The International German Motorcycle Championship (IDM) is on the home straight. With the appearance in Assen (NL), team alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW, managed by team boss Werner Daemen, took part in the penultimate IDM round 2018. The BMW Motorrad team competed with two riders. Ilya Mikhalchik from Ukraine and Julian Puffe from Germany jointly scored points for the Bavarian manufacturer. Christof Höfer had to end his season prematurely because of an injury.
Ilya Mikhalchik took a one-day break before the busy IDM weekend and explored Amsterdam. From Friday he put the full concentration on the IDM Championship mission. On the Dutch Grand Prix track, the Ukrainian knows his way. “I’m more than ready,” he explained before the first free practice session. “I really like the track. But with my BMW and my team together, I’ll like the track a little more.” Mikhalchik already achieved a victory in the Superstock European Championship and a top six place in the Supersport World Championship in the past.
Mikhalchik was not deterred by the mixed weather conditions. “It’s like it is,” he said on a rainy Friday. “I’m ready for any situation.” On the training Saturday, the Dutch autumn weather showed its gracious side. Mikhalchik finished with a best lap time of 1.39.999 min in the first qualifying immediately. In the final qualifying session he undercut his laptime with a 1.39,895 min again and claimed his fifth pole position oft he season.
In the first race, the Ukrainian was simply unbeatable. He took the lead from the start and earned another domination-victory. “The first race was really good,” said Mikhalchik. “From the first to the last lap I had everything under control and gained a big lead.”
In the second race Mikhalchik gave the command for a long time, but in the end he got involved with the former WorldSBK pilot Lorenzo Lanzi. The Italian pushed past the BMW rider in the penultimate lap. “I had chosen the same tire compound as in the first race. Thus, in the morning it was a bit cooler. Most others rode with the softer tire. I got along well with it in the second race as well. Nevertheless, I finished second. Of course I could attack Lorenzo. But I knew better and decided to keep my second place. And prefer not to do strange things and then risk important championship points. »
“Overall, I’m happy,” he said at the end of the day. “Especially after these really very changeable conditions. Cool, warm, windy, wet, dry. It was all there and we were able to show our speed in all trainings. “With 31 points ahead of Bastien Mackels, Mikhalchik will head to the finals. His plan is already set. “I want to continue in the same way – going for the victory”, so his clear message.
Julian Puffe repeated his goal as in the previous races. A pole position, a second and five third places are already secured in his personal hit list 2018. What he´s still missing, is a victory. “That’s still up to date,” he confirmed his plans. “Assen is a good track. I already had some very good races, but never on a superbike but only on a 600cc bike.»
“There were difficult conditions on the first day,” he said on Friday after fifth place. “Rain, sun and wind alternated throughout the day.” In qualifying, the weather was calmer, at least. But the BMW rider had to work hard to keep up with the high speed set by his team-mate. In the second qualifying session he improved by another six-tenths of a second, taking fourth place on the grid. A problem occured afterwards. “There was a complaint about the tire sticker,” explained Puffe. “That’s why I was pushed back four positions and had to tackle the races from eighth on the grid. I knew that would be a tough job. ”
Puffes racing Sunday became similarly turbulent. He fought his way up to the third position but after immediately the race he suffered from another penalty. “I was already in the Parc Fermé in the square for the third podium position,” he describes. “Then I was told that I had extended the track limits and there was a time penalty of two seconds.” Puffe was then ranked sixth and was accordingly annoyed. “Four laps before the end of the race I had to shortcut at the last chicane to avoid a collision,” he was aware. “I have won nothing – on the contrary. I lost a lot of time and a position. The race direction didn´t show any penalty during the race – only afterwards. In my opinion there is no foundation for this punishment. »
He found the appropriate consolation with a third place podium in the second race. “It was still annoying that I had to start so far back,” he added. “And on top of that, the start was not good. It’s best to quickly put a stop to my Assen trip. »
Christof Höfer did not take part in the Assen races. After intensive discussions with team principal Werner Daemen and his crew, the IDM newcomer had to prematurely end his 2018 season. The fractured shoulder blade and the resulting numbness in his fingers have to be cured thoroughly. “If you do not feel the brake properly”, Höfer knows too, “racing does not really make much sense now.”
With almost three weeks to go, team alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW now has time to prepare for the final round of the IDM Superbike 2018 at Hockenheimring.
Result Qualifying/Starting Grid
1 1.39,895 Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
2 1.39,905 Lorenzo Lanzi (I/Yamaha)
3 1.39,957 Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
4 1.40,326 Julian Puffe (GER/BMW)
Result Race 1
1 Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
2 Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
3 Pepijn Bijsterbosch (NL/BMW)
6 Julian Puffe (GER/BMW)
Result Race 2
1 Lorenzo Lanzi (I/Yamaha)
2 Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
3 Julian Puffe (GER/BMW)
Championship scores after 12 of 14 races
1 269 points Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
2 238 points Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
3 176 points JulianPuffe (GER/BMW)