Awake for three days.

At the BMW Motorrad Days, Garmisch-Partenkirchen becomes a party mile.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen has been setting aside the first weekend in July for two-wheeler fans from all over the world since 2002. They all travel to the German Alpine setting in order to celebrate with like-minded people. The festival combines the various facets of the motorcycling world, ranging from customising to adventure and from stunt riding to racing. We look back on the BMW Motorrad Days 2016, before Garmisch-Partenkirchen will once again become the centre of the motorcycle culture from 7 to 9 July.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is buzzing like a beehive.

Three days is not enough. On Thursday evening, one motorcycle after the next whizzes through the historical centre of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The small town, situated on the foothills of the German Wetterstein mountains, is buzzing like a beehive. The people of Garmisch and Partenkirchen are used to there being a lot going on here. In 1936, they jointly hosted the first German Winter Olympic Games. Back then, the two communities were joined. Although the two villages still have their respective festivities, club activities and even their own dialects, Garmisch-Partenkirchen gives off a proudly unified impression, as the venue for the Four Hills Tournament and for skiing world championships.

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Those seeking to go motorcycling, will be seduced by the long winding country roads that culminates in tight serpentines.

It is home to prominent athletes like Maria Höfl-Riesch, Laura Dahlmeier, Miriam Gössner or Felix Neureuther. And since 2002, it also has been the perfect backdrop for the BMW Motorrad Days. The famous Zugspitze and lots of other summits rising off into the Bavarian sky make sure of this. Those seeking to go motorcycling, will be seduced by the long winding country roads stretching along lush green pastures. It is a ride through a peaceful landscape that culminates in tight serpentines, at the end of which the Alpine panorama awaits. In no time at all you end up in the Austrian town of Innsbruck, from where you have a clear run into the Dolomite Alps.

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The Garmisch-Partenkirchen melting pot.

The landscape alone is worth the trip. Thus, it is hardly surprising that motorcycles with number plates from all over the world are whizzing round the ancient cobblestone roads of the picturesque village. GS adventurer Željan Rakela has travelled from Croatia – which is just a stone’s throw away considering the 308,000 kilometres his GS has under its belt. Far longer was the journey to the BMW Motorrad Days for Prasit Aphiphunya. The Thai has travelled all the way from Bangkok with the F 800 GS; 12,000 kilometres, which took him two months.

Among the guests are also former participants and marshals of the International GS Trophy, and the first women’s team. “It feels as though Garmisch-Partenkirchen was far away from the world. And that’s coming from me, hailing from South Africa”, says Morag Campbell. “The scenery with its mountainous landscape and winding roads seems like a perfect set design – surreal even.” Morag will be on the go with other GS riders in the Enduro Park directly on site. She will be answering questions about the International GS Trophy in the GS Trophy tent.

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Warm-up for the party.

Many know each other from years gone by, while some have just met each other for the first time – it doesn’t matter.

Warm-up for the party.

Three days definitely is a short period of time for several guests given the distances involved, and must be savoured to its fullest. Awake for three days – at best. Hence, lots of people arrive before the party actually begins. They use to sit around the bonfire, talking and laughing. Many know each other from years gone by, while some have just met each other for the first time – it doesn’t matter. “People share a passion for motorcycles and have travelled from afar in order to experience this adventure together”, says Amy Harburg. The Australian was also on the women’s International GS Trophy team, and treats the BMW Motorrad Days as a reunion with her team colleagues and the GS family.

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The scenery with its mountainous landscape and winding roads seems like a perfect set design – surreal even.

Morag Campbell

GS Trophy female team

In the middle of an action film.

Stunt rider Mattie Griffin attracts attention at the Event Arena.

In the middle of an action film.

Rolling stoppies, freehand wheelies, backward burnouts – on Friday morning, Mattie Griffin attracts attention at the Event Arena. From now on, he will show his stunt riding skills on the F 800 R every couple of hours for the next three days. Those among the spectators become infected with the passion of the stunt riding star from the Irish town of Galway. “I enjoy the look on peoples’ faces when I make them smile or marvel”, Mattie says enthusiastically after the show. Sarah Lezito is also among the spectators. The French woman is considered to be the best female stunt rider in the world. In 2017, she will also perform in the Event Arena and gets now a foretaste of the atmosphere in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The programme in the Event Arena doesn’t let up: next comes the Action Lifestyle Show, where hip-hop dance, skateboard tricks and motorcycle stunts conjure up a refreshing lifestyle in the stadium.

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Rockabilly and relax.

Live bands bring the Rockabilly feeling into the idyllic Alpine setting.

Rockabilly and relax.

