Solid start of the IDM Superbike 1000 season in the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben (GER) for the alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW Team. Team boss Werner Daemen has lined up three new talents, with whom he will be competing in a total of seven IDM race weekends, each with two scoring races. Ilya Mikhalchik from the Ukrainian capital Kiev will race the first time in an IDM event and with Julian Puffe, Daemen assigned a Superbike pilot from Schleiz in Thuringia. The third rider in this years lineup is Christof Höfer, who won the Suzuki Cup in the IDM surrounding last year.

Ilya Mikhalchik entered the free practice on Friday and secured the best lap time in both sessions. In the Superstock 1000 European Championship, the Ukrainian had already gained international experience. “Everything is new to me. I know almost no race tracks in this years IDM calendar. The circuit from Oschersleben is rather short, overtaking will be difficult. Of course, my goal is to be ahead and to show what I can do.” The new tires took a bit of getting used to for the BMW rider from Ukraine. As he was riding in STK1000 before, he never used Slick racing tires but profiled tires instead.

Without restraint he raced to the pole position on Saturday. While he was still focused on his racing pace in the first qualifying session, in the second qualifying session he went full throttle ahead to the fastest lap time. “Of course I’m happy with it. That was important too. That’s exactly what we’re going to do.” A small downer for the Ukrainian. He had not been able to break the record of his predecessor Markus Reiterberger from the previous year. “But we did a good job anyway and the conditions are different every year and every day.”

The start of the BMW rider was not optimal. But he came in second, behind his Belgian BMW colleague Bastien Mackels in second place. And both dominated the action over the entire distance. More than once Mikhalchik attacked the Belgian, but there was no way around on the narrow circuit of Oschersleben. But second place in the first attempt also went well for Mikhalchik and his team. “The track is physically very exhausting. Fighting against Bastien was very intense. I am alomost satisfied with the result. Of course, that’s not enough for me personally, and I’ll stay tuned in the second race.”

Said and done. In the second race, Mikhalchik took the helm from the start, but as expected, got back to racing with the fast Belgian. But he defied all attacks skillfully and saw the checkered flag a few tenths ahead of the rest of the competition. “It was a fair fight with Bastien. The level of the IDM is very high. In the set-up of the S 1000 RR we took another step forward. Yes, we won and showed our potential. The team is really working on a very high level.”

FW-Fotografie & Design // Foto Felix Wiessmann

Julian Puffe had only faint memories of the IDM and IDM tracks. “The last time I competed in IDM was five years ago. After my time in the Junior Cup, I hardly raced in Germany. But I think it’s cool here in Oschersleben. During the training sessions, I had to get used to sprint racing riding style from my participation in the Endurance World Championship one week ago, because there we were riding with a completely different geometry. Here in the team I like it very much. Everything is perfectly prepared and my crew chief is very familiar with the electronics. In addition, almost all team members speak German – I have never had in the past, it just has a great atmosphere. »

In the practice, Puffe was thrilled and finished fourth at the end of the session. He also did a good job in the first race. At first it seemed as if he had made himself comfortable in the chaseing group, when he switched to the attack mode in the last third of the race. Puffe broke away from his backers and hunted down Jan Halbich on his Honda. The gap between the two was not recognizable when they saw the checkered flag waving. A look at the time sheets brought the certainty. 4th place for Puffe, with a gap of just 0.064 seconds. “I already passed Halbich and was in third position. But in the last corner, I missed a gear and Halbich made it through. ”

Also in the second race Puffe was in top form and especially in the second half he was able to make a good pace. Puffe fought his way back up to the front who fought hard for 3rd place. «We often changed positions – unfortunately with the worse end for me. Again the podium missed by 0.2 seconds. Nevertheless, I rode very good lap times and I definitely know where my path is going. At the next race we will attack again and I will do everything I can to reach the podium. ”

FW-Fotografie & Design // Foto Felix Wiessmann

Christof Höfer made his debut in the IDM Superbike class. “Oschersleben is good for me and I’m well prepared. To be honest, I’m still a little lacking confidence with myself in the bike. It’s all new, after all. No one puts pressure on me here, no championship title is expected.» Starting position 17 after Qualifying for „Fifty“ – his well know nickname. “I have managed a time of 1:28. I’m getting more and more into a riding rhythm and feel better and better fort he S 1000 RR. In the team I feel extremely well and finally have the chance to improve myself. The guys here tell me where to improve step by step.”

Riding in the points would be nice – Höfer´s attitude on Sunday morning before the races. Immediately in the first race he fulfilled this wish. With 13th he grabbed three championship points. With P16 in race number two, he still was happy about his performance. «The level is incredible. It has been so much new to me in the last few weeks. And it went great. In the second run, unfortunately, there was a not so nice chain reaction. After a great start I was pushed by a competitor, due to that many riders slipped through. It then took a long time until I came past Kevin Sieder. In the last lap I finally fought back and caught him, including a small touch. Of course I rode with brains in the second run. Because I also wanted to take home the good feeling. Now I know, I can do it and there are points in it. ”

FW-Fotografie & Design // Foto Felix Wiessmann

The next race will take team alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW back to Oschersleben. From the 7th to the 10th of June, the IDM Superbike squad will take part in the German Speedweek, IDM Superbike event alongside with the World Endurance Championship.

Result Training/Qualifying

1 – 1.26,178 Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
2 – 1.26,707 Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
3 – 1.26,486 Jan Halbich (CZ/Honda)
4 – 1.26,650 Julian Puffe (D/BMW)
17 – 1.28,917 Christof Höfer (D/BMW)

Result Race 1

1 – Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
2 – Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
3 – Jan Halbich (CZ/Honda)
4 – Julian Puffe (D/BMW)
13 – Christof Höfer (D/BMW)

Result Race 2

1 – Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
2 – Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
3 – Dominic Schmitter (CH/Suzuki)
4 – Julian Puffe (D/BMW)
16 – Christof Höfer (D/BMW)

Championship Standings after 2 of 14 races

1 –  45 points Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR/BMW)
2 – 45 points Bastien Mackels (B/BMW)
3 – 26 points Jan Halbich (CZ/Honda)
4 – 26 points Julian Puffe (D/BMW)
16 – 3 points Christof Höfer (D/BMW)