There’s a saying in motorcycling that the older you get, the faster you used to be, but 53-year-old Stéphane Mertens is certainly showing no signs of slowing down. On the S1000RR in 2012, he has won just about every race he has entered this year, including helping Team Herpigny win its second Belgian Endurance Moto Championship.
Mertens has a long association with racing BMW bikes. The former Grand Prix racer, double World Endurance Champion and Superbike World Championship runner-up has also raced in BMW’s International Boxer Cup and Power Cup series. He also runs a racing school at the Mettet circuit in Belgium, where he uses a fleet of RRs to show riders the skills required to master a dedicated sports motorcycle on track.
With BMW Motorrad Belux technician and racer Vic De Cooremeter injuring himself in an early season crash, Belgium Team Herpigny boss Gaétan Herpigny asked Stéphane to join the team and race alongside 2011 champion Greg Fastré. Their first victory of the year came in April, where Mertens and Fastre participated in, and won, the first round of the Belgian Endurance Moto Championship at Francorchamps.
The next win came at the ‘4 Hours of Zolder’ in June, where Mertens and Fastré collected maximum points. This was followed by another two races at Oschersleben in July, where Mertens and Fastré ‘did the double’. Then, at the 6 Heures Moto of Spa in August, Stéphane Mertens, Gregory Fastré and Vic De Cooremeter (back from injury) won this prestigious race on the RR for the first time.
And then at the final round – the 500km of Zolder – over the weekend of October 13 and 14, even though Team BMW Motorrad Belux Herpigny Motors were unable to win the Saturday race – eventually finishing on the podium in third place – they came back strongly to win the second race on the Sunday.
Having already been crowned Belgian Endurance Champions (for the second time in a row) at the previous round, their final points total was 195 out of a possible 200, and 89 points clear of their nearest rivals. Furthermore, at this final event, Team Herpigny also secured the Belgian Superbike Championship thanks to Greg Fastré’s performances on the RR throughout 2012.