BMW shoot the G 450 X
BMW G 450x photo shoot at Erzburg.
A few weeks before Andi Lettenbichler and Gerhard Forster set the notorious Erzberg Rodeo alight with their excellent second and sixth-place finishes on the works G 450 X, a team from BMW Motorrad travelled to the legendary Iron Mountain in Austria to carry out an exclusive product brochure shoot of the forthcoming series production BMW G 450 X.
The revolutionary G 450 X adds to BMW Motorrad’s increasing portfolio of world-class enduro bikes. To celebrate this fact, the Munich-based company enlisted the help of acclaimed Dutch photographer Matthijs van Roon, who was tasked with shooting the G 450 X in its natural environment. BMW Motorrad’s international marketing agency – 180 Amsterdam – was tasked with finding the best location to capture the essence of the new machine.
Erzberg’s harsh, unforgiving terrain was chosen as the ideal setting for photographing BMW Motorrad’s most focussed off-road motorcycle to date, so after enlisting the help of team riders Andi Lettenbichler and Joel Smets, the shoot was on. The results of the shoot will not be seen until July when the brochures for the much-anticipated G 450 X will be delivered to showrooms all around the world; however BMW Motorrad and 180 Amsterdam were keen to show the public a behind-the-scenes ‘making of’ preview of what is in store.
James Sadler, Art Director from 180 Amsterdam, believes there was no better place to shoot the bike than the Iron Mountain.
"We chose Erzberg because it’s the home of arguably the world’s toughest enduro race," he says. "Just to qualify for the event is a major achievement and out of the 500 who did start, only 36 actually finished this year! The terrain offers conditions where the G 450 X can really prove itself in terms of traction, suspension and raw power. The shoot went really well because we had a great team and riders who had no problem following direction from a very talented photographer."
The photographer in question, Matthijs van Roon, is no stranger to high-profile shoots. His portfolio of work spans countless successful advertising campaigns for companies in the two and four-wheeled off-road world. According to Sadler, the Amersfoort-born photographer was chosen for his ability to create drama in an image.
"We chose Matthijs because he is a proven photographer in this field and we really liked his approach to the project," says James. "He creates a very dramatic effect with his use of the wide-angle lens and we thought that this was suitable for the task in hand. He’s also not afraid to get dirty, which is very important when you are shooting enduro bikes!"
Matthijs’ job was made easier by works riders Andi Lettenbichler and Joel Smets, who rode the G 450 X machines for the photo shoot. "We chose both riders because we knew they would be capable of getting the job done," says James. "Andi is very familiar with Erzberg and a great technical rider, and Joel is a five-times motocross world champion who has played a big part in the development of the bike so he was a natural choice for this shoot."
Lettenbichler proved his aptitude around the Iron Mountain barely two weeks after the dust had settled on the G 450 X photo shoot. At the Erzberg Rodeo he illustrated the G 450 X’s credentials by finishing second in the Hare Scramble. ‘Letti’ actually led the gruelling race until he broke a footpeg near the second checkpoint, after which 2007 winner Taddy Blazusiak took the lead and held on until the finish. Andi’s excellent result signifies BMW Motorrad’s intention to stamp its authority on a discipline previously dominated by two-stroke machines.
Lettenbichler agrees that the result in the Hare Scramble proves that BMW Motorrad is a serious contender in the world of enduro. "This year was the hardest Erzberg Rodeo that I can recall," he said. "I did lots of training in the build-up to the event and that paid off. The photo shoot was also really enjoyable but incredibly tiring – we spent a long time getting the pictures just right, but in the end we did a good job. I was getting a great feeling from the bike and that helped me when I started competing ten days later."
Off-road legend Joel Smets wasn’t competing at Erzberg, so he used the photo shoot to enjoy some fantastic scenery on an equally impressive motorcycle. "Erzberg is a really amazing place to say the least! The bike was perfect for this type of terrain because the power and handling meant that it could deal with everything," said Joel, who was fresh from his quick trip to Australia for the A4DE in April. "It didn’t take me too long to get used to the G 450 X and when I had to be on the bike for four days, this was important."
The results of the Erzberg photo shoot will be available when promotional material for the BMW G 450 X hits dealerships worldwide in July.