“Speed is our religion”

On May 19 at “The Reunion” Festival in Monza, the “Sultans of Sprint” will begin the 2018 1/8-mile sprint season. Motorcycle fans from all over Europe will arrive on their custom sprint bikes with air-cooled two-cylinder engines to give their all under the motto “Speed is our religion.” Besides speed, performance and power will also be judged, as well as style, creativity and craziness.

New to the “Sultans of Sprint” this year is the “Factory Class,” where bike makers with four-stroke or water-cooled engines can start – turbo, compressor, quickshifter and NOS engine systems can be charged for free. “We are delighted to be launching two custom garages and conversions here that couldn’t be more different and unusual,” says Christian Pingitzer, Head of Marketing Strategy Heritage & Customizing at BMW Motorrad. The Swiss forge VTR Customs aims to breathe fire with its “Spitfire” bike based on a BMW R 1200 R. Krautmotors from Heidelberg, on the other hand, has caused a stir and is changing the monocoque of the R nineT Pure for every race.

The spectacular “Spitfire” monster.
Daniel Weidmann, owner and Managing Director of VTR Motorrad and VTR Customs, and Marcel Brauchli, who was significantly involved in the motorcycle’s construction, are competing for BMW Motorrad with a water-cooled R 1200 R conversion. Weidmann’s goal: “We want to get even more radical and build the most complex VTR bike ever.”

Daniel’s hobby of flying provided the inspiration for the design of “Spitfire.” He flies a 1938 Royal Air Force fighter plane, and turned the BMW R 1200 R into a torpedo-like monster sheathed in aluminum, reminiscent of an old aircraft. The very deep line (height approx. 90 cm) invited technical challenges. The front frame was extended by 20cm, the head tube shortened and all electronics repositioned. The engine and frame were taken from “Eddie 21,” the VTR Race Crew’s competition from the 2017 ESSENZA Sprint Series with Amelie Mooseder as factory driver. The drive swing arm has also remained unmodified.
The Swiss style of customizing is colored by precision and attention to detail. For maximum authenticity, original Spitfire cockpit instruments from the Second World War were used, an aircraft start switch integrated and – as with “Eddie 21” – a breathtaking “Amy Gimmick” the cherry on top. The result will be presented for the first time to the public and the driver in Monza. When all is said and done, the “Spitfire” will shoot spectacular flames from its exhaust pipe.

Never change a winning team.
Following on from the success of 2017, 32-year-old Amelie Mooseder will once again be the factory driver for the VTR Custom Crew this year. Not just because the BMW Motorrad employee fully delivers as a racer, but also because she and VTR have a special relationship. Amelie owned her first small enduro with a purple seat at the age of seven, and now drives a BMW F 800 GS. Her passion and profession have gone hand in hand since 2016: Amelie started her professional career at BMW Motorrad in the field of brand experience and began her career as a racing driver.

She met Daniel at BMW Motorrad Days as he was looking for a rider for his BMW R 1200 R conversion “Goodwood 12” for the ESSENZA Sprint Series. “I was impressed by the Swiss style of customizing, the precision and attention to detail. After seeing the VTR Customs conversions, I wanted to drive them on the 1/8 mile to show them to the world. One thing led to another and I became the official factory rider for VTR Customs. Reactions vary pretty widely. Some people are surprised that there is a woman under the helmet of the VTR team, because my sprint competition are mostly men. I answer those people: it makes no difference for me whether the drivers are male or female or what country they come from. When you race a motorcycle, all you need is an engine and two tires. Adrenaline on the racetrack decides the rest,” Amelie explains.

Her success speaks for itself: she has reached 3rd place in the overall ESSENZA ranking, and as high as 2nd place in the BMW Boxer Sprint in 2017 at Glemseck 101 with “Eddie 21.” The dream team’s story will pick back up in 2018 at the Sultans of Sprint with “Spitfire.” For Amelie, the best part is: “We’re all competitors on the track, but a big family off of it.”

