Moto Media

from ... BMW Motorrad on Chris Pfeiffer

Since he was a kid, Chris Pfeiffer only wanted one thing: to ride motorcycles. Immediately fascinated by two-wheelers ever since his father gained a new bike after making a riding break due to Chris’ birth, his passion was immediately revealed.

Affectionately, Chris today calls his first bikes that were built up of spare parts from the junk yard 'oldtimers'. He used to dig the garden over with them. At the age of 10, he got his first trial bike.  "Then I did trial riding for 13 years and became German youth champion, German cup winner and participated in the European and World Championships”. However, he never made it to the very top of this sport. A twist of fate perhaps?

In 1990, Chris moved to Munich for his studies and confesses: "In principle, the whole stuntriding story came up due to the lack of free space in Munich.” Already at that time, he always had his van with him, with his trial bike and a mountain bike inside: "I always had them with me and was never seen without them.” He started to practice his first tricks on the tarmac. And then it all started with a show on his trial bike, first starting at a dealership opening or an open day.

The first key moment came in 1994, when he replaced his former idol Jean-Pierre Goy at the Olympic arena. Frenchman Goy had to resign due to an injured hand. "All of a sudden, the media became interested in my performance.”

More and more shows came up. They soon became so many that Chris decided to preliminary postpone the traineeship after his teaching studies: "I thought I should fully concentrate on riding motorcycles for half a year. And it soon became a full year, then two and then three…". With a twinkle in his eyes, he confesses that the traineeship is now water under the bridge.

Nevertheless, there were still some lows for Chris Pfeiffer to undergo, before he experienced his current popularity and success. In 1999, Chris experienced the biggest setback of his career. During the rehearsal of a world record attempt to jump over 35 people without a ramp for the Guinness Show of Records on German television, Chris landed on the wall and ended up in hospital, followed by 13 months of recovery. "Many people had already written me off at that time. 13 months is a long time and many show organisers forget who you are. You quickly get the image of the one who had the big crash.”

However, his passion for motorcycles prevailed over the doubt he had of fully regain his trust in the brakes that had let him down during that failed stunt. It was the same story than with many comebacks: "Either you make the great big comeback or you never come back." Already in his rehabilitation, he threw away the crutches and tried the first cautious stoppies. "Trust in the brakes was back immediately. I immediately knew that the only thing I wanted was to get back on the bike.”

At the same time, he made a far-reaching decision: "I decided that – if I would fully recover from my injuries – I would change over to big motorcycles." Until this time, he still performed on his trial bike, however, he immediately secured himself some big ones and discovered his biggest talent. "I am riding different tricks on the big machine. It is heavier, but that’s not always a disadvantage. I always liked the big bikes.”

His first deployment after the big crash was not a show, but an extreme Enduro race, the legendary Erzberg Rodeo at which regularly more than 500 participants start, but usually less than 30 finish in the end. Pfeiffer wins and comes back with a big bang: "I prefer the extreme tracks. I used to do ski races in my youth, but it turned out to be too short for me. I only woke up in the finish area.”

Chris competed in his first stuntriding contest in 2003. Despite of the resistance of his wife Renate, Chris feels fit enough to compete against others. And the Pfeiffer-effect strikes again. "Somehow, I had a different approach and showed different tricks. The judges and the spectators liked it and all of a sudden I was stuntriding world champion and took the podium one step higher than my former idols.”

Starting in 2005, BMW Motorrad secured the services of the exceptional talent. At first for riding enduro races, but after the development of the BMW F 800 S (the forerunner of the BMW F 800 R) for stuntriding, too. "Berti Hauser called me at that time and asked if I wanted to have a look at the bike. And I immediately fell in love with the F 800 S, the precursor of the F 800 R that I am riding today. It was a great step forward. The motorcycle perfectly meets my needs and I love the consistent power development. All other athletes were able to see that this bike is the one that fits.”

Chris’ aims for the future are above all to invent new tricks: "There are some tricks that I have in mind and that I would like to realise. Things at which I have been working for years, but they don’t work out yet. Inventing and bringing to perfection new tricks until I can ride them safely in a show is simply the best for me.”

Photos courtesy of Red Bull and Bernhard Spöttel.