The rakish, all-new 8 Series Coupe is proof positive that BMW is a brand on the move – in an upwardly mobile direction. Here’s an accomplished big GT that’s an intoxicating blend of old school and cutting edge with a dash of luxury. Powerful, plush and packed with the latest tech, it’s also blessed with …
There’s a feeling of the inevitable as Marc Marquez wins the Fastest Qualifier BMW for the 6th time. As the ‘Official Car of MotoGP’ for 20 years, the BMW M Award has been given to the fastest qualifying performance across each season since 2003. And for the past six years, that’s meant a new BMW added to the Marquez garage.
Motorcycle racers are legendary for their ability to use and abuse hire cars. But Marquez now has enough to start loaning out his own collection. For six consecutive years he has been awarded the latest in the BMW M range as a reward for his qualification achievements.
Given his success at the highest level of motorcycle racing, it’s no surprising Marquez has broken several qualifying records along the way. Since 2003, the BMW Awards have seen him become the first rookie to achieve it in 2013, the first rider to win three in-a-row in 2015, and first rider to achieve four awards in 2016. Considering he’s a five-time MotoGP champion at the age of 25, it might be wise to invest in a bigger garage for the future.
This year Marquez drives away in a new 2018 BMW M3 CS. Not necessarily a match for his Repsol Honda RC213V. But still the most powerful BMW M3 so far, with a 460hp M TwinPower turbo inline-six-cylinder engine achieving 0-100 kmh in 3.9 seconds. It’s got a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, adaptive suspension, full leather interior and 19 inch alloys.
“I can hardly believe that I have won the BMW M Award for the sixth time running,” said Márquez at the award ceremony at Valencia. “One year ago, I announced here that my objective for 2018 was to claim this sixth victory – and I have actually managed it. That makes me very proud. Now I can hardly wait to get behind the wheel of this fantastic BMW M3 CS. I want to thank BMW M GmbH for providing the BMW M Award as an accolade for the fastest qualifier. This shows special appreciation for us as MotoGP riders. The prospect of winning this prize provides even more motivation for us when qualifying starts on Saturdays.”
The BMW M Award is based on a points system allocated for the MotoGP qualifying each weekend. And the rider with the most points over the season gets a brand new BMW M series. Marc Marquez holds the record with six awards, followed by Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner who each received 3. Jorge Lorenzo is next on 2, and 1 award has gone to both Sete Gibernau and Nicky Hayden.
It’s a hat trick as Peter Hickman wins his third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix. The British Superbikes and road racing star led an all-British podium finishing ahead of team-mate Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp. The 2018 event was the 52nd time the event has been held, and followed wins for Hickman in 2015 and 2016.
The race on the 6.120 street circuit finished on lap nine of 12 after the race was red-flagged due to a crash involving Phil Crowe and Ben Whylie. The early leader had been Honda-mounted Michael Rutter, before Hickman was able to move past on the Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing BMW S 1000 RR.
Hickman was the pre-race favourite after claiming his first Macau pole start. And the Louth-based rider moved into the lead on lap 3. He began to pull away from Rutter and the chasing riders including Jessopp, Danny Webb and Gary Johnson until the race was brought to a premature end.
A delighted Peter Hickman said: “Michael got a much better start than me which is usual as he is always good off the line. I was quite happy to just sit there and follow him to watch where he was strong and where he wasn’t. I could hear the Ducati behind me so realised Martin was fairly close so after the third lap I decided it was time to go and got my head down, passed Michael and began to pull a bit of a gap.
After half distance he began to gain ground on me and was only 0.7s behind so thought I had better get my head down again and pull the gap back out again. I looked at the TV screen at Lisboa and saw that I had pulled away again but unfortunately the red flag came out. I really hope the boys involved are ok, which is the main thing to be honest. It is fantastic for myself, the Smiths Racing crew, (I had my usual team around me) and Aspire-Ho Bathams who are the sponsors for the team, to give them a win here is absolutely brilliant.”
Hickman has achieved wins in every international race in 2018, along with qualifying for the British Superbike Showdown. That includes victory in the Superstock and Senior TT at the Isle of Man TT, along with the fastest lap record of 135.452mph. Plus victories at the North West 200 and the Ulster Grand Prix.
Behind the podium finishers of Hickman, Rutter and Jessopp were Danny Webb (BMW) and Gary Johnson (Kawasaki). Horst Saiger took sixth ahead of Davo Johnson, Derek Sheils and Davey Todd. Completing the top ten was the returning John McGuinness.
In total, 24 riders completed the race, with Craig Neve the final classified finisher. Only Davy Morgan and Didier Grams failed to finish, as the red flag meant Wylie and Crowe were included in the provisional results in 15th and 16th place. Fortunately the reports are that Wylie was taken to hospital with injuries understood to not be serious, and Crowe was pretty much unscathed. The crash occurred at Fisherman’s Bend as Wylie struck the barrier on his Bimota before Crowe collided with the fallen motorcycle.
German BMW parts specialists Wunderlich must like the BMW R nineT. They’ve already built 10 custom versions of the bike using the products they make. And now the Wunderbob custom BMW R nineT Bobber from Wunderlich is the eleventh, and probably most radical, creation.
