One victory and no fewer than a further five podium finishes were claimed by BMW S 1000 RR racers last weekend when they kicked off their 2017 racing seasons in France and South Africa. In Le Mans (FRA), the French Superbike Championship (FSBK) and the French European Bikes Championship (FR EU) held their first races of the year, while in Killarney (RSA), the 2017 South African Motorcycle Road Racing Championship (RSA SBK) began. In all three racing series, the BMW Motorrad Motorsport riders were successful. With their results, they also had a good points haul for the 2017 BMW Motorrad Race Trophy.
French Superbike Championship in Le Mans, France
Le Mans (FRA) marked the first stop of the 2017 French Superbike Championship (FSBK) this weekend. The season began with a podium finish for the BMW S 1000 RR. Kenny Foray (FRA), who aims to fight for the title with the Tecmas Racing Team, finished the first race of the year with a strong second place. Two more BMW Motorrad Motorsport racers crossed the line in the top 10. Matthieu Lussiana (FRA / Geomoto by ASPI) was fifth, while Maxime Bonnot (FRA / Tecmas Racing Team) brought his RR home in tenth place.
The race weekend in Le Mans was overshadowed by a tragic accident in the second race of the Supersport class on Sunday afternoon. During a crash, Adrien Protat (FRA) suffered fatal injuries. After the tragic accident, the organisers cancelled the remaining race programme of the day, including the second FSBK race and the French European Bikes Championship (FR EU). Our thoughts are with Adrien’s family, friends and team.
Kenny Foray: “Qualifying went well, I finished second both times, very close to pole position. Unfortunately my race start was not the best and it was difficult to get back to the very front as the leader was already too far away. I pushed hard and eventually crossed the line in second. It was a result I was happy with but has no importance at the moment as we lost a friend in the Supersport race so it is not easy for us at the moment.”
French European Bikes Championship in Le Mans, France
Also in 2017, the French European Bikes Championship (FR EU), a championship exclusively for bikes of European manufacturers, holds its races alongside the FSBK. The season opener in Le Mans (FRA) saw a fantastic 1-2 result for the French brothers Florian and Cyril Brunet-Lugardon. They both compete on BMW S 1000 RRs with team Gers Moto Vitesse Ordannaise.
During race one on Saturday, they were involved in a thrilling three-way-battle at the front. After 16 laps, Florian Brunet-Lugardon crossed the line as the winner, just 0.7 seconds ahead of his brother Cyril, who had secured second place in the last corne.
Florian Brunet-Lugardon: “Cyril did a good start and was battling for the lead, while I was following directly behind in third. The race was then interrupted by a safety car period, and after the re-start, I immediately took first position. It was a tight battle against second placed Nelson Major to the end of the race, but I managed to stay in front and to secure my first win of the season. In the last corner, Cyril took second place with an incredible overtaking manoeuvre so it was a 1-2 for the BMW brothers. However, it also was a sad weekend for us with that tragic accident that happened in the Supersport race.”
In total, six BMW S 1000 RR riders crossed the line in the top 10. Behind the BrunetLugardon brothers and just outside the podium positions, Julien Brun (FRA) came home in fourth position. Hernani Teixeira (FRA) was sixth, and Michel Amalric (FRA) and Frédéric Pecoraro (FRA) finished eighth and ninth respectively. Sunday’s second race was cancelled after the tragic accident in the Supersport class.
South African Motorcycle Road Racing Championship in Killarney, South Africa
The South African Motorcycle Road Racing Championship (RSA SBK) held its first two races of the season at Killarney near Cape Town (RSA) last weekend. The season opener saw no fewer than three podium finishes for the BMW S 1000 RR racers. David McFadden (RSA / RPM Center Sandton Auto BMW) began the season with two second places on the rostrum. Lance Isaacs (RSA / Supabets/Sandton BMW Motorrad) joined him on the podium after race one, crossing the line in third. In race two, Isaacs finished fourth.
David McFadden: “With P2 in both races we gained a lot of data and figured out what we need to do to win. Huge thanks to my team for never giving up and working to win. We will come back stronger, harder and faster. I am loving my life on the BMW S 1000 RR.”
Lance Isaacs: “I have to say a massive thank you to my team, my sponsors and partners and everyone involved for all their hard work. This weekend was probably one of the most amazing weekends of my career, not only as a rider but also as the team owner of Lance Isaacs Racing. I think there are big things to come, and in the first race, we fired a massive warning shot. We had our struggles and it has not been easy because we only had one weekend of testing while the other teams had weeks and weeks of preparation, so to finish on the podium in race one was great and I am very happy with the results we achieved this weekend. I am looking forward to an exciting season and 100 per cent sure that we will climb our way to the top step of the podium.”
Heinrich Rheeder (RSA) was 15th in the first heat but failed to finish in race two. Isaacs’ team-mate Justin Gillesen (RSA) finished in 22nd place on both occasions after missing most of last season due to injury.