Made for winning.

BMW motorcycles are on the road to success from the outset.

From the Six Days of the twenties to the quadruple victory at the Dakar rally: the offroad sporting history of the blue-white brand starts with the first BMW motorcycle. And the riders are keen for spectacular BMW victories and championships.  

The beginnings of offroad sport.

The beginnings of offroad sport.

With the R 32 having not yet even been officially unveiled, it already finds itself on the start line of an offroad ride: chief designer Max Friz took part in the "ride through Bavaria's mountains" in 1923 with the first BMW motorcycle developed by him. BMW engineer Rudolf Schleicher recorded the first international success in 1926 at the famous Six Days in England – as a private rider, he secured the gold medal on a standard R 37.  

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Consecutive international successes.

Consecutive international successes.

Time for the team spirit: for the international six-day ride, BMW provided a German national team. In 1933 in Wales, world record rider Ernst Henne together with Josef Stelzer and sidecar duo Josef Mauermayer / Ludwig Kraus brought the title back to Germany for the first time – on 33 HP Boxer machines of type R 16. The team repeated this magnificent success one year later. In 1935 too, this time on the legendary BMW compressor models, the title went to Germany and BMW.  

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Restart with great names.

Restart with great names.

After the end of the second world war, it would not be until the start of the fifties until BMW took part in offroad sport events again. This is when the success and the great names came about. Georg and Hans Meier, Walter Zeller or the team Ludwig Kraus / Bernhard Huser and Max Klankermeier / Hermann Wolz won countless medals at national and international competitions. Their bikes are 250cc single cylinders as well as 500cc and 600cc powerful boxers.  

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Enthusiasts and new talents.

Enthusiasts and new talents.

In the mid-fifties, BMW disbanded its racing division. This resulted in a generation change among the riders. Young talents like Sebastian Nachtmann, Kurt Tweesmann or side-biker Karl Ibscher won consecutive German championships in the sixties for BMW. From 1970 until 1972, Herbert Schek took home the German championship for BMW three times consecutively. These would be the last titles for BMW offroad sportspeople for a while, as two-stroke motorcycles would soon dominate the scene.  

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Another BMW works racing team.

Another BMW works racing team.

Following a change in regulations in the German championships, offroad sport became interesting again for four-stroke motorcycles in the seventies. Laszlo Peres from the BMW testing department took a light homemade construction to the start line and immediately attained second place in the German championships. After that, BMW sent a works team to the race in 1979. Richard Schalber became German champion and took third place in the European championships. One year later, Werner Schütz took the title as German champion, and Rolf Witthöft won the European championships.  

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Paris-Dakar

Successes in the desert.

In the eighties, the adventure took the offroad riders into the desert. The "Paris-Dakar", the most demanding rally in the world, was held for the first time in 1979. In 1981, the Frenchman Hubert Auriol took home BMW's first victory, which he repeated two years later. The ambition had been awakened: In 1984 and 1985, BMW sent a factory team armed with desert-proof modifications to the "Paris-Dakar". The Belgian Gaston Rahier rode for two consecutive years through sand, dust, heat and cold with his GS on top of the podium. The spirit of GS becomes visible.  

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Firmly in BMW's hands.

Commanding double victory: in 1984 and 1985, BMW sent a works team with desert-proof modifications to the "Paris-Dakar". The Belgian Gaston Rahier won the rally in 1984 on the works machine GS 1000, Auriol takes second place. Just one year later, Rahier repeated his victory on the 75 HP Boxer machine. He was once again the first to cross the finish line at the traditional final leg on the Lac Rose in Dakar. Their successes are still inspiring engineers at BMW Motorrad today: the Concept Lac Rose is an interpretation of the rally legends and an homage to the victorious bike.  

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A French heritage.

A concept bike, that unites customising and rally history: the Concept Lac Rose.

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The list of winners is getting longer

Rallies in Egypt and Mexico.

Rallies in Egypt and Mexico.

BMW also joins the list of winners at the Pharaons rally in Egypt and the Baja California in Mexico. Eddy Hau made headlines in 1988 as a private rider, winning the Marathon classement for near-serial production motorcycles on his BMW at the "Paris-Dakar". BMW engineer Jutta Kleinschmidt was also subjected to the exertions of the rally: in 1992, she determined the women's competition for herself.  

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The Comeback

Single-cylinder get started.

Single-cylinder get started.

The break lasted longer than ten years. Then BMW Motorrad celebrated its return onto the rally sport scene with a works team in 1998. This time, the single-cylinder models based on the F 650 took to the start line of the "Dakar". Frenchman Richard Sainct took home BMW Motorrad's fifth victory at this event in 1999. The biggest triumph followed one year later: BMW Motorrad took the first four places. Richard Sainct once again took home the winner's trophy, and behind Oscar Gallardo – but still in front of Jean Brucy with their single-cylinder models – Jimmy Lewis, with his BMW Motorrad R 900 RR, took third place with a boxer.  

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On and Offroad

HP2 Enduro on the start.

HP2 Enduro on the start.

After the 2001 season, BMW Motorrad ended its works rally championship and concentrated more heavily on road racing with the Boxercup. Nonetheless, BMW Motorrad continued its involvement in offroad sport and hit the ground running again with the HP2 Enduro in 2005. Up to and including 2008, the standard offroad boxer was on the start line at offroad races – like the German, Austrian and Italian cross-country series.  

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