BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Isle of Man, 15/07/2015, Road Racing
Two BMW riders were unbeatable at the iconic Southern 100 on the Isle of Man: Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop shared the victories in the 1000cc class between themselves. Dunlop also set a new lap record, while Martin secured his place in history as one of the most successful riders in the 60-year history of the event. In his first season on the RR, Martin is more than impressed with BMW.
The weather did initially cause delays at the anniversary of the Southern 100 – the event was celebrating its 60th birthday this year – but when the action did eventually begin at the Billown Circuit, the fans were treated to some spectacular racing. In the main roles: Guy Martin on his Tyco BMW S 1000 RR and Michael Dunlop who, as at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, raced with Buildbase BMW Motorrad. The two road-racing stars certainly made their mark, producing some breath-taking battles for the lead.
First up was the Senior Race. Martin and Dunlop battled it out on their RRs over the entire seven laps, with Martin eventually coming home just 0.092 seconds ahead of his fellow BMW rider to claim victory.
“I said beforehand that we had found a good basic set-up for the Tyco BMW at the Tourist Trophy, but that the Southern 100 would be a real test. However, the BMW S 1000 RR was well up to it,” said Martin after the Senior Race.
Race number two was for the Corlett’s Trophy, and was also held over seven laps. This time it was Dunlop who came out on top. His average speed of 113.512 mph on the penultimate lap was a new lap record and saw him close in on Martin’s rear wheel as the pair began their final lap. With just a few metres to go, Dunlop passed Martin to win by 0.087 seconds.
“Winning here on a Superstock bike is pretty cool,” said Dunlop, who is still struggling with the after-effects of his crash at the Tourist Trophy. “I am still not up to strength yet, but the bike is working really well. Together with the guys at BMW Motorrad Motorsport, my own team and Stuart Hicken’s Buildbase team, we have put together a good overall package.”
The highlight of the week on the Isle of Man was the Solo Championship race, over nine laps. Martin came home just ahead of local favourite Dan Kneen to claim an historic win. It was the first victory for the BMW S 1000 RR in the Solo Championship and the third win in a row in this prestigious race for Martin. Only one other rider has achieved this feat in the 60-year history of the Southern 100: Joey Dunlop in 1976, 1977 and 1978.
“That is absolutely spot on,” said a beaming Guy Martin. “I led from start to finish and really enjoyed it. The overall package was just excellent.”
Dunlop was once again at the front of the field on his RR, but luck deserted him. He crashed in the “Ballabeg Corner” while running third. He was then hit by another rider. Dunlop was taken to hospital, but suffered nothing more than serious bruising.
While Dunlop had tasted success on the BMW S 1000 RR last year, Martin is in his first season with the Bavarian bike. And he is delighted! “I knew beforehand that the bike was very good, but I thought that BMW was just a large, faceless company. I couldn’t have been more wrong! BMW is fantastic! The people there are superb and really passionate about what they do,” he said.
The support offered by BMW Motorrad Motorsport is also overwhelming: “They send us the right people to help at the races, to offer valuable input and advice, and to set the bike up. That is awesome. Yes, it is really a fantastic experience to race with BMW.”
Martin’s Tyco BMW team-mate William Dunlop also claimed a victory for the BMW S 1000 RR at the weekend. He won the Grand Final at the Walderstown Road Races in Ireland.
The next big road-racing event is scheduled for the first week in August: the Ulster Grand Prix.