Three days of motorcycle mania have just come to an end, with this year's BMW Motorrad Days breaking all previous records. Here's a summary of how another fantastic weekend unfolded – first in Munich and then in the breathtakingly beautiful Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen...
Hundreds of riders and pillions, from all over the UK, met at Folkestone for the EuroTunnel crossing and the begining of their adventure. After crossing into France, and two overnight stops on the way to Garmisch Partenkirchen, the biggest-ever World of BMW tour passed through some of the best riding regions of France and Germany, including Verdun, the Vosges Mountains and the Black Forest, en route to Motorrad Days 2012.
Along the way, the roads were filled with BMW bikes and their riders, all with the same destination in mind. Those who got there early were able to enjoy the dry weather and see a packed programme of activity, including a new-for-2012 FMX Show in the Event Arena, the world premiere of the new F 700 GS and F 800 GS dual sport bikes, autograph signing by Superbike World Championship riders, pre-qualifying competitions for the International GS Trophy event, a priceless selection of historic BMWs of yesteryear in the Classic Korso, and much more...
With the legendary opening party taking place on the Friday night, thousands of BMW bike-nuts arrived from across Europe and beyond to spend a full weekend immersed in the world of BMW Motorrad. As expected, the party lived up to its promises and as the Saturday morning sun shone on picturesque Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Bavarian town awoke to the familiar tune of Boxer engines, singles, parallel twins, fours and even six-cylinder machines making their way to the 'Hausbergparkplatz' for a day of fun-filled activities.
Test rides started early, as those who had booked online in advance took advantage of sunny skies to explore many of the fantastic roads in this region on the latest BMW bikes, Maxi-Scooters and Husqvarna motorcycles. In all, more than 2,000 participants tried out their dream machine (on and off-road) at this year's BMW Motorrad Days.
Behind the scenes, the organisation team was kept busy with 'live chats' via Facebook, so that all the brand enthusiasts who couldn't make the trip to BMW Motorrad Days were still able to closely follow the event online. The boys from Blitz Motorcycles answered questions from fans about their special custom BMWs, followed by stunt legend Chris Pfeiffer, globetrotter Michael Martin and former personal assistant to Nelson Mandela, Zelda La Grange, who just happens to be a huge BMW fan – and a GS rider! All spoke about their lives, passions, and love for the BMW lifestyle.
As has become the tradition on Saturday, Chris Pfeiffer took his spectacular stunt show to the streets of Garmisch-Partenkirchen town centre, while back at BMW Motorrad Days, World Superbike stars Marco Melandri, Leon Haslam and Troy Corser were kept busy signing autographs and chatting to fans. The FMX freestyle riders wowed spectators around the main arena with an amazing display of gravity-defying tricks and moves, including 'no-handers', 'no footers', 'fender-grabs' and even back-flips.
Back on 'terra-firma', off-road fans were queuing up to try their skills on a GS at the purpose-built Enduro Park, where many riders – including top German actor Hannes Jaenicke – received training from dedicated instructors. The enduro theme continued in the main arena, where the final GS Trophy pre-qualifying session allowed some of the best amateur off-road riders to demonstrate their skills in front of crowds of appreciative onlookers in the hope of selection for next year's GS Trophy trials.
Perhaps the most impressive sight was the huge convoy of BMW bikes that lined up for the traditional Motorrad Corso which snaked its way through some of the most picturesque towns and villages of the region. Parking areas that had been packed full of motorcycles emptied as a 'united nations' of BMW riders joined forces to ride together and celebrate the camaraderie that comes from BMW ownership.
As day turned into night, thousands of revellers packed the big party tent and before long, were dancing on the tables to the unique sounds of 'Blechblos'n' as well as being entertained by the DJs from Radio Gong. Those who needed some 'chill-out' time outside could visit the campfire and listen to some mellow tunes from talented musical duo, 'String Ray', while the late-night crowd headed over to the US Lodge to hear 'Dreirad', who kept things rocking until the sun came up.
On Sunday, more beautiful weather greeted the thousands of riders from all over the world who came to spend a last few hours at BMW Motorrad Days before starting their long journeys home. The objective: to squeeze in as many activities as possible before departure time! Many enjoyed an outdoor breakfast brunch, accompanied by live music in the Beer Garden. Test rides and tours were as popular as ever and many GS 'freaks' took their last chance to experience the off-road paradise of the Enduro Park. A packed congregation enjoyed the traditional outdoors Sunday Church service.
Back in the main arena, Chris Pfeiffer saved some of his best tricks until last, with multiple 'no-handed wheelie-circles' on his F 800 R and smoking out the crowds with the 'rolling burnouts' and 'doughnuts' using the sensational six-cylinder power of his K 1600 GT. Watching from the sidelines (and with a broken leg!) was 18-year-old David Bost, an aspiring stunt rider who finally got to meet his idol at BMW Motorrad Days. Perhaps we will be watching young David perform his freestyle routine on a BMW bike in the Main Arena in the future?
For those who came to Garmisch-Partenkirchen – and there were over 35,000 of you – thanks for helping make it a fantastic event and a record-breaking year! All good things must come to an end though and although it's always sad when BMW Motorrad Days finishes for another year, we can safely say that this year's event was the biggest and best yet! Don't forget that in 2013, BMW Motorrad will be celebrating its 90th birthday, so the party will be even bigger than ever before. Start planning your 2013 trip from July 5-7 NOW!