Pfeiffer tackles bridge on BMW
BMW have sent us the latest in the line of exploits by stunting genius/madman Chris Pfeiffer, this time riding over the top of a bridge.
BMW Motorrad’s Chris Pfeiffer is never one to turn down a challenge, especially one that he has set for himself. The current Indoor Streetbike Freestyle World Champion has amassed many records over the years, including a ‘bunny hop’ over 33 people without a ramp in 1997 and performing 15 wheelie circles in just 30 seconds in 2000.
However, his most recent challenge saw him quite literally rise to the occasion on the brand new BMW G 450 X. Top photographer Bernhard Spottel captured a famous image of Chris a few years ago when he became the first person to climb the Via Tina – a level 3 difficulty scale climbing route in Arco, Italy – on a trials bike! He has been taking pictures of Chris ever since then and picks up the story:
"Chris told me that it had been his dream for over 10 years to ride a motorcycle up and over the side of a particular bridge in Italy. It is only about a metre wide and once you start there’s no way you can stop – you just have to keep going or you will fall off! There’s no margin for error whatsoever and if you don’t get it right then you are in trouble!"
Whereas most riders prefer to keep both wheels on the ground at all times, all Chris Pfeiffer could think about was how to get a motorcycle on to one of the side arches of an Italian tied arch bridge he had first set eyes on all those years ago and had dreamed of riding over ever since.
"I had already walked over the top of this bridge several times during the past few years but somehow had never got around to actually riding over it," said Chris. "Now with the BMW G 450 X I felt that it would be possible to ride up, across and down the bridge arch."
For this particular ‘project’, Chris knew that he would only have one opportunity to attempt the crossing, and his immediate problem was that his entry point – the start of the arch – was 1.6 metres in the air. As it would be virtually impossible and illegal to set up a ramp to jump on to the arch, Chris decided to ask one of his sponsors – Red Bull – to see if they could provide a vehicle to ‘assist’ his passage onto the start of the arch.
"I was lucky, as they [Red Bull] provided me with a ‘Hummer’ and a driver, and I was able to reach the start of the arch by jumping from the solid roof of the Hummer. This also meant that we were able to leave the scene fairly quickly afterwards, without attracting unwanted attention and having to worry about dismantling a ramp!"
The narrow bridge arch was 20 metres above the water at its highest point and Chris attempted it first on a trials bike before returning an hour later with the BMW G 450 X. Not one to suffer from a fear of heights, Pfeiffer made sure his photographer was in place to capture the action as he fired up the new sports enduro and just went for it:
"To ride over this bridge was like a dream come true for me – I’d never done anything like it before. It’s pretty steep – much steeper than it looks on the pictures – but I knew that it was possible. I felt better actually on the bike than when I had walked across to check it out, even though I’d only got the G 450 X two days before. It’s a standard bike and I had a two-hour ride to get used to it and to find the right sprocket for this run".
"I hadn’t actually been on the G 450 X since the Erzberg Rodeo last year where I rode the 450cc prototype, but this was the only BMW that I would attempt this stunt on – the other bikes would be too heavy for the jump from the roof of the car onto the arch and for the run up the arch afterwards. The arch was pretty steep and I was happy when I was on the top but I always felt in control. Going down was great fun and I even did a stoppie for good measure! Jumping down the 1.6 metre drop at the exit was no problem either with this sports enduro."
Having just returned from riding stunt shows in St. Petersburg, Chris’s thoughts are now turning to shooting footage for his forthcoming freeriding DVD, as well as competing on the G 450 X at the European Hill Climbing Championships at Obersaxon in June.
Chris will also be using a custom-built F 800 powered, two-wheel drive ‘BMW’ in the ‘open class in his quest to reach the top of the gruelling hill, so watch this space for more details.