The racing history of the blue and white brand already begins with the first BMW motorcycle. Even before the official introduction of the R 32, it already participates in a race. Shortly after that, the first sport models are being introduced, with which BMW wins numerous German championships and gains international attention. By the end of the 1930s, BMW machines dominate all disciplines of motorcycle racing.

"Tested in sport - proven in series" becomes a familiar moniker. Numerous innovations, initially introduced in racing, find their way into series production. The long success story, with impressive victories on the road, off-road, on two and three wheels, continues to shape the dynamic character of all BMW racing motorcycles to this day.

Road Racing.

BMW was already subscribed to victories and championship titles in the 1920s. Between 1924 and 1929, the still young brand continuously won the German Road Championship in the prestigious 500cc class. In the 1930s, the German team on BMW achieved three consecutive victories in the International Six Days Trial, which can be considered the European Championship in off-road sports.

Starting from 1935, BMW also achieved international success in road racing. In 1938, when the European Championship was held over an entire season for the first time, Georg Meier secured the title for BMW. Additionally, he became the first non-British rider to win the Senior TT on the Isle of Man. This dominance on the road and off-road, along with countless speed records, made BMW the ultimate sporty brand by the end of the 1930s.

In 1956, BMW made a comeback to the international stage with Walter Zeller's Vice World Championship. The sporty genes of the BMW Motorrad brand are reflected in its successes at renowned events such as the Bol d'Or in France, the TT on the Isle of Man, the American Superbike Championship and the current Endurance (EWC) and Superbike (WSBK) Racing series impressively demonstrated again and again.

Side Car Racing.

Sidecar racing is among the most popular racing events of the post-war period. The motorcycle sidecar was considered the »car of the common man«, and the racers with their spectacular maneuvers were known as »acrobats on three wheels«. In 1954, Wilhelm Noll and Fritz Cron won the first sidecar world championship for BMW, breaking the long dominance of the English. No one suspected that this was the beginning of an unparalleled series in racing: Between 1954 and 1974, BMW sidecars won 19 driver and 20 manufacturer world championships. Over time, the motorcycles also underwent a remarkable visual transformation. While they started as solo racing machines with sport sidecars, the sidecars were soon lowered and bodywork modifications became increasingly important. These efforts were rewarded with another world championship title in 2016.

Tourist Trophy.

The Tourist Trophy is a motorcycle race that has been taking place on the Isle of Man since 1907. The event is considered the oldest, most exciting, but also one of the most dangerous in racing. In the week-long series of competitions that take place during TT, over 40,000 racing fans flock to the island every year. In 1939, Georg »Schorsch« Meier made history here. He won the Senior TT on his supercharged BMW, becoming the first non-Briton to win the champions league of racing series. From the 1950s onwards, BMW dominated the sidecar class of the TT, winning again with solo machines in 1974 and 2014.

Speed Records.

Top speeds in motorcycle racing are always just a momentary snapshot. To make an objective and fair comparison of which is truly the fastest and therefore best motorcycle in the world, conditions must be standardized. World record runs set such a universally accepted benchmark. In 1929, successful street and off-road rider Ernst Jakob Henne set the first absolute speed world record for BMW. Henne made the headlines of the world press and helped propel the brand BMW to international renown. The speed world record subsequently developed into a prestige battle with English and Italian riders and brands. Henne was able to outperform the competition again and again. Over the course of his career, he set a total of 76 best performances. In the post-war period, Wilhelm Noll followed suit. The sidecar world champion of 1954 and 1956 led the BMW sidecar teams to new records again and again.

Off-Road Racing.

BMW knows off-road. The BMW R 37 already wins its first international gold medal in rally sport. Whether it’s Sixdays, hill climbs, or circuit races, BMW consistently appears in the winner’s lists and proves its reliability in difficult terrain. The desert offers a new challenge. First held in 1979, the Paris-Dakar Rally quickly earns a reputation as the toughest test in off-road sports. For BMW, the endless stages under the scorching heat of Africa on unpaved roads are the ideal stage to test the reliability of new products under the toughest conditions. Between 1981 and 1985, the newly launched G/S series proves the off-road capabilities of the boxer engine with four wins. With the overall victory in 1999 and the quadruple success in 2000, BMW Motorrad celebrates a successful comeback at the »Dakar«.

Page Overview: BMW Motorcycle Racing