The bobber style means plenty of changes to the stock BMW motorcycle. And it will all be something you can potentially achieve for your own bike in the future. Wunderlich is developing the individual parts that were custom made to be on sale from around Spring 2019. And there’s possibly also a complete Bobber kit in the works, although it hasn’t been confirmed yet.
The Wunderbob custom BMW R nineT Bobber from Wunderlich starts with raised, wide handlebars. And lowering the Wunderlich suspension by 25mm. The challenge was to then convert the style of the bike without losing the defining elements of the BMW.
Head of Product Management and Development, Felix Wunderlich: “We wanted our bobber to be more powerful and lighter while at the same time emanating an air of nonchalance. The challenge was a demanding one, as traditional bobbers are usually based on transversely installed two-cylinder V or in-line engines, which present far fewer structural and design restrictions than the BMW Boxer due to the arrangement of the footrests alone”
The Wunderbob custom BMW R nineT Bobber from Wunderlich gets a minimalist dash display, which streamlines the front of the bike. And fits nicely with the new handlebars. And the dark blue metallic paint, which along with the black finish and saddle, gives a fairly subtle and classy look.
The fully adjustable footpeg system will help to make sure you’re comfortable in the new saddle position. Which has now been relocated with a tubular loop frame. That means the rear light and indicators are incorporated, and also cleans up the rear of the bike above the new rear mudguard. The mudguard itself was custom-made to accommodate the BMW swingarm, and wider Bobber rear tyre.
Frank Hoffmann, Wunderlich Managing Director: “Our portfolio of concept bikes ranges from the Wunderlich G 310 GS, which we are giving away here during the Intermot, to our Pikes Peak hill climbing motorcycles. With the WunderBob we are presenting the first Wunderlich Bobber, which also represents our eleventh R nineT conversion. Anyone who knows us, knows we thrive on difficult challenges – indeed we go looking for them! Half-hearted solutions are frowned upon for us. Especially half-hearted retro! We have transformed the R nineT into a bobber that is a contemporary reinterpretation of the Bob Jobs of the 40s and 50s, while losing nothing of the R nineT‘s iconic appearance.“
So the Wunderbob Custom BMW R nineT Bobber From Wunderlich gives you a mix of retro and modern style. Plus you get German reliability underneath it all. And the BMW badge has become a pretty familiar part of the modern custom motorcycle world.
As mentioned above, if you want to create something very similar, you should be able to buy the parts individually from early 2019. And Wunderlich might also offer a complete conversion kit if there’s enough demand.
So what do you think of the modern BMW Bobber? Good, bad or indifferent? Drop a comment below to share your opinions…
1993 was quite a while ago. Bill Clinton became the new U.S President. Czechoslovakia was replaced by the Czech Republic and Slovakia. And the European single market was created as the European Union was founded. In motorcycling, 1993 saw the launch of the BMW R1100GS, along with the Ducati Monster, Triumph Tiger 900 and Yamaha YZF750. And BMW Mottorrad Enduro Park Hechlingen was created. Now in 2018, the BMW Enduro Park celebrates 25 years of hosting off-road enthusiasts.
The Enduro Park Hechlingen took an abandoned quarry and turned it into a 26 hectare area for enduro motorcyclists of all abilities. And it covers a range of challenges including steep slopes, gravel tracks, single trails, forest tracks, ruts, climbs and descents, as you ride under the watchful eye of the professional instructors.
It’s also notable as the inspiration for numerous BMW enduro parcks and official partners around the world. Not only was it created to provide a place for motorcyclists to enjoy improving their riding, but a lot of work has been put into preserving numerous species of animals and plants. The conservation work even won an award from the German Federal Ministry of the Environment.
As the BMW Enduro Park celebrates 25 years, there are more than 40,000 people who have visited to improve their riding. That’s across around 250 training courses each year, run by more than 50 employees instructing and in the workshops. And maintaining the bikes includes around 420 tyre changes on an annual basis. As well as around 400 clutch and brake levers broken off each season.
The photos reveal how much has changed since the park opened. Aside from the early 1990s riding kit, there was the transition from the BMW R100GS and R80GS to the modern dual sport BMWs we see today. The BMW R1100GS was a slight stepping stone, but it shares a clear lineage right down to the current R1200GS.
BMW opened the park with the idea of offering motorcycling as an ‘integral, all-round experience’. And obviously this and other parks have to cover their costs. But you can imagine how much feedback and usable data is generated by having 3,650 riders using and abusing your bikes in a controlled environment in 2017 alone.
The Enduro Park Hechlingen was originally owned and operated by BMW Motorrad, but in 2008 it was passed over to Enduro Park Hechlingen GmbH under the direction of Manfred Spitz, one of the first instructors. And both companies are currently looking at various expansion and extension plans to create an even bigger and better experience.
Having experienced the BMW training available in the UK, we’re sure that the Enduro Park Hechlingen must be a pretty incredible experience for any enduro enthusiast. As the BMW Enduro Park celebrates 25 years, here’s to hopefully writing a story explaining how it has grown over the next 25.