There was a lot to do last weekend for team alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW. Team boss Werner Daemen was with his pilots at two championships with chances to win. Three-time IDM Superbike champion Markus Reiterberger fought in the FIM Superstock 1000 European Championship in Brno in the Czech Republic and in the Oschersleben Motorsport Arena the International German Motorcycle Championship was held for their second event of the year and the team had, with Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR), Julian Puffe (GER) and Christof Höfer (GER), three top-motivated pilots at the starting grid.
Ilya Mikhalchik was successful right at the start of the IDM Superbike season opener 2018, which also took place in Oschersleben at the end of April. With his BMW S 1000 RR he took a second and a first place and now came back to the racetrack as IDM leader, tied with BMW colleague Bastien Mackels (B). In Oschersleben the two led their considerable duel from the free practice on. Again with the best lap time for the Ukrainian. “We are both strong,” Mikhalchik stated honestly, “and none of us will give up. But we focus on the races, where positions and points count, then you will see who is the stronger. Of course I am happy about the pole position. That was what I had set for myself and expected of myself. In the second qualifying, I was quite relaxed and had the time to do ten laps with a used tire to work on the racing pace. »
Double victory and clear lead in the overall IDM ranking was the Ukrainian’s record after the two races on Saturday and Sunday. In both races, he dominated the field away from the top, especially in the early stages a good lead out and controlled the race over the entire distance.
The Ukrainian described his joy as limitless, having won the third consecutive victory in impressive style. “Yes, it went very well,” he said. “I was able to control my pace well over the competitors. Especially on a track where I was only the second time and which I absolutely did not know before. On tracks that I know, it will certainly be a little easier for me. Two tracks are still coming, which I do not know. But I also want to show my potential there. However, perfection knows no limits, so I will continue working on one aspect or another to further improve. ”
“Of course I want to thank my team and all those who support me. Without their support, such success is impossible. »
Julian Puffe had resisted the temptation to participate in the Endurance World Champioship taking place at the same time in Oschersleben. After he had neatly bruised his knee during the tests in Zolder, he had knocked off the gear lever with his knee while catching a highsider, he came well rested to Oschersleben. “The endurance races and the IDM were far too close to each other,” he explains his decision to focus on IDM. “The IDM has top priority for me and I did not want to run the risk of something stupid to happen. I preferred to do one thing right. »
At the end of April he had missed his first IDM podium only by millimeters. After the successful Zolder test, he came up with many ideas for the IDM weekend. “Above all, we had made progress with the chassis and also with the electronics. At home, I then spent a lot of time analyzing the data.” As a reward, Puffe was one of the fastest in both qualifying sessions and landed on a promising fourth grid position.” That was really exhausting,” he admitted. “After the first qualifying, we took off our clothes for a short time, took a shower, got dressed again and already started with the second qualification. But I made a good step and pushed down my race space by half a second. ”
Relief and joy spread to Puffe when he landed on the podium for the first time after finishing the first race and thus finally arrived in the IDM. “The bike was really good. Right in the first corner I was as late as possible and I ranked myself as third. I was able to follow Ilya and Bastien Mackels until the middle of the race, then I always missed out on the two tenths. But yes, third place was really a relief. ”
By the halfway point of the second race, Puffe was again involved in the battle for places 2 and 3, while place 1 was firmly in the hands of his team mate Mikhalchik. But in the closing stages of the race, the riders in front of him were too fast and he had to ride reasonable and secured an improtant fourth place. «The front tire slightly decreased. I couldn´t hold the racing line anymore and was at risk to lose the front. The change we made did not work as expected.”
Christof Höfer was facing a tough weekend with competing in IDM and EWC last weekend. “The double burden works with the preparation of nutrition, sleep and the right attitude in mind,” says the BMW rider. «I love to face such challenges.” But despite good preparation for Höfer the weekend was done before closing time. In the EWC qualifying practice, he crashed and landed rudely on the right shoulder.
Afterwards, the medical delegate forced him to retire. Exact investigations revealed a broken scapula. He will probably have to miss one race, but in Schleiz he wants to get back on the bike.
Belgium’s Zolder is next in the IDM destination and will make the team´s heart even beat a little higher. “Home race” for team alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW from 6th to 8th of July.
Result qualifying/starting grid
1 | 1.25,241 Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
2 | 1.25,402 Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
3 | 1.25,817 Lorenzo Lanzi (I/Yamaha)
4 | 1.26,139 Julian Puffe (D/BMW)
Result Race 1
1 | Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
2 | Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
3 | Julian Puffe (D/BMW)
Result Race 1
1 | Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
2 | Lorenzo Lanzi (I/Yamaha)
3 | Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
4 | Julian Puffe (D/BMW)
Overall standin after 4 of 14 races
1 | 95 points Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
2 | 81 points Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
3 | 55 points JulianPuffe (D/BMW)