North West 200: First international victory for the new BMW S 1000 RR – BMW racers Mikhalchik and Puffe win at IDM season-opener – Ben Young wins first race of the season in Canada.
North West 200: Hickman claims first international victory for the new RR.
This weekend’s North West 200 in the Northern Irish town of Coleraine represented the first major event of the 2019 international road racing season. It promptly produced a landmark victory for BMW racers when Peter Hickman (GBR) won Thursday evening’s Superstock race on the Smiths Racing team’s new BMW S 1000 RR. It was an historic success, being the first international victory for the new RR. Michael Dunlop (GBR / MD Racing) finished third to claim another podium for the BMW S 1000 RR. “BMW and the Smiths Racing team have made it possible to win with the new bike on its first outing,” said Hickman. “I was soon able to take the lead. From then on, I just gave it everything and tried to pull away. I felt really strong in the section on the coastal road and, as soon as I had pulled clear, I was able to control the race.”
A further three races in the 1000cc categories were scheduled for Saturday, but poor weather and heavy rain made for difficult and dangerous conditions. A number of riders decided not to take the risk in these tricky road conditions and opted not to start, or soon returned to the pit lane, including Hickman and Dunlop. This time, it was Davey Todd (GBR) from the Penz13.com team who claimed a spot on the podium on his RR. Todd ended Saturday’s race in the Superstock category in third place. Bruce Birnie (GBR / Carnegie Fuels) was the best-placed BMW rider in the first Superbike race in twelfth place. Race control cancelled the afternoon’s feature Superbike race for safety reasons.
International German Championship: alpha Racing-Van-Zon-BMW dominates season-opener with the new RR.
The championship-winning team from the past two years, alpha Racing-Van-Zon-BMW, now running the new BMW S 1000 RR, dominated the opening round of the 2019 International German Championship (IDM) at the Lausitzring (GER). Team principal Werner Daemen’s crew claimed an excellent one-two in race one, which was red-flagged and reduced to nine laps. Reigning champion Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) crossed the finish line first on his new RR, followed by team-mate Julian Puffe (GER) in second place. Mikhalchik was leading again in race two, until a technical issue forced him to retire.
Puffe inherited the lead and went on to take his maiden IDM Superbike victory with a lead of six seconds. “You could see immediately how competitive our new bike is,” said Puffe. “The first race was a bit eventful. After the interruption, I was on Ilya’s heels. However, I then missed a gear change and could do nothing more than look after second place after that. In race two, the luck was really on my side. Ilya was really unlucky. I feel very sorry for him. I would like to thank my team for working so hard to get us back up at the front again.” Dutchman Pepijn Bijsterbosch finished eighth and sixth in the two races. Jan Mohr (AUT) also had a top-ten result, finishing ninth in race two.
Canadian Superbike Championship: Ben Young wins first race of the season.
The 2019 season in the Canadian Superbike Championship (CSBK) also began with a win for a BMW racer. There was no beating Ben Young (CAN / Ben Young Racing) at the opening round at Shannonville (CAN). He secured pole position on his BMW S 1000 RR and then went on to take a lights-to-flag victory in the race. “It feels fantastic,” said Young. “I had a very good start, but I knew all race that the chasing pack were behind me, so I really had to push. It is great for BMW to continue its winning run in this championship this season. I feel honoured to be a part of it. We are now all looking forward to the second race in a few weeks.” Samuel Trepanier (CAN / Blysk Racing) ended the race in fifth place. Jeff Williams (CAN) and Ivan Babic (CAN) finished seventh and eighth.
BMW Motorrad BoxerCup: Successful debut at the Lausitzring.
The new BMW Motorrad BoxerCup promoted by Wilbers made a successful debut on the support programme for the IDM weekend at the Lausitzring (GER). The riders scrapped hard for every hundredth of a second on their identical BoxerCup bikes in practice. This continued in the qualifying sessions, while the races featured some thrilling battles for position. The two Wunderlich Motorsport team riders were in unbeatable form. Chris Höfer (GER) bagged a brace of victories in the Lausitz region of Germany. Team-mate Nate Kern (USA) was second in both races. The third spot on the podium in both races went to Marvin Jürgens (GER / Team Motorsport Burgdorf). The next round of the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup will take place in five weeks (21st to 23rd June) at Zolder, Belgium.