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HP2 Enduro scores well in Tecate Baja 1000

Text and photos courtesy of BMW AG

BMW HP2 Finishes on Podium in Baja 1000

November 23, 2005 - A pair of BMW HP2 Enduro motorcycles finished 3rd in their respective classes.

The No. 12x BMW HP2 Enduro of BMW Motorrad Team Baja Bound scored a third-place finish in the top-ranked Class 22 (Open Class) in this past weekend's 38th SCORE Tecate Baja 1000.

The second factory-supported HP2 Enduro of BMW Motorrad Team Mexico, finished third in Class 30 for riders over 30 years old.  The final results were the best finish in the race by any European manufacturer.

The podium finish in class 22 for BMW Team Baja Bound was the best North American finish for the factory-supported HP2 team led by veteran off-road specialist Jimmy Lewis, of Costa Mesa, Calif. Joined by riders Dave Donatoni, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Jonah Street, of Ellensburg, Wash., and Beau Hayden, of Sunland, Calif. the West Coast quartet covered the rigorous 709-mile course running through the rugged Baja peninsula in 20:57.43 hours, finishing 14th overall among the 41 motorcycles entered in the race.

Drawing the last class starting position, Lewis began the first leg of the race just after 6:35 a.m. on Friday morning.  Riding out from Ensenada in front of many of the estimated 300,000 fans that lined much of the course, Lewis was soon passing competitors through the very technical first miles.

Just past Ojos Negros, some 30 miles in, Lewis handed off to Donatoni.  The oldest member of the team at 43, Donatoni rode another 30 miles before Hayden took over for the next 150 miles.  Street completed 180 miles more before a rested Lewis took over for the next 130 miles, two headlights now attached to his HP2 Enduro as the beautiful Baja day produced a brilliant sunset. Donatoni blazed through the next 150 miles of darkness as the course headed back toward Ensenada.  Lewis rode the final 30 miles of the race to the traditional finish line inside the baseball stadium, finishing the journey he began some 20 hours before.

The trio of Sergio Vega, Manuel Luna and Arnoldo Ramirez, all of Ensenada, Mexico rode the No. 315x bike to 11th overall in a time of 20:42.09 hours.

Like their American counterparts, the trio of experienced Mexican riders quickly overcame the few mechanical problems they experienced and ran within minutes of their planned schedule for the entire 709 miles of the race.

"The HP2 Enduro survived a very tough Baja 1000," said Berti Hauser, motorsports manager of BMW Motorrad.  "Each rider reported very difficult conditions, but they also told me that they had a lot of fun riding the race.  A third-place finish is a great result, but to see that each rider enjoyed the experience is equally gratifying and is proof positive of the HP2 Enduro concept."

Lewis added, "The HP2 Enduro kept moving forward despite a few unexpected mechanical problems. In a race this rough problems are expected, but the team took each one in stride. If we fell back, we were able to quickly regain those lost positions.  This was our fifth big off-road race and second Baja 1000 with the HP2 Enduro and, while we have finished every race, this result was our best result by far.

The HP2 Enduro does amazing things that you would not expect from a bike of this size. BMW has found a nice balance between the high horsepower and the required increased weight that gets the job done and makes the bike a lot of fun to ride.  The rear air suspension allows the bike to use its power by keeping the rear tire in contact with the ground.  On the loose washboard type surface you find everywhere in Baja the HP2 Enduro does not skip, bounce or spring over the bumps like a bike with a conventional rear suspension. It feels like you are riding a piece of Velcro - the HP2 Enduro just rips through the dirt."

The HP2 Enduro, BMW Motorrad's first motorcycle from its new High Performance sub-unit, was designed and built by BMW Motorrad's most enthusiastic engineers.  The double-podium finish in the Baja 1000 was confirmation of the HP2 concept and the many months of race development during numerous off road events worldwide.  The HP2 combines BMW's 105-horsepower 1200 cc. flat-twin engine with a frame developed from years of Paris-Dakar competition.  With a unique frame, fork and rear air suspension the HP2 offers unsurpassed power and control.

The No. 12x HP2 Enduro of BMW Motorrad Team Baja Bound will be shown at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, Calif. from December 9 through 11.

This year's Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race will be televised on a delayed basis as a one-hour NBC Sports special for the second consecutive year on December 10 on the NBC Network.  A different one-hour special will premier on the Outdoor Life Network on Sunday, December 18 and another special will air in January on the Discovery HD Network.

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