June 15, 2005 The new high performance BMW HP2 off road machine got off to a dream start when it won its first competition start at the legendary Erzberg Rodeo in Styria, Austria. The heavenly peace and glorious panorama of Erzberg erupted as more than 1500 riders on all matter of machinery were cheered on by thousands of on-lookers as amateurs and weekend riders battled it out with the likes of enduro world champions, Dakar racers and even freestyle motocrossers! The Iron Road, as it is known, is one of the most prestigious and highly contended enduro-sports events in the European racing calendar.
For the first time in the running of the event, there was a race for twin-cylinder motorcycles held on the Thursday of the race weekend.
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Fittingly, it was also the long awaited competition debut of the new BMW HP2. BMW Motorrad Enduro Team Feil sent its top riders - the Dakar-experienced, rally winner Jimmy Lewis (13), Simo Kirssi (11), last year's German Cross Country winner to contend this prestigious event.
To further strengthen the BMW contingent on the debut of such a significant machine, Chris Pfeiffer (15) - four times Erzberg winner, and winner of last year's Hare Scramble and established stunt rider, was also called into action.
As the twin-cylinder race got under way along the picturesque yet incredibly steep and challenging gravel and rubble course, the HP2s battled it out amongst the other twins at speeds in excess of 180km/h as they slid and drifted their way on up the hill.
All riders looked impressively fast on this challenging course but it wasn't until the very last rider of the 1500 strong field crossed the line was the winner confirmed. Trial specialist Pfeiffer finished in second place only 1.2 seconds adrift of winner Giovanni Sala. Kirssi finished in fourth and Lewis in fifth. It was an extremely impressive first outing for the HP2 and only a sign of things to come in this the warm-up for the next two days proceedings.
Friday saw the first Iron Road Prologue with riders charging up the 13.3km long course with only a few seconds between each rider. "Eat my dust" was perhaps what Simo Kirssi was quietly muttering inside his helmet as he revelled in the difficult conditions and finished an astonishing six seconds, ahead of second-placed, single-cylinder mounted, Kurt Nicoll. Pfeiffer, after an already impressive second place debut for the HP2 the day before, finished a commendable third in the tough conditions. Erzberg legend Werner Muller finished in fourth with Jimmy Lewis not far behind in fifth.
Saturday's second running of the Iron Road Prologue had the same 1500 riders charging their way up the dry and dusty course that had been churned up by the same 1500 riders the day before. Race conditions were worse than the previous day, but that did nothing to stop the flying Finn, Simo Krissi, who again rode his HP2 to victory, two seconds faster than the day before - astonishing considering the conditions.
Lewis improved his previous day's time by a mammoth twenty seconds finishing in third place behind Werner Muller. Pfeiffer finished in fifth place rounding out the teams' superb debut of the new HP2.
Jimmy Lewis time was also quicker again, cementing his third place in overall honours and Pfeiffer's fifth place rounded out the teams' performance.View gallery - 14 images