Fans and riders will have to wait until the beginning of May for the first race of the International German Championship IDM 2023, but behind the scenes the course is already being set for a successful season in Germany’s highest motorbike sport predicate. Werner Daemen and Andreas Gerlich, responsible for technology, have agreed to continue working together and hopefully be just as successful as last year. With five riders, the rider line-up promises not only a lot of work, but also a lot of excitement and a lot of success.
Back at the IDM start is Ukrainian Ilya Mikhalchik. An old acquaintance in the team and also on the IDM podium. The 26-year-old already has three IDM Superbike championship titles to his name. The objective is clear: to win title number 4. “For me it’s really nice, especially to see all the fans from Germany again,” he explains after a year in the Spanish Superbike Championship, “and I hope to meet many refugees from Ukraine who now live in countries where races will be held, to communicate with them and to achieve a good result for my country and of course for the team and the people around me.” Currently Mikhalchik does not live in his Ukrainian hometown of Kiev, but has pitched his tents together with his fiancée in Poland. There he is preparing for the new season and recharging his batteries for the attack on the title. “We want to be 100 per cent ready for the first race,” explains the BMW driver. “That wasn’t quite the case last year. I’m looking forward to the first races of the season, but first we also need to do good testing with the team to get the bike to 100 per cent at the start of the season. Let’s have fun and enjoy it.”
Another round in the BCC-alpha-Van Zon-BMW team goes to Kamil Krzemien from Poland. The 23-year-old’s performance curve showed a steep upward trend last year. At the finale, he fulfilled a big dream with his first podium finish in the IDM Superbike. With his successful final spurt at the last IDM weekends, the young talent moved up to fifth place in the overall standings. “I am very happy that I can continue with Werner and BMW in the 2023 season,” revealed the Pole after the contract extension. “This time last year I was super happy to join this team and now, after a very good season, we will take it to the next level. We learned a lot last season and we know exactly what we need from both sides to be able to fight for the podium in every race. The race at Hockenheim was phenomenal and I scored my first podium, which was like a milestone for me. After that, I’m only more motivated and hungry to fight for top positions. My goal is to finish the 2023 season in the top 3 overall and that is a very realistic target given our potential. I’m very grateful to the team and all the sponsors for making this possible.”
New to the team and a hopeful talent from a German perspective is Max Schmidt, who will be just 20 years old in mid-February, making him one of the youngest competitors in this year’s top-class starting field as well. “I think you can very well turn that into an advantage,” explains the teenager with a view to his numerous and partly more experienced team colleagues. “Especially when there is open communication in the team and we drivers exchange our impressions with each other. You can gather a lot of information and that will certainly help me to understand the bike faster. I think the BMW suits me and my riding style very well anyway. I’m really excited about the BMW and of course I’m looking forward to getting to know the whole team.”
With the Austrian Philipp Steinmayr, the BCC-alpha-Van Zon-BMW team also welcomes a new rider to its ranks. The IDM Superbike is not new to the 29-year-old. This will be Steinmayr’s fourth year in the championship, but his first time on a BMW. “I don’t have much experience with it yet,” the Austrian admits with a view to his new working machine. “But I was out on the race track for three days after Christmas with a 2021 BMW S 1000 RR and I really enjoyed it. Even though the bike was not yet in IDM mode, I already had a very good feeling.” He is also positive about the cooperation with his four teammates, who are new to him. “I think,” says Steinmayr, “we can all only learn from each other and it gives the whole team new experience, which they already have plenty of. My goal is of course to do as well as I can and I think aiming for the top five should be realistic, if not a podium at some point. We’ll see, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.”
New to the team and also new to IDM Superbike is Hungarian Bálint Kovács. In the last two years, the Hungarian has gained experience in the Spanish Superbike Championship, the Alpe Adria and the World Endurance Championship.
Kovács is also supported by the Hungarian government and the Hungarian federation, among others. “Their support this year has meant a lot to me,” Kovács addresses his supporters and sponsors. “I have the advantage of knowing a lot of tracks, having raced in the Suzuki Cup for two years. I have to get to know a new motorbike brand, because I have only done a few laps with BMW so far. Of course, I will have the opportunity to test the bike before the championship starts. this is a big step in my career. It’s been a long time since a Hungarian rider got a factory contract, so this is a really extraordinary feeling. I’m looking forward to the season with confidence and I don’t think it’s out of the question that I can be on the podium in the second half of the season.”
From last year, Dutchman Pepijn Bijsterbosch and Austrian Jahn Mohr will also be back with Team BCC-alpha-Van Zon-BMW. “Pepijn himself will no longer ride for us in the IDM,” team boss Daemen reveals about the Dutchman, who will concentrate on his start in the World Endurance Championship. “He will be my right-hand man in the team and will mainly look after our young riders. Jan Mohr is not yet fully fit again after his injury from last year. He will be there with one or the other wildcard depending on his development.”
From 12 to 14 May 2023, the team will compete in its full line-up for the first time at the IDM season opener at the Sachsenring and fight for the first points in the seven-event season.
IDM 2023 CALENDAR
23.-25.06.2023 Most (CZ)
04.-06.08.2023 Red Bull Ring (A)
18.-20.08.2023 Assen (NL)