Monza, 11th May 2010. The ash cloud released by the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull very nearly put the dampers on the FIM Superbike World Championship, with various flights from and to European airports having to be cancelled on Sunday.
However, on Sunday evening it was confirmed that the race weekend in Kyalami (RSA) is to take place as scheduled – signaling the start of the race before the race.
The successful race weekend for Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport in Monza (ITA) brought the first European leg of the 2010 FIM Superbike World Championship to a close. This coming weekend, rounds 11 and 12 are on the programme.
To be ready for the first practice session in Kyalami, South Africa, Technical Director Rainer Bäumel’s team must perform a logistical masterstroke.
"Back-to-back races like in Kyalami require intensive planning," says Bäumel. "Otherwise, it would not be possible to have our pit equipment, spare parts and bikes in South Africa in time for the first session on the Friday. The logisticians in our team are really put to the test during this time."
The most important part of the preparations was completed well before the races in Monza: experts at the team headquarters in Stephanskirchen compiled detailed lists, according to which the overseas containers were then packed immediately before being transported to Kyalami.
This process sees every tool and every spare part given a specific position in the containers. These freight lists made it possible for the team to complete the time-consuming documents for customs clearance in South Africa in advance.
This documentation also made the crew’s life easier when loading the material after the races in Italy.
Bäumel explains: "We had two fully laden race trucks in Monza. Our 25 overseas containers arrived at the circuit on Sunday and were then loaded as planned. The trucks were practically empty on their homeward journey, while the equipment began its journey to South Africa."
"It goes without saying that the team takes particular care when loading the bikes: the BMW S 1000 RR bikes are drained before transport."
"Even the cooling water is drained to prevent it freezing while in the plane. In special cases, the motorbikes are then prepared for the long journey."
Twenty team members were involved in dismantling the team garage to ensure that 6.5 tons of freight was ready to leave Monza on 22:00hrs.
The containers were taken by truck to Milan’s Malpensa Airport (ITA), where a freight plane chartered by the series organiser Infront was waiting at the airport.
A long-haul flight and almost 9,000 kilometres later, the valuable freight arrives in South Africa, where it will be received by Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport on Wednesday.
It then takes just six hours before the team finds its usual working conditions in the pit lane. The logistical race before the race is over.