The 13th BMW Motorrad Days proved that this annual event is one of the most popular motorcycling social gatherings in Europe. With record attendance on each one of its three days (July 5-7), the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen can also be clearly identified as ‘Mecca’ for the BMW Motorrad community. For those unfortunate to have missed this year’s event, here is a summary on what the record-setting 40,000-plus visitors witnessed at BMW Motorrad Days 2013.
To kick off proceedings, BMW Motorrad once again opened the festivities with an introductory ‘warm-up’ party in Munich, with more than 700 guests on the Thursday evening. Forsaking their 4th of July Independence Day celebrations, American guests Valerie Thompson – Land Speed Racing record setter on her BMW S1000RR – and motorcycle custom specialist Roland Sands were two of the many VIPs led by knowledgeable BMW historian Fred Jakobs on a guided tour of the BMW Museum. Music and dance followed suit, which set the tone for the following two evenings.
Friday morning in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the first arrivals of what became an international exodus of BMW mounted party-goers rolled into this scenic town. Overlooked by Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze (2,961m/9,714ft), the scene was set. But although the final attendance figure of more than 40,000 visitors over the weekend well exceeded the 25,000 local residents, normal life on and around the roads of the Alpine resort carried on thanks to the welcome and expert traffic control of the local police and marshals who endured the hot and sunny weather.
Many of the visiting riders and passengers were veterans of the BMW Motorrad Days, but, as the weekend unfolded, many more new members of the BMW Motorrad community came for the first time to totally immerse themselves in celebrating 90 Years of the brand. Since all accommodations are completely sold out every year, those who had left it too late to find a room in the region were happy to camp right on site.
Once again, BMW Motorrad Days was an ideal ground for creating show-stopping introductions. These included the first reveal of the K1600GT Sport, as well as color updates for the 2014 model year. Elsewhere, the first BMW Motorrad Days ‘Happy Birthday videobox’ allowed fans to step inside the interactive photo-booth style studio, add their wishes to BMW Motorrad and then become a part of the brand’s 90th anniversary birthday video.
A huge crowd pleaser could be found inside the Motorrad Exhibition hall where the public showing took place of the BMW Concept Ninety motorcycle. This one-off machine pays homage to the iconic BMW R90S created 40 years ago. Concept Ninety is a modern take on a classic BMW Motorrad machine using the latest components from the production line fused with the design and construction skills of legendary American custom motorcycle specialist Roland Sands.
Another ‘first’ for BMW Motorrad Days was the First BMD Classic Boxer Sprint, which was eventually won by Fabio Macaccini from Rimini, who was unbeatable on his customized R1200R. Thirty-two Boxer-powered specials and their riders had been selected by MO magazine and Glemseck 101 to compete in a 1/8-mile shoot-out on a closed section of public road. America’s Lady of Speed, Valerie Thompson, onboard the BMW Concept Ninety machine lined up for a show race against legendary BMW racer Steve McLaughlin onboard an original #83 R90S racer to start the proceedings.
Valerie Thompson was in no mood to come second and showed the crowds the type of blistering pace that has earned her five USA Land Speed racing records. The face of former motorcycle racer Roland Sands was a picture of delight when he saw Valerie cross the line as winner astride his creation.
BMW Motorrad Days 2013 was also a first for Roland Sands. As well as being on hand to discuss the build of the BMW Concept Ninety machine, he also took time out to witness the creativity of specialist custom builders using the legendary BMW Motorrad Boxer engine. Many of the exhibitors at BMW Motorrad Days 2013 featured unique crafted motorcycles, most representing the café racer culture that is increasingly growing in popularity.
Facebook ‘live chats’ were once again part and parcel of the weekend’s events. The easily accessible BMW Motorrad International page was a hive of activity especially when the live chat sessions began and the many brand enthusiasts who couldn’t make the event got their chance to meet and greet – albeit electronically – the visiting stars of BMW Motorrad Days 2013. The results of these live chats can still be seen online and those featured include:
• Marco Melandri – rider for BMW Motorrad Goldbet SBK team
• Chaz Davies – rider for BMW Motorrad Goldbet SBK team
• Roland Sands – American motorcycle designer and custom specialist
• Fred Jakobs – BMW Classic historian
• Joe Dakar – F800GS Adventure rider of the Hard Way East Tour
• Valerie Thompson – S1000RR riding Land Speed Racing specialist from the USA
Greeting the 40,000 attendees to BMW Motorrad Days 2013 were the white display tents of over 80 exhibitors representing every area of BMW Motorrad ownership and life. Official BMW sites included the on-road and off-road test ride facilities. Over 2,400 people took advantage of being able to ride a selection of 2013 on-road demonstrator bikes around the beautiful Garmisch-Partenkirchen region. This included the all-electric BMW C evolution e-scooter, which was enjoyed by many, including German top model, actress and presenter, Alena Gerber.
