A portrait of Nate Kern
American BMW rider Nate Kern has had a superlative 2008 racing season. During the weekend of September 6th and 7th at Summit Point Motorsports Park racetrack in West Virginia, Kern cemented his tremendous showing throughout the season by grabbing the National ASRA CCS Pro Thunderbike Championship on his proven BMW R 1200 S race motorcycle.
The Championship Cup Series (CCS) is run by the American Sportbike Racing Association (ASRA) and is one of the hottest and more prestigious racing series in the US.
"Coming into the second to last round of the National ASRA Pro Thunderbike Championship, I was under the impression mathematically that I needed a 10th place or better to win the championship. I was wrong," said Nate. "As soon as the green flag flew for the race, and I grabbed the holeshot into turn one, the announcer said to everyone at the track 'we now have our 2008 Pro Thunderbike Champion'. All I needed was to start the race to lock up the championship!"
Nate Kern's rise through the US racing ranks hasn't always been easy. Kern has earned a reputation as a racing maverick, and he is responsible for bringing BMW motorcycles back into the national racing fold (Kern is the first rider to win the Pro Thunderbike title on a brand other than Buell). His unwavering dedication to BMW, passion for competition and the zeal to do things his way has made him a grass roots hero - a true local hero where his neighborhood is the US race circuits and his neighbors are the BMW riders.
Nate on the #12 championship-winningBMW R 1200 S.
For Kern, racing BMW bikes in the US is motivated mainly by passion, dedication and guts. Unlike some of his competitors, BMW doesn't have a factory-sponsored racing team in the US. All of the racing efforts are financed privately - either by dealerships, such as BMW Motorcycle of Atlanta or Morton's BMW, or BMW riders. Kern repeatedly credits his fans as the key reason for this success. In an era where his main competitors are racing on factory-backed machinery with million dollar budgets, Kern has been grabbing podium finishes, setting lap records and ultimately winning this championship on the back of the support of the BMW rider community and an ever growing fan base worldwide.
"BMW motorcycle owners just keep coming," says Kern. "Wheels are being tightened by riders I've met for the first time. Gas tanks are being filled by BMW motorcycle owners that want to help. Lap times and notes are being taken by willing BMW racing fans that came as spectators."
One of Kern's famous mantras is that the support of BMW riders makes him go faster and he has been quoted as saying that "the more they cheer, the more competitive I become." One of Kern's deeply rooted motivations for racing BMWs is that he fully believes that the technological advantages that make BMWs great road bikes are also of massive benefit on the track. He gets great satisfaction from beating the competition by being able to brake later into turns and accelerating quicker out of corners because of the BMW's anti-dive Telelever front suspension system.
"I believe the Telelever gives me an advantage especially in braking and cornering," says Nate. "I may not always be riding the fastest or the lightest bike on the track, but I'm always riding the best cornering machine."
Nate Kern dedicates this championship to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta, Morton's BMW and the BMW motorcycle riders' community for their support in keeping him competitive.
"From Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia, back down to North Carolina and on my way home to Georgia again, I have stopped along the way and made sure to thank BMW motorcycle owners at dealers, clubs, and even at the places we've stopped on the road for food where BMW bikes just happen to be. I stop and thank them for buying, riding, and involving themselves in the BMW motorcycle family."