The BMW Motorrad Days 2016 festival was one of the summer’s biggest highlights. For three days in early July, you could have it all – a get-together, exhibition, show and party rolled into one. Famous international personalities and high-calibre bikes – from lovingly restored classics to brand-new production models – set the scene for a jovial meeting of friends old and new. And Garmisch was the perfect host.
Finally it was time to get going. Time to release the clutch, wring out the throttle and let all the tension seep away in a blur of beautifully timed gear changes. Just a few seconds later, the finish line has come and gone. Or at least that’s how it feels, as the 402.34 metres of arrow-straight asphalt separate the winners from the rest. Traditional American quartermile races have long since developed a cult following beyond the States. It’s not only engine power that makes the difference here, but the ice running through the rider’s veins. The legendary Boxer Sprint, which brings together a field made up exclusively of boxer-engined machines in two classes, is a whole lot of fun. Road-registered machines putting it all out there in a full-on race. And doing it legally as well! What’s not to like?
Famous fingers on the trigger
Well-known figures like Karl Maier and Helmut Dähne, Hardy Krüger jr. and Ronald Zehrfeld also took their places on the start line – with one main goal in mind: not to get left behind. Gripping head-to-head duels were the result, as bikes fought for every centimetre. Needless to say, friendly back-slaps were the order of the day once the racing was over. Then, winning and losing became a side issue; having a good time together was far more important. Unfortunately, the weather also wanted a piece of the action and heavy rain brought the racing to a premature close. But that’s par for the course when high summer comes to the Bavarian mountains. And anyway, nobody here was about to have their spirits dampened.
The start in Munich
The BMW Motorrad Days began in traditional style on Thursday at the BMW Museum in Munich. And it didn’t take long before the mood and music had settled into the groove of what was to follow. The next day, a fantastic line-up of events in Garmisch awaited all those who were able to bring their weekend forward a day (and there were plenty of them!). Take the GS-Schnupper-Trophy, for example, which welcomed back the winning team from the GS Trophy 2016 and the first female GS Trophy team. Plus, test rides and panoramic tours provided an inviting opportunity to explore the picturesque roads around Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Those looking for a little relaxation could head for the air conditioned BMW Motorrad cinema and allow themselves to be whisked away to the most remote corners of the world by adventurers and travel experts like Squash Falconer, Jochen Stather and others. Beware the temptation, though, to go straight out afterwards and book an exotic holiday! Friday concluded in customary fashion with the traditional welcome party featuring live music and a midnight movie showing. Kristin Kuster from Einbeck in Germany was one of those who won’t be forgetting this day in a hurry, having drawn the winning raffle prize: a brand new BMW S 1000 R was hers. Party time had very much arrived.
BMW Group Classic. Home of BMW Clubs.
The new BMW Group Classic tent soon became one of the event’s top attractions. BMW Classic parts sales, the BMW Archive and the BMW Clubs all set up shop here to excellent effect. Visitors were greeted by a large shared counter set up by the BMW Clubs and staffed by representatives of clubs based in Germany and elsewhere, such as the Riders Association from the USA, Club Dänemark and many others besides. The tent soon became an important and extremely popular meeting point. Club representatives from Namibia, Lebanon and even Iceland all stopped by.
Helmut Dähne’s autograph-signing sessions proved to be a magnet for visitors, as did BMW designer Ola Stenegard, who unveiled the R5 replica. Other high points included club bikes old and new stationed outside the tent, which drew plenty of compliments with its open and modern design.
Martina Günter, Treasurer of BMW Clubs Europa e. V., was also beaming after a “festival in the great outdoors with wonderful scenery”. It was a setting that meant the usual festival hurly-burly was conspicuous by its absence. Like Martina, Norbert Vincken also took the opportunity to natter away with like-minded individuals. The vice president of the BMW Veteranen Club highlighted the selection of competition machines on show, and was particularly taken by the meeting of an original R5 with a replica, “because you could really appreciate the new technical possibilities and almost 100-year-old structure of BMW motorcycles”.
Steven Sorge, vice president for motorcycles at BMW Club Deutschland e. V., was pleased to gather some new contacts, have some enjoyable chats and lap up the excellent organisation – which even went as far as setting up an outdoor screen so that anybody who wanted to could watch the football without having to go back to their hotel.
See you next year!
The pictures and memories that everyone takes home with them make festivals like this unforgettable. “Schee war’s”, as they say in Bavaria. Yes, it certainly was fun.