European Stunt Riding Championship
No Hands, One Handed Crossover, Candybar, Fender Grab,
Touchdown, Look Back, Coaster, Combos, Circles, One-handed
Circles...and these are just the wheelies!
Then you have stoppies and strange names like Nac Nac,
X-over, One Handed, Can Can,
Kiss, One-eighty! Maybe you could simply summarize
them using one generic term: Don’t try this at home!
The 26 stunt-riding gladiators will certainly laugh about this
well-meant advice. They finally came to the Austrian
town of Röthis (map), about 25 kilometers South of the
Bodensee, to fight for the title of Europe’s best
motorcycle stunt rider and for a sweet 13,500 Euros in
Acrobatics on two (or mostly on one actually)
wheels has become more and more popular over the last three
four years. While the freestyle motocrossers with
big-time sponsors already
fill big stadiums with their risky jumps, stunting has
been more of an underground activity, with
riders seen usually at venues like
dealer grand openings or biker parties.
Bernd Eberle has been a successful motocross rider
in the past. Back in 2004 he gave up his sport
because of one injury too many. But the now 34-year-old Austrian
hasn’t lost his passion for motorcycling and as a result
he is organizing different types of bike events.
Since he's also working as a riding instructor
at the ÖAMTC driving center in Röthis he had the perfect
location available for the stunt riding championship. More than 5,000 spectators came to
see a competition that was a perfect combination of excitement,
sports and show.
2008 European Stunt Riding
Championship Slide Show (Below)
The 2008 European Stunt Riding Championship
demonstrated very well that less regimentation can
certainly have a stimulating effect on the sport itself
and especially for the crowd. The rules are written on
just two pages and they also include important details
such as any competitor can get three free drinks and
meals per day.
The technical rules for the bikes only have three
cornerstones: A capacity of at least 500 cc, two
cylinders and a street-legal sport exhaust (but, of
takes that too seriously!).
Simple, eh? Maybe this is an example
for FIM and Dorna to design the rules for the successor
of the 250 cc street racing world championship?
The majority of the riders rely on 600 cc supersports bikes from Japanese production,
alternatively with or without fairing, some of them even
with a license plate -- after all, you do also need a
set wheels to travel back and forth.
More displacement was favored only by French
rider Rodolphe Briche, who failed to be in the final
with his Honda CBR 900, and top favorite Chris
Pfeiffer. He's been a BMW works rider since 2006
and he is doing things with his F 800 which would drive
normal riders of the BMW brand close to a heart attack.
Is it an advantage to have 200 cc plus and as a
result a better torque from low revs?" we asked Mr.
not really. The 600 cc bikes are about 20 kilograms
lighter and also have more power. But the two-cylinder
engine of my BMW perfectly matches my riding style“, the
world’s most popular stunt rider, who nearly could be
the father of some of his competitors at the age of 38,
It's interesting to note that most of the stunters are from France.
unbelievable how stunt riding is booming there in the
moment“, Chris Pfeiffer says.
"In this country, stunt riding seems to go the same way as skateboarding or
BMX in the past.“ This can be easily seen from the
results: Seven from eleven starting riders of the Grande
Nation made it to the final, although they were only
able to reach the podium at the separate "Longest Stoppie“ competition.
But the riders of the Equipe Tricolore
didn’t only convince the crowd with wild show effects,
they also demonstrated especially immense talent.
2008 European Stunt Riding
Championship Slide Show (Below)
Simon Martinez definitely attracted the attention of
the spectators in Röthis. After just 50 meters of run-up he didn’t only
make the third longest stoppie with 57.50 meters -- he also
showed a strong freestyle performance with his Kawasaki
In contrast to the other competitors, this bike
was nearly standard. It only had a quite subtle black
paintjob with green accents, no side mirrors, crash
pads and a second handbrake control for the rear wheel.
While all other riders had equipped their bike
with chain wheels up to pizza plate size to reach a
shorter transmission Martinez relies on masterly balance
which made him reach seventh position at the 2008
European Stunt Riding Championship.
The jury of four judges, which consisted of high-grade
stunt riders such as Swiss guy Slim Gruber; "Cyrilslider“
Aguilera from France; German Ronny Rothe and Jurrien
Hillen from the Netherlands, had to choose the new
European Champion after three runs from qualification on
Saturday over the semifinals on Sunday morning and the
final later the same day.
The three top listed riders -- Chris Pfeiffer from
Germany, Hungarian Angyal Zoltan and Bart van den Eynde
from Belgium -- even had to run their full program from
three to four minutes during practice on Sunday. A
heavy rain shower had caused abnormal conditions in the
final minutes of qualification on Saturday evening.
But the three skilled protagonists couldn’t be
concerned with that: They fought out the title amongst themselves. Nevertheless,
Chris Pfeiffer didn’t have a perfect run in
qualification: "I have tried a bit to hard, rode very
aggressively and nearly came off the bike on an
extremely tilted donut . Then I stalled the engine
because I unintentionally engaged the side stand, which has
never happened to me before.”
A stunt bike with a working side stand?
But the public didn't care about the faults, because
Pfeiffer returned to his rhythm quickly and demonstrated
his competitors in the semi-final and the final that
there was nobody out there on the track to stop him
weekend. His winning prize of 5,500 Euros were
The Chris Pfeiffer unit, including both rider and bike,
is a perfect match and he shows enormous self-confidence. This
combination didn’t only make "C.P.", how his fans call him,
the European Champion for the fourth time with a 47 points
lead -- it also makes him the Michael Schumacher of this
But although he doesn’t necessarily earn millions of Euros
per year with his shows, his professional appearances
have paid off. He’s not only a BMW works rider, but
he also has a
well-paid sponsorship with Red Bull.
addition, his shows around the globe make the German the
stunt scene’s highest-paid artist. But he certainly deserves this
status: in Austria he always had an open ear for every fan
and wrote masses of autographs. At least in this point
he is superior by far to the multiple Formula 1 Champion
and recently amateur motorcycle racing rider...
Slide Show: 2008 European Stunt Riding
Angyal Zoltan, 2007 World Champion, was again
toughest challenger in 2008. The Hungrian, who rode his
stunt program with two different motorcycles, showed a
strong performance over the whole weekend and also took
the crown and the 500 Euros money for the longest
stoppie with his 64 meter run.
But he felt unfairly
treated from the beginning at the stunt riding
competition; on Saturday they didn’t want to let him
start in the qualification run with his Kawasaki EN6R,
on Sunday there were a lot of discussions about his
Suzuki GSX-R with fairing.
Zoltan also was at odds with
the jury: he didn’t see a reason why his final program
got 20 points less than the one of Chris Pfeiffer
although he had included especially difficult elements
with his Kawi that had no front wheel!
The 23-year old artist may not be completely wrong
but his German competitor was the better balanced and
more perfect rider over all three runs.
Bart van den Eynde entered the podium in third place, 16 points behind Zoltan. He
spiritedly pushed his black and gold Honda CBR 600 FS
over the 100x15 meter rectangular stunt area and outpaced
French rider Thomas Sagnier for the final place on the
podium. His beautiful, orange
Kawasaki 636 with fairing was an eye-catcher as was his
strong riding performance.
The entire field of stunt riders demonstrated an astonishingly
high level of skill. Crashes were absolutely rare and that was
fine, because in contrast to the written rules, some of
the young wild French stunters started in T-Shirts and
three-quarter length street trousers. But with protectors on
arms and legs they still couldn’t be stopped from dragging
a leg along the ground!
Please remember: Don’t try this at home!
Stunt Riding Championship
||B. van den Eynde