A few metres further, the action scenario carries on in the “Original Motodrom”, the world’s oldest travelling wall of death. Donald Ganslmeier and his team defy the laws of gravity with their breathtaking show. “When we were here for the first time, we had a total of five performances. Meanwhile, the BMW Motorrad Days have become such an attractive force that we do a show every half an hour.” And the intensity continues in front of the Motodrom well on into the evening. Live bands bring the Rockabilly feeling into the idyllic Alpine setting. Those not dancing relax on couches – or in the social lounge, where guests can have a selfie taken with tattoo model Makani Terror and graphic novel artist Riccardo Burchielli. The artist is compiling the first sketches live for BMW Motorrad’s comic book “Riders in the Storm” in collaboration with Panini. Next door, instant photos are being taken on the action stage with the new G 310 R. These are also available in digital form and can be posted straight away.

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Discovering the Alps with new bikes.

 

There is hardly a more suitable place for motorcycle tours than Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Those wanting to explore the Alpine roads on new bikes can sign up for one of the excursions. For the guided tours, there is a choice of bikes from the current model range: the touring motorcycle R 1200 RT, the sporty R 1200 RS, or the travel Enduro R 1200 GS. German actors Hannes Jaenicke and Daniel Roesner test out the electric scooter BMW C evolution on the journey to the nearby Eibsee.

“The C evolution feels like a heavy machine, takes off like a rocket and is as comfortable as a GS”, Hannes says, describing the riding experience. He has already ridden the maxi scooter before – while this is all new territory for Eva Håkansson, who made it into the Guinness book of world records with her homemade electric streamliner. “You always think that the torque is not cool without the sound, but in fact precisely the opposite is true. An electric motorcycle is like chocolate without the calories. It has everything I desire – speed, torque, and power – but without the side effects such as noise and air pollution.”

 

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Motorsports back then and today.

Maria Costello is the first woman to finish on the podium of the Isle of Man TT.

Motorsports back then and today.

While the new bikes in the exhibition tent and the latest fashion represent the present, visitors to the classic tent embark on a journey back through time. “This is where the heritage of BMW Motorrad can be seen”, racing rider Maria Costello says while taking a stroll past the historic bikes, several of which call the BMW Museum their home. She stops at the R 90 S and inspects the bike from all angles. It is the winning bike of racing legend Helmut Dähne. In 1976, he won the production class of the Isle of Man TT with it. His original red leather suit from back then is hanging up next to it. Maria marvelled at the TT riders for a long time, before getting started herself and becoming the first woman to ride her way onto the podium.

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Artwork.

At the custom village, R nineT builds gleam in the sun.

Artwork.

The Double-R rider held the record as the fastest woman around the TT circuit for five whole years. At the BMW Motorrad Days, Maria meets up with other greats of motorcycle racing such as Jordi Torres, Markus Reiterberger and Ian Hutchinson. They sign autographs and mingle with the guests. Maria is also frequently seen in the vintage motorcycle scene as she competes in road races and boxer sprints with classical BMW motorcycles. Directly opposite the classic tent is the custom village, where modified bikes gleam in the sun, presented by the biggest players on the scene. Winston Yeh’s R nineT build has been flown in from Taiwan, and the Church of Choppers from the USA. Munich’s Diamond Atelier and the Swiss VTR Customs have also brought their latest models to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

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When we were here for the first time, we had a total of five shows. Meanwhile, we perform every half an hour.

Donald Ganslmeier

Original Motodrom

Listening in on the whole wide world.

Elspeth Beard embarked on a world trip in 1982 with a BMW R 60/6.

Listening in on the whole wide world.

In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, wanderlust breaks out when Michael Martin starts recounting tales about his motorcycle journeys through the deserts. The photographer has seen them all and therefore travelled to around fifty countries. His stories are as legendary as his photography, and his performances are known far and wide. In the BMW Motorrad Cinema, silence prevails despite the fact that the room is packed to the rafters. Spellbound, listeners let themselves be carried off to faraway lands and receive inspiration for their own motorcycle journey. The speakers that follow are equally top class: Elspeth Beard embarked on a world trip in 1982 with a BMW R 60/6 – a highly unusual endeavour back then. Hollywood has already called about making it into a film, and her book is in the process of being written. At the BMW Motorrad Days, there is already an initial taster for it – and the feeling that everyone can recount impressive stories from their own personal world of motorcycling.

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Herbert Unger gazes up to the Alpine peaks, which surround the BMW Motorrad Days like a blanket. “Look at that: this is the definition of the BMW Motorrad brand, this is Make Life a Ride”, says the German globetrotter. The opinion that the BMW Motorrad Days belong to Garmisch-Partenkirchen is also shared by those responsible at BMW Motorrad: from 7 to 9 July 2017, the location will once again become the party mile for motorcycling fans from all over the world. Awake for three days – three joyful days.

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BMW Motorrad Days 2017

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