World champion, Chris Pfeiffer, back to defend his title
Last year, BMW Motorrad’s Chris Pfeiffer became the first Indoor Streetbike Freestyle World Champion by winning every round of the indoor event that took place at the SWISS-MOTO Motorcycle, Scooter and Tuning Exhibition in Zurich, Switzerland.
Chris and his F 800 were up against 16 other competitors from nine nations, yet Pfeiffer was unbeaten in Saturday’s qualifying rounds and both of Sunday’s final rounds, posting near perfect results in front of thousands of spectators.
From 21 to 24 February, Chris and his BMW F 800 will be back in Zurich’s Exhibition Centre to defend his title at the show which officially ’kick-starts’ the 2008 motorcycling season.
This is the second Indoor Streetbike Freestyle World Championship and the best stunt riders in the world will all be trying to outdo each other with breathtaking displays of tricks, wheelies, stoppies and various other crowd-pleasing antics. As winner of last year’s event, 2007 World Champion Pfeiffer will undoubtedly start the competition as favourite. However, the 37-year-old from Halblech in Germany won’t be leaving anything to chance:
"It’s very important for me to retain this title," said Chris. "The indoor world championship is my favourite contest. The small area requires very technical riding and perfect control, and the spectators are very close. I like that."
Hoping to capitalise on any mistake that Chris might make will be a whole host of top riders, including Brazil’s Antonio Carlos Farias (who finished as runner-up in 2007), Humberto Ribeiro from Portugal and Balázs Herczeg from Hungary. For the first time there will also be a Swiss contestant - Victor Chelenkov, a 21-year-old from Geneva - but he will be up against some tough competition. The 16 participants come from 12 countries, principally from Europe and the USA but the current champion is not fazed by any of the other ’big names’.
"Success in freestyle is more about riding well than hoping for the other riders to make mistakes. Almost everybody makes mistakes in our sport under the high pressure of a competition, so that’s normal. I have some new variations in my circle combos and some new stuff that I’m working on but it’s too early now to say what I will include in my four runs. The atmosphere is great and unique at this contest because the spectators are so close to the action. I like this and it pushes me to the limit."
World Championship contestants have to ride bikes with a minimum cylinder capacity of 550cc. Thursday and Friday are set aside for training, while the first qualification rounds take place on Saturday. The final races will be on Sunday, with the new World Champion being ’crowned’ at around 4pm. An asphalt track is being specially laid for the prestigious competition, which has a prize fund of 18,000 Swiss Francs.
"It’s a big effort for the organisers, but they are building a brand-new surface just for our contest, which is fantastic," said Chris. "I had some trouble with the grip last year in the very beginning as it was a bit oily, but after two days of practice sessions the track was perfect with all the rubber laid down on it - I can’t wait!"
The SWISS-MOTO show at the Exhibition Centre in Zurich will focus on the very latest in motorcycles, scooters and quads. Visitors wanting to kit themselves out for the new motorcycle season will be able to take their pick from the huge selection of accessories and clothing, with approximately 180 exhibitors presenting a highly diverse selection of products. Last year, the four-day show attracted 61,000 visitors, not only from all over Switzerland but from right across Europe.