Munich. On Saturday 21 July 1993, the first off-road enthusiasts turned up with their BMW motorcycles at an abandoned quarry near Hechlingen am See in Middle Franconia for a enduro training course. It was the start of a great success story. Since 25 years, off-road motorcyclists from all over the world have been learning from experienced instructors how to ride safely and enjoyably away from asphalted roads.
Today, BMW Motorrad Enduro Park Hechlingen is one of Europe’s leading off-road training centres with approx. 250 training courses and 3,650 participants per year. A local celebration was held last Saturday, 21 July 2018, to mark the centre’s memorable anniversary.
Germany’s enduro El Dorado.
Enduro Park Hechlingen grew out of an idea that remains the driving force behind BMW Motorrad to this day: MAKE LIFE A RIDE! To be specific: the idea of enabling people to conceive of and embrace motorcycling as an integral, all-round experience. In Hechlingen there is a clear focus on the fascination of enduro and off-road riding. Enduro enthusiasts from all over the world find their own personal challenge here – from beginners right through to professionals. 26 hectares in size, the park comprises a challenging circuit that includes steep slopes, gravel tracks, single trails, root-covered forest tracks, ruts as well as climbs and descents.
With 3,650 participants in 2017 alone and more than 40,000 since its foundation, Enduro Park Hechlingen is a central component of the BMW Motorrad program of training courses and tours. The entire current range of off-road BMW motorcycles is available to participants. The park is also a platform for the creation and advancement of enduro experience programs, as well as a centre of expertise in terms of establishing globally valid standards. Thanks to the pioneering role of Enduro Park Hechlingen, the off-road training courses offered at numerous other enduro parks and the rigorous demands of official BMW Motorrad partners providing these courses worldwide are clear USPs of the overall BMW Motorrad training program.
Originally run by BMW Motorrad, since 2008 the centre has been operated by Enduro Park Hechlingen GmbH under the direction of Manfred Spitz, one of the first instructors. As an official BMW Motorrad partner, Manfred Spitz and his team not only meet the very highest standards in terms of the training program, the models available, trained instructors and infrastructure: with their passion and expertise, they are in fact crucial to the success of Enduro Park Hechlingen, defining its pioneering international role.
At one with nature from the very beginning.
When it was opened in 1993, the Enduro Park was the first of its kind – a genuine innovation. Clearly, a project of this kind was only possible in harmony with the natural environment and of course the local community: as the operator of the park at the time, BMW Motorrad ensured good relations with the responsible environmental authorities and communities from the very beginning.
A period of just under three years passed from the original idea to the opening of the park since there was scepticism on the part of official bureaucracy and environmentalists concerning the use of motorcycles in a disused quarry. However, it quickly transpired that Enduro Park Hechlingen was to become not just a playground for “Homo Enduro” but also the ecological home to numerous animal and plant species – documented officially and very precisely by means of so-called “ecological evidence preservation”. Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences also uses the enduro park for excursions by students taking a degree in environmental control, as part of the elective “Biotope management and development/applied plant ecology”.
Enduro Park Hechlingen attaches great importance to the preservation of species and their habitats. The distinctive feature of the site is that although the quarry was no longer dedicated to its original purpose, it was not simply left to develop naturally. If this had been the case, all the various habitats that had formed as a result of the quarry work would have developed into a limestone forest. It was the preservation of pioneer grassland, dry grassland, gravel plain and steep face habitats in the enduro park that enabled such a diverse range of flora and fauna to become established in the first place. The centre even went on to receive an award for its exemplary synthesis of leisure activity and ecological compatibility from the German Federal Ministry of the Environment as part of a national environmental competition for nature reserves.
Today – 25 years later – Enduro Park Hechlingen is an integral part of the region and reflects the close collaboration between BMW Motorrad and local communities.
Today: the benchmark.
From a disused quarry with an old converted hangar for the motorbikes, with beer benches as furniture and lacking a water supply or changing rooms, the park has developed into a top-class location for off-road training. With nearly 4,000 participants per year, Enduro Park Hechlingen is today the pioneer and flagship among the BMW Motorrad Enduro Parks, embodying the integrated premium experience offered by BMW Motorrad partners worldwide. Yet despite all the consummate professionalism, it is the bubbling enthusiasm among staff and participants and the family-like atmosphere at the park that are particularly striking. Not only that: in addition to the fun of “playing in the mud” on a GS, participants get to discover more about themselves and their bike – and they always gain greater motorcycling confidence in road traffic, too.
Here’s to the next 25 years!
After 25 years both BMW Motorrad and the operators still have future visions regarding the park’s development. Currently various expansion and extension possibilities are discussed. Everyone is convinced: the BMW Motorrad Enduro Park Hechlingen has the potential to maintain his position as leading off-road training centre also for the upcoming 25 years.
Facts and figures
•26 ha basic area
•approx. 45 km of trails
•more than 40,000 participants (1993 – 2018)
•approx. 250 training courses per year
•more than 50 employees run the training courses and workshops
•approx. 420 tyre changes per year
•more than 400 clutch/brake levers broken off per season