It could be argued that it is the form of racing that most emphasizes the skill of the rider rather than the technology and highly secretive advantages of the bike being ridden. In almost all other realms one machine is going to have an advantage over another in one regard and perhaps a disadvantage in another regard. The engines can be different configurations, the weights are going to be different, the power outputs are going to be different. Yes, the best riders still often rises to the top but often a limitation is the capability of the bike rather than the capability of the rider. An idea is often presented – most likely by a manufacturer – to build a series around one of their machines i.e. the Harley-Davidson XR1200R and the Honda CBR250 here in Canada. It often sounds like a great idea and a good promotion for the brand but there is a downside – the costs can really start to add up and the question inevitably asked is “did it sell any more bikes?” to which the answer comes back “probably not enough”. That isn’t to say that the manufacturers don’t keep trying.
For the spectator the racing can be very enjoyable. The bikes are all the same and therefore competitive so it is the skill of the rider that makes the difference- separates the 1st from the 2nd and 3rd if you will. BMW has run the Boxer Cup featuring the R1200S previously in both North America and Europe and they have just announced after a long hiatus that the series will be returning to Europe for a 2018 season. The bike utilized for the new Boxer Cup series will be the retro inspired rNineT Racer. To insure that all the bikes are identical, each race machine will be prepped by Motorrad Germany with a couple of upgrades, most significantly to the suspension and steering. The only item that individual riders will be able to change is the stickers on the bike. The Boxer Cup series is limited to thirty entries with a couple of spots left available for guest racers. Not only will the bikes be identical but the rNine T Racer also levels the playing field by putting a limit on knee and elbow dragging due to the protruding cylinders.
Start your engines and may the most talented racer win. If you are up for the series yourself you will need a racing licence from some FIM sanctioned body. Once you have that in your pre-race clammy hands, BMW will actually rent you a bike for the duration of the season. We do not think that your credit card will cover the deductible so read the fine print. Good luck!