Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Historic victory at home race: BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team wins the 24H SPA EWC Motos.

Spa-Francorchamps. It is a dream that has come true. The BMW
Motorrad World Endurance Team has won the 24H SPA EWC Motos. After
24 sometimes dramatic hours on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
(BEL), the #37 BMW M 1000 RR crossed the finish line with a big lead
to claim victory. The key to success was faultless performance from
riders Markus Reiterberger (GER), Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) and Jérémy
Guarnoni (FRA) and the perfectly functioning team led by manager
Werner Daemen (BEL). Victory at the home race was also the first win
for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team in a FIM Endurance World
Championship (FIM EWC) 24-hour race. In addition, it is the first
24-hour race victory for a European manufacturer since 1971.

 

In the qualifying sessions on Thursday and Friday, the team with
Reiterberger, Mikhalchik, Guarnoni and Kenny Foray (FRA) as the fourth
rider secured second place on the grid, a good start position for the
Ardennes Rollercoaster. As the race got going, it was clear that the
#37 BMW M 1000 RR was one of the favourites.

Reiterberger, Mikhalchik and Guarnoni were battling at the front,
claiming first place several times, and never dropped out of the top
three before making a final move into the top spot during the night.
The race took place in dry, summery conditions up to the morning when
events took a turn. The rain arrived around eight o’clock and track
conditions became more than treacherous. While some of their
competitors took a tumble the riders for the BMW Motorrad World
Endurance Team did not take any unnecessary risks.

They had built up a large lead by the time the race was interrupted
due to a massive oil slick on the track after around 21 hours. After a
break of two and a half hours, the race restarted for just 15 minutes
– in heavy rain. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team never looked
likely to surrender the victory, and tension gave way to boundless
celebrations in the pits at 13:00 local time.

The privateer BMW team LRP Poland secured ninth place in the EWC
class with the #90 BMW S 1000 RR, and tenth position overall. Riding
that bike were Dominik Vincon (GER), Pepijn Bijsterbosch (NED) and
Bartlomiej Lewandowski (POL).

Reactions to the win at the 24H SPA EWC Motos.

 

Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “I am
extremely happy. It was simply a fantastic weekend. I am so delighted
for the team and the partners. It really was a deserved win,
especially after the bad luck at the season-opener at Le Mans. We have
worked very hard on the project over the last few years and solved a
lot of details. It is just wonderful to be rewarded with a win on an
absolutely faultless weekend. We made a very good start and it was
like a sprint race early on. Our rivals struggled with technical
problems or rider errors during the night. We did not make one single
mistake. All the pit stops went perfectly and we stayed out the
longest on one tank, while our riders also remained consistent,
reliable and safe under the most challenging conditions. That all paid
off in the end. Of course, those last two hours after the red flag
were so tense, before the decision was made to restart the race. We
had a lead of several laps so we just had to get the bike home. The
tension levels were very high anyway, making it all the sweeter when
we crossed the finish line to secure the first 24-hour win for a
European manufacturer since 1971 and the first for BMW Motorrad.”

 

Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team:
“The race was incredible. The first hour was like a Superbike
sprint and really exciting for the nerves. And the rest of the race,
the guys did a very good job. I think we are the only team that did
not make any mistakes. We were maybe not the fastest but we made no
mistakes and in endurance that pays off in the end. We went with a gap
of eight laps into the final minutes. It is a dream that has come
true. As a Belgian guy who said 20 years ago ‘once I will come back to
win’ that is a dream. This is something that nobody can take away from
us. A big thank you to the team, to BMW and all our partners and
sponsors who made this possible. Without them, you cannot race. And
also especially to the riders who did an incredible job.”

Markus Reiterberger: “I am unbelievably happy.
Preparations for the race were great, with really good testing. We
knew how strong we are. I was able to battle away really well at the
front in my stints, as our bike has proper straight-line power but is
still very economical. We just tried to maintain a consistent pace and
avoid making any errors, hoping that nothing would break. We achieved
all of that, while everyone else fell, made mistakes or suffered
technical problems. Our team managed it all superbly and the riders
did a good job. I think that the entire team, BMW and everyone else
involved have earned this victory. It is our first 24-hour race win,
with a Belgian team manager, in Belgium, on such a fantastic circuit.
And it was thrilling right to the finish, with some breathtaking final
minutes. But we did it, and I would like to thank BMW and the team for
ensuring that everything went as well as it did.”

Ilya Mikhalchik: “It is an amazing feeling. It is a
very special win. Apart from the fact that it is my first win in a
24-hour race, it is also the first one for the team – and this in the
home race. All the hard work of the team has paid off and it was an
unbelievable job. We did all this together. I hope that we can
continue this way in the next races.”

Jérémy Guarnoni: “I am really happy, especially for
the team and for BMW because I think after Le Mans everyone was hoping
to win at Spa. I am new in this team and to win the second race with
them at Spa is unbelievable. The teams deserves it so much. They work
really hard and now have the reward for all that work in winter. Also
Ilya and Reiti have been absolutely unbelievable on the track. They
are always fast, in the night, in the wet, in dry conditions. I am
really proud for them and very happy for me. I have now won all three
24-hour races in the calendar; that’s fantastic. I hope that we can
fight well in the championship because in endurance, you can win until
the last minute of the last race.”

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