BMW Motorrad’s successes at the legendary Isle of Man are numerous. However, one particularly significant win is being commemorated. That is, the 1976 win of the Production 1000cc class, achieved by Helmut Dähne and his now deceased teammate, Otto Butenuth. Many decades later, today, Dähne is being reunited with the motorcycle upon which he conquered what is arguably the world’s most challenging course. Dähne’s reunion with his Beamer will consist of more than merely seeing the old bike in person though, he will actually lap the TT circuit at the age of 71.
The motorcycle which helped catapult Dähne to his victory was none other than the R 90 S, which BMW refers to as its first superbike. It was launched three years prior, and packed more horsepower than the standard variant, enabling the bike to reach speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour. Dähne’s R 90 S adorned the striking Daytona Orange paint scheme and weighed significantly less than the road-going model. The engine was modified, as was the suspension, giving the Beamer the added performance it needed to dominate the competition.
The Bavarian rider began his career in the motorcycle industry as a mechanic with BMW Motorrad’s racing division. He also conducted reliability testing for the firm, and contributed to the development of race bikes based upon the R 75/5, in the early 1970s. Later, Dähne would go to work for famed tire manufacturer Metzeler, now owned by Pirelli. There he helped develop tires for both road-going and racing vehicles. His involvement with the sport over the years led him to enter the TT himself for the first time in 1972. He competed in no less than 26 TT races throughout his career.
Though a BMW acquired its first win on the grueling circuit in 1939, BMW motorcycles continue to enjoy success at the world renowned competition in present times. Currently, riders like Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson utilize BMW’s S 1000 RR to effectively and precisely navigate the Isle of Man, with the former of the two setting the quickest lap time ever on the course during the most recent competition.
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