Meanwhile, at the specially built Enduro Park, nearly 1,000 male and female riders took their first steps to learn off-road skills on the wide range of BMW Motorrad dual-purpose GS bikes.
The latest technical know-how that goes into every BMW Motorrad machine could be seen, touched and heard in the Technology Consultation Hall. Just as popular were the tented areas devoted to fans of BMW Motorrad Sports, rider equipment, and accessories. Arguably the most populated area was the BMW Classic hall. Assembled within a huge area was a wide selection of exhibits from the BMW Museum. These included the first official BMW motorcycle from 1923 – the legendary R32. The bikes followed in line to commemorate the major model ranges that positioned BMW as a leader in motorcycle design and manufacture from Day One to today.
The event arena was again the center of attention and action for a greater part of the weekend, with BMW Motorrad Goldbet SBK Team riders Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies trading space with the One World Tour riders, GS Trophy contestants and much more besides. Chris Pfeiffer and his gravity-defying streetbike freestyle stunt show held the attention of hundreds while he proceeded to demonstrate one-wheel stoppies, wheelies, incredible balance and also that the man has no fear – whether on his F800R stunt bike or a standard R1200GS! Representing the four-wheel stunt world were the amazing range of MINI cars expertly driven into tight spaces, balanced on just two wheels and much, much more at the hands of UK stunt driving specialist Russ Swift.
Of course, BMW Motorrad Days wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for the dogged determination of riders, partners, and fans of BMW Motorrad making their way to the annual event. This year the showground played host to guests from over 40 nations, including someone who had made it all the way overland from China. A group of riders from the BMW Motorrad Club of Malaysia also arrived in Garmisch after starting their mammoth ride on June 19 by shipping their bikes to Istanbul. If this wasn’t a large enough distance to cover, many of our Malaysian brethren also took part in Saturday’s Major Motorcycle Parade. This seemingly never-ending parade of BMW machines and their owners plus passengers completed a two hour-long scenic route to much applause from the waiting and appreciative local residents.
While BMW Motorrad Days can rightly be considered a massive party, it is the Friday and Saturday nights when hair can be let down and dancing shoes laced tight. Food and plenty of beer mixed happily with music from Motorrad Days’ favorites Gerry and Gary (Friday) and Blechblos’n (Saturday) also accompanied by Radio Gong until the early hours. Outside of the main hall, the attraction of campfire and acoustic music from Byron was also plain to see. The talented sounds of Juicy, Los Gringos, Dreirad and DJ Robert literally rocked visitors throughout the weekend at the US Lodge.
For those who wanted to get away from the noise (or perhaps sleep off the previous night’s festivities) the BMW Motorrad Cinema was the place to be, with films, slideshows and talks from Joe Dakar, Michael Martin, the ‘One World Tour’ riders, GlobeBusters, and more.
Motodrom, the world’s oldest traveling and still performing Wall of Death, was a real highlight for fans of speed and motorcycle noise. Ladies screamed, men smiled in respect and children stared in wonder at the quality of the show from the three riding daredevils. Rather than turn audiences away, Motodrom took the decision to double the amount of shows originally planned. The Wall of Death also became a heavily packed evening venue for the rockin’ sounds of the Root Bootleg band and the Booze Bombs.
Behind the day and night time scenes, catering staff were more than able to keep up with the supply of delicious warm food and refreshing drinks – an indication of what these ‘heroes’ had to deal with can be seen with the following list of cooked and served goods:
4,400 lbs. (2,000 kg) of potato salad
3,100 lbs. (1,400 kg) of pork knuckles
4,800 halves of chicken
660 lbs. (300 kg) of scrambled eggs
1,300 lbs. (600 kg) of “Leberkaese” (German meatloaf)
6,600 gallons (25,000 liters) of beer.
With great weather and great people, BMW Motorrad Days 2013 was without doubt a memorable weekend. Plans are already in place for BMW Motorrad Days 2014. The dates have been set as July 4-6, 2014.
Check out this video of some of the event at this year’s event provided by BMW Motorrad: