Those in the loop know that this season Hannes Soomer is riding in two teams - in addition to German Championship Races he is also a BMW back-up rider for Endurance World Championship. However, before arriving to the race he will not know which door he will have to enter this time - BMW factory supported teams compete in both Formula EWC as well as in Superstock whose “superbikes” are more similar to street versions than EWC bikes that are not as strangled by rules and regulations. The race calendar has two 24-hour and two 8-hour races. Hannes was the fourth rider of Tecmas-MRP BMW Racing Team (Superstock) at the Le Mans 24-hour race last weekend.

The first third of the race was quite good for Tecmas-MRP team riding under number 9. As leaders of their class they kept increasing the gap with their runners-up, gaining or losing a position in the middle of the top ten overall.”The Honda of the team behind us was a bit more economical than the BMW, therefore every rider had to gain about 20 seconds during their stint to create a safe margin for an extra pit stop that takes about 90 seconds,” explained Hannes after the race. “In my first stint I lost some ground as I was too cautious in overtaking the lapped competitors, but I achieved the goal in my second stint and I was on schedule in my third stint despite of new tires that slowed down the pace in the first ten laps. It was all good until the handlebar broke as I entered a turn.”

The right side of the handlebar broke off as Hannes was entering a fast right-hander, and since the maneuver had already started there was nothing he could do. “If it had been the left side that broke I might have - maybe, I don’t know - been able to save something, but in this situation I became just a passenger. As my foot got stuck in the swing arm I went through the whole tumble. I got the bike up on adrenaline and even rode it back to the pit, but as I got there the pain really came through and I realised that with this shoulder I will not be riding anywhere for quite a while.”

“Naturally it bugs me to have such a freak accident because until then it had been a very good week of racing. I was able to collect miles with both BMWs, I became more confident, I lasted the hour-long stints and fulfilled the goals set for me. Until a handlebar ended the race, way too soon.”

The team managed to repair the bike and send it back to the track, but later they still had to retire due to engine failure. The other BMW team - BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team - did a lot better in their Formula EWC class, finishing second in the opening round of the season. “I am very happy for them, and I have nothing but praise for both teams and my teammates,” said Hannes in conclusion. “I will undergo an examination and recover my shoulder ligaments and therefore I will probably miss the opening round of German Championship (May 3-5), but I want to be back as soon as possible.”