Thriller at Most: First victory in FIM EWC!
Most. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team has made it onto the top step of the podium in the FIM Endurance World Championship (FIM EWC). The team celebrated its first victory in the FIM EWC at the final round of the 2021 season, the six-hour race in Most. After a breathtaking finish, the #37 BMW M 1000 RR crossed the finish line first to take the win. Alternating in the saddle were Ilya Mikhalchik and Markus Reiterberger. Kenny Foray was on standby as the third rider. Victory secured second place in the championship standings in the 2021 FIM EWC for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team.
Success in the FIM EWC came just one week after the first victory in the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) for the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. Reiterberger, Mikhalchik and Foray qualified second to secure a good start position for the #37 BMW M 1000 RR.
The turmoil at the start initially saw Mikhalchik drop back to sixth place, however he was soon able to work his way back towards the front of the field through a combination of speed and skill. After 15 minutes of racing, Mikhalchik was running second. Shortly after that, he moved to the head of the field on the #37 BMW M 1000 RR and set about opening a lead. Over the course of the race, which included two lengthy safety car periods, he and Reiterberger only surrendered the lead briefly twice. With a strong performance from the two riders, a smart strategy and a perfect BMW M 1000 RR, the team led for almost the entire race.
Markus Reiterberger crosses the finish line
Having said that, the closing stages were not for the faint-hearted. The #7 Yamaha from the YART team was closing all the time, however Reiterberger kept a cool head, used all his skill, paced the race perfectly and defended the lead to take the team’s maiden victory. After six hours of racing, and a real thriller, he took the chequered flag with a lead of just 0.070 seconds.
Second place on the podium in the 2021 world championship standings
2021 was the second season in the FIM EWC for the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team. The new BMW M 1000 RR was used for the first time this year. The team finished third in the first two races, at Le Mans and Estoril. In race three, the Bol d’Or at Le Castellet, they were forced to retire with a technical issue. The acclaimed maiden victory came just a few weeks later in Most.
Quotes after the race at Most.
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “Congratulations to the team, Werner Daemen and the riders on their fantastic victory in Most. The race was a thriller, just as the whole season has been extremely exciting. We have experienced impressive fightbacks, podiums and setbacks this year. After the Bol d’Or, we were no longer in contention for the title, however it was clear that the team would give it their all in the final race here in Most. We looked very good in the test and backed that form up in the race. We knew that we had the pace to finish on the podium. To take victory at the end of such a close race is simply fantastic. It was a fantastic job from Ilya and Reiti, who was so impressive in bringing home the win, and the whole team, which worked perfectly in the garage. That is a great way to end the season. We will keep working and know that we still have a lot of challenges ahead of us. However, this is a great basis, we have a superb team, and we now head into the winter and preparations for 2022 with great motivation.”
Werner Daemen, Team Manager BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team: “I am overjoyed. This weekend has been perfect from the word go. Together with the YART team, we were always first and second, in all the practice sessions and qualifying. To win the race by 0.07 seconds after six hours of racing is a dream. It is simply excellent, and I know how much work we have all invested in this success. Despite the races at Le Mans and Estoril not running entirely smoothly, we still finished on the podium. We then retired with a technical issue in the Bol d’Or, but these things can happen. Despite this, we still managed to finish the season in second place in the championship. I am proud of our riders and I am proud of the fact that we have taken all those involved and formed a team capable of challenging for the championship.”
Markus Reiterberger: “I think that was a really breathtaking race to the chequered flag. Ilya was on the bike at the start. He overtook everyone in the first stint and we took the lead. We fancied a five-stop strategy, but for that to work you need a safety car. That is very probable at this track, and that is exactly what happened. We managed to make one stop fewer than YART, for example. I think fuel consumption was the key to success today, and the fact that we rode flawlessly. I gave it everything in my last stint and rode against the clock. That was very tough, because Marvin Fritz was really pushing behind me. It was really very close, but I did it. I am grateful that we have finally won, as the whole team has more than earned it. This is the reward for the huge amount of hard work. Thank you to the team, BMW and everyone who has supported us. This is a really nice way to end the season.”
Ilya Mikhalchik: “I am so happy. We got our first win and it’s really an amazing feeling, especially after the bad luck we had at the Bol d’Or. Now we are also second in the world championship and this gives us extra motivation. The race was almost perfect because in the last two hours I was nearly 30 minutes behind the safety car and afterwards I was struggling a bit with the tyres and it was not easy to get back to a fast pace. In the last 50 minutes Markus did a great job. He rode a really fast pace. We won the race, even if it was with a very small gap. It is an amazing feeling and I want to say thank you to the entire team, to my family, everyone – I am just happy.”
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team
Kenny Foray: “It was a fantastic race from my team-mates and from my team. I came here on Monday, I did not know the track and my job was just to help the team whenever there is a problem. Of course, I would have liked to ride in the race, but my team-mates did a fantastic job. I am really happy for them, for the team and for BMW. The first win is a great result for us. I am also happy because I rode three races this season and we finished second in the world championship and it is always great to end a season like this. So a big thank you goes to my team.”