It was up’s and downs for the Wunderlich MOTORSPORT BMW Motorrad BoxerCup Racing team – but also a weekend full of oddities fpr the RnineT riders Christof Höfer (GER) and Nate Kern (USA). Höfer took the full 25 points in the Saturday race but Sunday’s outing had to be cancelled with best riding weather conditions due to safety reasons after the previous races that day had covered the Belgian track at Zolder in oil.
Zolder was a further new track for US boy Kern so him and Höfer joined forces in tackling the track – one to learn his way round and the other the gain some more experiences in the secrets of riding Boxer bikes fast so both roteted in going front and following each other.
But Kern and Höfer became serious competition after they qualified in second and third respectively “only”: It was Arie Vos who took the pole position in his wildcard ride at Belgium – and he is a former six times Dutch champion and won races in the IDM Superbike. Kern took the better over Höfer by 0.018 seconds but both were highly motivated to reduce that half a second gap over Vos in front.
The first race did not go to plan at all for Kern, who became troubles with his clutch and had to pull off the grid at the start. He tried to follow the field by starting from pit lane but did oversee a sign by race direction so was ultimately disqualified. A mistake the American immediately apologized for after.
Höfer not only rode his race to the end but also switched on his brain – he did let Arie Vos from the Netherlands and Bram Lambrechts from Belgium fight their race in front and followed them closely – as this third place meant the full 25 point for the championship.
With three races in the books now Höfer extended his lead in the championship to 23 points. He has got 75 points to his name with Marvin Jürgens (52) and team mate Kern (40) following.
„I was looking forward to Zolder for quite some time as I like this track very much. Friday was a good day in the office as I was able to place myself in front of Arie Vos and my hardest opponent in the championship fight, my team mate Nate Kern. Naturally on Saturday everybody got quicker and Vos made the most out of his abilities and talent and experience to snatch the pole with half a second over us. Nate and me where directly behind him – separated by 0.01 again. That meant we were looking at some fighting in the races but unfortunately Nate had a DNF due to a technical issue. I took my race safely to the line behind the two wildcard riders as I knew they would not get any points and I would get the 25 for the win. The second race unfortunately did not go ahead due to track conditions. Overall I am happy on how the weekend went as I could extend my championship lead and I am mega happy with my team because Basti and Peter are doing a brilliant job. Now I am looking forward to Schleiz as this always is a very special race and I am more than ready for the rest of the season.”
„Tough weekend. Professionally, but personally, one of the greatest ever. The professional aspect: We came in early enough, to defeat a lot of my jet-lag, that I had at the first round – even though a lot of people think the results at Lausitzring were really, really good, I personally think they were just good, because I left a lot on the table. Since Lausitzring I got a better physical training. I am very thankful, team Wunderlich MOTORSPORTS gave me an opportunity, to come early, get relaxed and start the weekend. That payed of in the free practices already. And it showed naturally, with having this additional talent this weekend in Vos and Lambrechts, I enjoyed seeing another perspective of how to get around Zolder fast – instead of just my team mate’s perspective. I like how close the competition is and I would wish it to further grow. My ultimate goal is to see this BoxerCup being successful, but also to enjoy this closing chapter of a long career. I knew Qualifying 1 would be the best times because of the asphalt temperatures, being the lowest, it was only about to climb. I was happy with P2 and with no jet-lag I was ready for Saturday. But then I got a problem with the clutch and the bike was even going forward, when I had parked it on my grid position. Very, very poor timing. So when the lights went on, I had to make a decision on everybody’s safety, even before mine, and I raised both hands. We pushed the bike off the grid – and then I chased the safety car and I tried everything – but the problems were really big. My emotions got the best of me and I didn’t follow the procedure for ride-through-penalties and I got the black flag. After coming such a long way, I just wanted to put in a good ride and go faster and show the Belgian and European fans what they had come for – and that would have been a good fight. But ultimately I got the black flag and it was completely my fault, nobody else’s, so I apologize to IDM. Sunday we had some bad fortune with some other classes and technical issues. We had some warm-up laps to see how bad it was and I was really keen to go to make up for the lost points and I was going in fifth gear flat out over the hill where the oil spill was and had my pace from qualifying. It was not bad at all. When we got back to the pit lane – we had a big meeting and we had some guys saying the did not want to race and it was 7 to 8. One person could have changed it – but, hey, everybody needs to do what is right to them. I am still competitive – even though I am more than fat and the real winners are the Happy Smile kids this weekend. Next is Schleiz and I’ll be ready.”
Frank Hoffmann, Teammanager Wunderlich MOTORSPORT
„Nate had some misfortune with his clutch in the first race. Fifty exactly did, what I had expected from him. And that Arie Vos from the Netherlands, with half a home round for him and as a former Superbike professional, would be strong we all had expected too. And also Bram Lambrechts, whom we not considered at the beginning of the meeting, was strong. Those three, Vos, Lambrechts and Fifty, were lapping at a similar pace in the race and Fifty did everything right: He safely took third position and the full points for the championship. I would have done the same in his position and that is absolutely right. I also think to cancel the second race was more than right! If somebody had crashed and got – at best – badly injured, everyone would have pointed their fingers on those who would have decided to go and that the race before already got cancelled due to the engine failures etc. This all would have been teared up, so I am completely with the Promoter’s and the Race Direction’s decision to call the race off.”