Kevin Orgis: He came, he saw, he was crowned champion.
Munich. From debutant to champion is the feat that BMW racer Kevin Orgis achieved this season. After several years in Spanish championships, he returned to his native Germany for the 2023 season and raced for his own team, ORM, in the Pro Superstock 1000 Cup, which is held as part of the International German Motorcycle Championship (IDM). The fact that the BMW M 1000 RR and the series were both new to him appeared to be no problem at all for Orgis. Over the course of the season’s ten races, he picked up maximum points for victory on five occasions. Only once did he miss out on the podium, finishing fifth. The reward for his efforts is the title, which he wrapped up at the finale at Hockenheim. We spoke to Orgis about this season and his plans for the future.
Image above © Mathias Schmid
Image right © ORM
Kevin, congratulations. You won the title in the Pro Superstock 1000 Cup at the first attempt, as a debutant, on the BMW M 1000 RR. Was that your goal coming into the season, or did you not have it on your radar at first?
Kevin Orgis: “Thank you! As this year was our very first time in the Superbike class and with 1000cc bikes, it was definitely not the goal at first. Plus, it was many years since I had ridden at the majority of the circuits, so I had no experience of them. Our goal was obviously to compete at the front over the course of the season, but we were surprised to finish on the podium in the very first race, for example. That was a great start. After that, the first half of the season, in particular, far surpassed our expectations. After all, I was lining up with new material and the team had more or less been completely reorganised. During the years in Spain, we worked with a Spanish team. Now we were taking the risk and working as a ‘family business’ again for the first time for a long time. As such, it was a surprise that everything worked so well from the outset. At the final three events, our main goal was to focus fully on challenging for the title.”
So the objective changed over the course of the season from “compete at the front” to “win the title”...
Orgis: “Yes. We got off to a really good start and then set ourselves the goal of backing up that start. We improved consistently, whilst at the same time also trying to go about things in a safe way and avoid taking risks. I did not have a single crash all season, only on a guest appearance in the Superbike class. Everything went very well and we can be very happy with the season.”
You mentioned the family team. Who is part of that team?
Orgis: “Definitely my mother and father. My father is my manager and also team principal. We obviously have some experience already, because we have been involved in the sport since 2008. You are always on the road as a family and left to your own devices, particularly in the first years. As a result, we have gained plenty of experience over the course of our careers. Then Lukas John came on board as a mechanic. He trained as a mechatronics engineer in the automobile industry and found his feet very quickly. Another very important person is Nino Hofmann, my boss at BMW Motorrad Chemnitz, where I am doing my training. He used to race bikes himself, so has a lot of experience in this field. We have all got on really well from the word go, and the way we worked together also functioned superbly from the outset. We also became extremely efficient over the course of the year, and this allowed us to cope very well with the conditions, which were new to us.”
Were there any other keys to your success?
Orgis: “There was indeed something else that was very important: in previous years, I had repeatedly struggled with arm pump. I was still suffering very badly with it in the first few events, and we simply could not get rid of it, although we tried everything. The problem continued until the middle of the season, until Schleiz. Then we were given a tip from a physiotherapist at the racetrack, who advised us to adapt our diet a little to prevent it. Since then, I have not had any issues. I was able to ride the final three events without any pain. That also had a big effect on me mentally, as it meant I could focus fully on riding. That was the key point, which made everything more relaxed.”
© Pro Superstock 1000 Cup
You spent five years racing in Spanish championships. What did you learn there?
Orgis: “I definitely learned to race differently there, and generally how to ride a bike differently. They ride far more rigorously in Spain. The riders have fewer inhibitions. As a result, you also start to keep a clear head in chaotic and stressful situations. Otherwise, you would forever be losing it. That also helped me a lot here, as I can concentrate on all the other stuff, without always being surprised when someone attempts to overtake me, sticks their bike down the inside, or something similar. That is something you learn in Spain, because there are another 30 riders who all have the same mindset. We also learned to work efficiently there. Because English was the language spoken within the team, and nobody there is a native speaker, we had to make ourselves clear and get straight to the point. You consequently work more efficiently, because you are focussing on the big, important things. That is particularly helpful when you find yourself in a new situation, which was the case with us this year.”
Why did you decide to join the 1000cc class and ride the BMW M 1000 RR in the Pro Superstock 1000 Cup in 2023?
Orgis: “I spent the last four of the five years in Spain in the 600cc class, and it was not financially possible to move up to the Moto2 European Championship or World Championship, because the costs have increased massively since last year. As a result, it was clear to us that we would return to the German scene. We were very much looking forward to it. It was something we had been intending to do for a long time, but had never really had the opportunity up to that point. Because I started my training at BMW Motorrad Chemnitz last year, one thing led to another and everything came together very nicely.”
© Pro Superstock 1000 Cup
The technical knowledge you learn in your profession must surely give you another perspective, which also helps you in motor racing?
Orgis: “That was the main reason for doing the training. During the years in Spain, it was tough to fit it in. In Germany, the travel times are shorter and the events less time-consuming. I am taking advantage of that to learn more about the technology, so that I can do an even better job at race weekends. It helps me hugely to understand the technical side of things. It can’t do any harm. That is why we made the decision, and it has proved to be a very good one.”
How long did it take for you to feel really comfortable on the BMW M 1000 RR?
Orgis: “The first day was difficult, because we did not have much of a clue about all the BMW electronics. However, we slept on it that night and everything virtually took care of itself the following day. You could tell then that I was going to like riding the bike.”
What was your best race of the season? A race or an event that you would call your highlight of the season?
Orgis: “One highlight was definitely Schleiz, because it is such an extremely impressive track. Together with Frohburg, it is the last remaining road race of its kind. Riding at such a natural racetrack, particularly on a 1000cc bike, was very spectacular. Plus, that was my first time in Schleiz and the first time I rode through the famous Seng turn my heart skipped a beat. It takes a bit of getting used to. Such a huge number of spectators always turn up there to watch the spectacle, and it was very nice to win a race there. However, seen objectively, my best race was probably the finale in Hockenheim with the brace of wins. There was some pressure there, because we still had to win the title, which meant I actually had to ride safely. The fact that we came away with two victories was really very good. Plus, we were very close to the Superbikes in terms of the times. It was a very good weekend.”
© Dino Eisele
Plans are already afoot for 2024. We will see you on the BMW M 1000 RR again – in the Superbike class of the IDM...
Orgis: “Yes, the plan is currently to take a similar approach as we did to this season. We have learned so much that we believe we are looking good and will be able to make a good fist of it in the Superbike class too. We have now familiarised ourselves with all the circuits and are learning more about the bike all the time. For this reason, we believe we can hold our own. We will also modify the bike in line with the regulations over the winter, and improve a few things to get every last ounce of performance out of it. We will then try to start in the Superbike class next year with our private family team and a similar line-up.”
What are your goals for the coming season?
Orgis: “To do as well as possible. To aim for a victory in the Superbike class would definitely be too ambitious. You have to be realistic. I don’t think I will win the title as a debutant again next year. However, I saw during this year’s guest appearances that I am definitely capable of finishing in the top ten. If I finish a few races in the top five, or maybe even make it onto the podium in the rain, for example, then we would definitely be very happy.”