After winning three straight South African Superbike championships with the BMW S 1000 RR, BMW has raised the bar even higher with the announcement that it will contest the 2013 championship with the all-new BMW HP4 lightweight four-cylinder superbike.
Midrand-based BMW Motorrad Motorsport will field two machines for Chris Leeson Jnr and Ryan Ottens. Leeson, 23, was South African 600 cc champion in 2007 and finished third in the 2012 Superbike championship behind the BMW S 1000 RR machines of Greg Gildenhuys and Nicolas Grobler with four race wins.
Gildenhuys, 23, will contest the 2013 World Superstock 1000 Championship for the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet Team.
Both riders have received their bikes and begun testing. “I love my bike already,“ said Leeson, owner of a signage company in Walkerville, south of Johannesburg. “It’s a winner – the best bike I could be on.“
Ottens, 24, was fifth in last year’s national superbike championship on a privateer BMW S 1000 RR entered by the Ottens family-owned BMW motorcycle dealer, Northside Motorcycles in Fourways, Johannesburg.
“This is my first factory ride and it couldn’t be on a better bike,“ said a delighted Ottens. “It will be the most technically advanced superbike on the grid, so I’m really looking forward to the season ahead. I intend having some fun.“
“The BMW HP4 is an exciting new version of the RR, which remains in the BMW range and which Greg Gildenhuys rode to three consecutive South African Superbike championships,“ said Rob Holder, general manager of BMW Motorrad in South Africa.
“It’s not just a better-equipped RR. It features innovations and components not previously offered on a production BMW superbike and has been homologated to meet World Championship Superstock 1000 rules.
“A unique new feature is the Dynamic Damping Control (DDC), which allows adjustment of the bike’s suspension on the fly. This is a truly race-ready machine. We’re very happy with our new team and the prospect of Chris and Ryan competing for a fourth successive BMW championship.“
The opening round of the 2013 South African Superbike Championship will be at Kyalami on February 23.