without capacity restriction) a total of 22 teams lined up at the start, representing a wide variety of motorcycle manufacturers, including Buell, KTM, Aprilia, Honda, MZ, Suzuki, Yamaha and Ducati.
On his HP2 Sport, Markus Barth quickly put a significant distance between himself and his pursuers after a successful 'Le Mans' start. After the changeover, Jurgen Fuchs then supremely reeled off the remaining laps to complete the victory. However, Rico Penzkofer on the second BMW was less fortunate. While in third place he became involved in the aftermath of a crash ahead of him and was forced to drop out. For Boxer Cup veteran Stephane Mertens, the sprint was meant to be a return to racing after a lengthy absence due to injury, but the personable Belgian - who was replacing the injured Thomas Hinterreiter - did not even get to race.
Markus Barth was delighted with the victory: "First of all I think the organizers have done a great job in handling these marginal conditions with great care. Thanks to the discipline of all participants we didn't see many crashes. The frequent schedule alterations caused some agitation in the teams, but it was the same for everyone. The motorcycle ran beautifully, the team worked excellently and I really enjoyed myself out there in the race. It's a pity that Penz got caught yet again after falling in Daytona through no fault of his own."
Team Motobike boss Albin Kirchengast was all smiles after the race: "Just like last year with the R 1200 S, BMW Motorrad showed once more that it really has got sporty genes - this time with the HP2 Sport. With the serial production version of the endurance machine we were able to keep strong competition from Mattighofen at bay, and we are really pleased to have been able to repeat our victory."
Team Motobike is a cooperation partner of BMW Motorrad Germany for motorcyclist training programs.
1. Team Motobike BMW HP2 Sport
2. Buell Hannover Buell 1125 R
3. KTM Germany KTM RC8
4. KTM Germany KTM RC8
5. Buell Racing Bonn Buell 1125 R