December 14, 2009

Alex Zanardi on Two BMW Wheels!

Alex Zanardi swapped a 4 wheel BMW WTCC 3 series for a 2 wheel BMW HP2 boxer for a day of riding at Monza this past week. The Bike was modified with an automatic transmission, a brake force distribution system and special supports for his artificial legs. He reached speeds around the 160 mph mark. Amazing.

Here, in his own words...

Bloody hell, what fun!

I admit to have very few merits in devising what could look like my hundredth "idea".
In reality, Roberto Ungaro from the very nice magazine "Riders" proposed me this test.
His motivations, beyond the editorial interest, involved the theme of challenge, of the capability of some men (very "riders" according to him) to be always attracted by the steep and unknown road more than from the one run through by everyone and full of certainties.

"The nth challenge for a man that life broke but never bended!" he told me. Just to cut a long story short, he did not struggle verbally to make me feel perfectly "apt" in the role of Rider of the situation and I think this is not surprising you too much.
Anyway, last Thursday, at Monza, I drove a BMW HP 2 of 1200cc, whose boxer engine has 130hp, thanks to BMW Italy, Partner of mine for a while now.

I'd like to thank all the guys of my team and the personnel from RTM of Budrio (orthopedic center where they build my legs) for contributing to make this possible with small but necessary adjustments that allowed me to find a comfortable position on the saddle.
Such comfortable that at the end of the first lap, while all people present were getting closer thinking I would have stopped, I shouted them "if you let me pass I will run a few laps to get acquainted to it."
Well, at the following lap, the almost fifty persons present moved to the grass on the side of the main straight. I passed by flat out with the speedometer at 255Km/h at that point.
At the following lap no-one was there, they were all took refuge behind the wall!

Jokes apart, it has been great! Corner after corner I started feeling the bike getting more and more sincere behind me, tyres got in the right temperature and the amazing electronic compensated inexperience.
Nevertheless I pushed hard: on the main straight I reached in 263Km/h and under braking, since my car-based reference points made me under-evaluate a bit the less breaking power of a bike, I often reached the limit of lifting of the rear wheel and, paraphrasing the great Max Biaggi, I had a bit of "chattering".
Jokes apart, it has been a great experience and, together with friends at BMW Italy, we are already thinking about a more serious second episode.

Finally, I admit one thing: my sadistic pleasure reached the top when I saw Roberto Ungaro begging me to stop due to his fear of me overdoing it.

From the Rider arrived the stop that has been the best compliment. he did not expect that I would have pushed that hard!

Talk to you soon, do not miss the February number of Riders... ciaooooo.

more Alex Zanardi on Axis


  1. Amazing work and effort right there. I'm glad BMW & other sponsors stepped up knowing this could fail. Too often in recent years have efforts for "mobility impaired" individuals been scrapped because of image, what ifs and more than likely the lawsuit happy world we live in.

    Sorry for going off topic, 263km/h! Nice! I wonder how they stopped him? Did they ride/drive/run along side him as he slowed down and grab his bike so it wouldn't fall over?

    Nice find!


nRelate Posts Only