The BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2004 has its eighth and final race of the season at Valencia this weekend wrapping up one of the most exciting seasons of racing known with the BMW R 1100 S machines. From Daytona in March, via the best MotoGP circuits in the world, this concluding race on Sunday afternoon will once more see fairing to fairing, cylinder head to cylinder head racing right to the flag as the last positions in the championship are decided.
The whole Valencia MotoGP weekend is a celebration for fans and teams alike as the gruelling summer of testing and racing comes to a point in front of a capacity crowd of over 100,000, many of whom will have been in the circuit from before dawn to get the best seats in the house. For the BMW Motorrad BoxerCup 2004, this is a new circuit on the calendar, replacing the equally popular Catalunya venue of Barcelona a little further up the Eastern coast of Spain.
On the track, Austrian Thomas Hinterreiter is the 2004 BMW Motorrad BoxerCup title-holder after a stunning run of six podiums from seven races so far. Hinterreiter clinched the title at Brno in August and took with him a new BMW M3 Coupe, but that still leaves Brian Parriott (USA), Roberto Panichi (I) and Markus Barth (D) chasing second place and a brand new BMW Z42.2 for the reward. Third placed man after Sunday's race will take home one of the massively popular BMW R 1200 GS motorbikes.
Parriott is in second place at the moment, 5 points ahead of Panichi, who in turn is 4 points ahead of Barth, but it has been Parriott's finishing consistency that is his strength. Riding for the Spanish Auto Sport Busquets squad, the American is looking forward to holing his place and riding at the team's home race.
The BMW YoungStar rider battle will be the race within a race come Sunday too with Richard Cooper (GB) looking to keep his lead in the special title chase for under 21 year old riders. A brand new Mini Cooper potentially awaits a rider with the same name..!
For the BMW R 1100 S machines on track, it will be their last appearance on track in the one make BMW Motorrad BoxerCup after five years of racing that started in Belgium and France before a more Pan-European series started in 1999. Star riders and thrillingly close races have been the hallmark of the series that has visited Mugello, Daytona, Barcelona, Assen, Doningon, Spa, Oulton Park, Le Mans, Sachsenring, Brno and here at Valencia for the final race.500cc Grand Prix winners such as Mamola, Cadalora, Schwantz, Martinez have all ridden too as guest riders along with many journalists. This year at Daytona even saw a Live TV commentary from a guest rider racing around the famous banking at the Florida track... 2005 will see a brand new series based on a naked version of the four cylinder BMW K1200 R although precise regulations and details are being discussed at the moment.
The Qualifying for the race will take place during two sessions on Friday at 16.50, Saturday at 16.50 before the 18 lap race at 16.15hrs on Sunday.