Freestyle streetbike legend Chris Pfeiffer wowed crowds throughout the first weekend of July at BMW Motorrad Days, pulling off incredible gravity-defying moves, including one brand new trick. Spectators had to be there early to get a good spot to watch the show, with hundreds of motorcycle fans packed around the arena and on the viewing stands. While BMW Motorrad Days was subject to the changeable Alpine weather over the weekend, the sun beat down and the tarmac dried out during Pfeiffer’s Saturday evening slot.
Chris worked his way through a huge repertoire of tricks, with his acrobatics drawing some of the biggest cheers of the whole event. The high-energy show was non-stop, including stoppies, wheelies, burnouts and moves which saw Chris stand on his machine, sit on the handlebars, ride it backwards and hang right off it. For a portion of the performance he was joined by a lucky young woman from the audience, who held on tight throughout her exhilarating spell in the spotlight.
Chris also mixed up his routine by involving his mountain-bike riding counterpart, Igor Obu. The cyclist’s energetic show incorporated huge leaps from a standstill and a number of tricks requiring incredible levels of skill and precision. He joined Chris in the ring with his two team members for a display of synchronised wheelies, bunny-hops and stoppies which had the crowd roaring.
The new move Pfeiffer debuted in Garmisch-Partenkirchen was a ‘jump to cross legs’ where, he says: “It’s like performing an overhanging wheelie, but then I put the brake on really hard, jump, and land with my legs crossed over.”
Chris’ performances are a big part of Motorrad Days, and over the three days he put on a series of shows in the event’s freestyle arena as well as in Garmisch-Partenkirchen town centre. “The reaction from the crowds has been amazing, it always is here,” he says. “The event is quite simply great – it is every year. It has such an international atmosphere and the support you get from the visitors is really special. For me, it’s a chance to meet up with friends. I know so many people here and it’s a real social occasion.
“The programme of events is always superb, so when people say that my shows are a highlight, that’s really good to hear. One of the highlights for me this year was Michael Martin’s lectures.”
Chris always spends lots of time talking to fans about the world of streetbike freestyle riding, how he adapts his F 800 R BMWs for exhibition displays and how he puts together some of the moves which have helped him gain a reputation as the best and most innovative rider in this sport. He also received a visit this year from top dancer and choreographer Alexandra Martens, who had come to BMW Motorrad Days to experience the atmosphere and see Chris perform. As she has been trained in classical ballet, dance opera, street and hip hop, she is interested in exploring a performance with Chris that could be a fusion of energetic street dance and streetbike freestyle riding.
Pfeiffer is never one to shy away from a challenge, having amassed many records over the years, including a ‘bunny hop’ over 33 people without a ramp; performing 15 wheelie circles in just 30 seconds in 2000; climbing the Via Tina – a level 3 difficulty scale climbing route in Arco, Italy – on a trials bike; racing down bobsleigh runs; and riding over the top of an arch bridge in 2008. So, when two athletes who are at the top of their sports get together, the results should be spectacular.
BMW Motorrad Days may be over for another year, but Chris’s calendar is packed over the coming months. He has little time to recover from the event this week as he heads to a rally at a BMW club meeting in the Austrian Alps. After that, destinations include Minsk, in Russia, for a biker meeting, and Japan for the Japanese Motorrad Days. But while he may not have to wait until he’s back in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for his next BMW Motorrad Days fix, Chris is confident nothing beats the original.
“I’ve been to all the different events and they’re all great – Spain’s in particular is very good. But nothing beats Garmisch! It’s the original event, it’s the biggest and it’s the best.”