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Isle of Man, 01/06/2016, BMW Road Race Challenge

Island of Legends

BMW’s successes on the Isle of Man

It’s that time again: The oldest and most famous road race in the world, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, is underway. A motorcycle race was held on the Isle of Man, located between Great Britain and Ireland, for the first time in 1907. 109 years have passed since then – 109 years in which BMW has celebrated great triumphs on the “Island of Legends”. We look back at BMW’s success story on the Isle of Man; from Georg “Schorsch” Meier to Michael Dunlop.

1939: The historic first victory

It was an historic victory: Georg Meier won the prestigious Senior TT on a BMW type 255 Compressor in 1939. British riders and manufacturers had been dominant on the Isle of Man in the previous decades. A rider or a motorcycle from “overseas” had never won before.

But then came “ Schorsch” Meier. His victory in the Senior TT was an international sensation and made headlines around the world, since Meier was the first non-Brit on a non-British motorcycle to win on the Isle of Man. This victory went down in history and remains unforgotten to this day.

The golden age of the BMW sidecars

The “golden age” of the BMW sidecars started in the mid 1950s: They were dominant for 20 years and won all of the sidecar races that were held as part of the Isle of Man TT. Between 1955 and 1975, BMW riders and their co-riders celebrated a total of 27 wins. The most successful of them was Siegfried Schauzu, who – with various co-riders – clocked up nine wins.

40 years ago: Team Dähne/Buthenuth wins in the Production class

Another victory celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2016: the pairing of Helmut Dähne and Hans-Otto Buthenuth won the race in the Production class up to 1000 cc in 1976. The official results list states the BMW R 90 S as the motorcycle used, but Dähne says this is not completely correct: “It was originally an R 75/5, which grew over the years in my hands, and ended up with the big 898 cc engine. Its paintwork confused everyone, orange, blended with silver like the newer models.”

To mark the 40th anniversary of this win, the motorcycle will be on display on the Isle of Man this year, at the Classic TT at the end of August. Dähne and his winning machine from 1976, which he still owns today, will take part in the lap of honour.

The Dave Morris triple Shortly before the turn of the millennium, Dave Morris won on the Isle of Man three years in a row. He won the Singles class races on the Chrysalis BMW F650 in 1997, 1998 and 1999 – making him the first solo racer to have won on the Isle of Man on a BMW since “Schorsch” Meier.

2014: Magnificent comeback on anniversary

“Schorsch” Meier’s historic first win celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2014. To mark this occasion, BMW Motorrad UK entered road racing in 2014, and brought the BMW S 1000 RR to the Isle of Man. Together with Hawk Racing, the fielding team of Buildbase BMW Motorrad in the British Superbike Championship, and supported by BMW Motorrad Motorsport, the team BMW Motorrad / Hawk Racing was formed. The motorcycle was ridden by Michael Dunlop.

It was a magnificent comeback: Dunlop and BMW celebrated an historic triple. Supported by the HP RaceSupport, Dunlop won the Superbike race, the Superstock race, and, at the end of the week, the prestigious Senior TT on his RR. The triple at the 2014 Isle of Man TT was the start of the BMW S 1000 RR’s success story in international road racing.

This was followed by a further two podium positions for the RR last year, brought home by Dunlop and Lee Johnston. Now it is time for the 2016 Isle of Man TT. The Superbike race will be held on Saturday, followed by the Superstock race on Monday, and the Senior TT next Friday is the highlight of the week of racing.

BMW rider Dunlop is among the favourites to win again this year – as is 11-time TT winner Ian Hutchinson of Team Tyco BMW. The two riders celebrated wins two weeks ago at the North West 200 and both set new lap records. But it is important to watch out for the many other road racers who will compete on the RR on the Isle of Man this year.

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