“Son of Time”
The Dutch watch maker TW Steel has also been brought in as a partner for “Spitfire.” Their custom-conscious “Son of Time” concept brings together the worlds of watches and custom bikes. The ensuing collections have honored the craftsmanship and passion of the motorcycle scene since 2016, while the company has also designed the likes of “AEON” for Munich’s Diamond Atelier and “Chronos Joyride” for Dutch company Ironwood Custom Motorcycles Limited Editions. The “ACE Spitfire” collection is designed alongside the Spitfire bike and consists of six different watches limited to 1,000 pieces per design – each a striking statement! The theme of the collection is the iconic Spitfire – in Swiss quality and with TW Steel energy. “All of us – the VTR Race Crew, BMW Motorrad and TW Steel – share a passion for style and craftsmanship. We want to make a statement at the Sultans of Sprint races,” says Auke Possel, Senior Marketing Manager at TW Steel.

Being creative with Krautmotors.
A BMW R nineT Pure conversion by Rolf Reick is the second bike that BMW Motorrad is sending to the Sultans of Sprint races. The graduate product designer and head of a private school for product design and multimedia runs the Krautmotors workshop in Heidelberg together with his friend Ulrich Benz. Reick’s custom bikes are a regular topic of conversation: he was awarded most beautiful café racer in 1996, his BMW Bobber was named German custom bike of the year by the motorcycle magazine “Mo” in 2003 and he was the first customizer ever to convert an e-scooter in 2017. His sensational BMW C evolution conversion “E- LisaBad,” a cheeky homage to his grandmother, can currently on display at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.

Simple and spontaneous.
Reick valued two points above all when converting the BMW R nineT Pure: 1st simplicity and 2nd spontaneity. Its form owes itself in part to the aim of using original components such as fuel pump and air filter to show less technically experienced riders how motorcycles can be converted. However, he is quick to get bored and needs constant change. So he broke new ground once again in this conversion – with a monocoque. That is a self-supporting body that usually has the tank and air filter integrated into the frame. At each of the five Sultans of Sprint races, the bike’s appearance will alter and the monocoque will change.

Pulling this idea off meant Rolf had to create a suitable foundation. The seat and the tank of the R nineT would have been too heavy. The rear frame was shortened and the bike slightly lowered. For the first race, Rolf decided on the monocoque in the style of a dirt tracker – this version got a new steel tank and a hump. “Tin Fairy” Jochen Lehmann implemented Rolf’s designs. The master coachbuilder from Malsch in Baden- Württemberg specializes in handmade custom designs. Michael Schönen from Lackmuss takes care of the right custom painting. Rolf also had the engine tuned with engine capacity expansion. Head processing, an altered exhaust system as well as the tuning on the test bench is done by Edelweiß Motorsport in Essen.

Hello “Hans-Günther”?
What is to follow the dirt tracker is yet to be revealed. Rolf is also reserving the surprise effect of the five vehicle designs for the name of the BMW R nineT Pure conversion: “Regardless if I call it “Hans-Günther” or “BumBumBäng,” I’ll decide spontaneously.” In any case, one thing is clear: he’s placing fun, mutual understanding and adrenaline at the fore. Of course, he also wants to be at the front of the pack, but here too he prefers keeping it simple, driving straight ahead instead of complicated cornering combinations.

2018 Sultans of Sprint Race:
“The 2018 Sultans of Sprint races are offering not just two but four BMW Motorrad attractions,” says a delighted Christan Pingitzer. “With Rolf and Amelie, we have two racers in the team who will get the audience excited with the crazy custom designs of VTR Customs and Krautmotors! We are keeping our fingers crossed and looking forward to the 2018 sprint season.”

The Sultans are headed by Frenchman Sebastian Lorentz from the Lucky Cat Garage. He drove the eighth mile at Glemseck in his Sprintbeemer in 2014, afterwards initiating his own class with his partner Laurence – the Sultans of Sprint started with turbo, compressor and nitrous oxide for the first time in 2016. 18 teams from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Belgium and the UK caused a sensation at four major events. And only a year later, 23 teams took part in four races across Europe. Followers of the Sultans came along to each one. “We are an international travelling circus and move from eighth mile to eighth mile,” Sebastian says happily. The five races in 2018 will be held here:

– The Reunion / Monza (IT), RACE ROUND 1, May 19 and 20
– Bikers’ Classics / SPA (BE), RACE ROUND 2, June 29 – July 1
– Glemseck 101 / Leonberg (GER), RACE ROUND 3, August 31 –
September 2
– Dandy Riders Festival / St. Raphael (FR), RACE ROUND 4,
September 28 – 30
– Intermot / Cologne (GER), Show Run, October 3 – 7