BMW's original off-road centre celebrates quarter century

From small beginnings to the centre of BMW Motorrad's off-road activity, Enduro Park Hechlingen has come a long way over the past 25 years...

BMW's original off-road centre celebrates quarter century

THE GRANDAD of BMW’s off-road centres, Enduro Park Hechlingen, last weekend celebrated 25 years of off-road adventures.

It all began on Saturday 21 July 1993, when a group of BMW riders met at an abandoned quarry near Hechlingen am See in Middle Franconia, Bavaria, for an enduro training course. Such was the success of this formulative training session that it led to 40,000 participants over 25 years of instruction, and countless copycat schools.

Originally run by BMW Motorrad, the centre was taken over by Enduro Park Hechlingen GmbH in 2008 under the direction of Manfred Spitz, one of the first instructors. He now heads a team of 50 at the South German site. 

At 26 hectares in size, Enduro Park Hechlingen comprises 45km of trails, including steep slopes, gravel tracks, single trails, root-covered forest tracks, ruts as well as climbs and descents.

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Last year alone saw more than 3,650 riders visit the school on 250 plus training courses, riding the current range of off-road BMW bikes. The park is where all BMW Off Road Skills courses are created and refined, acting as a global centre of expertise. It’s a far cry from the humble beginnings as a disused quarry with an old converted hangar for the motorbikes, beer benches as furniture and lacking a water supply or changing rooms

But the site isn’t just a petrol fueled playground – it’s also the ecological home to numerous animal and plant species. Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences also uses the enduro park for ecological studies, and the centre even won 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.

Clearly, it’s a winning formula, and one that deserves to be celebrated. Happy birthday Enduro Park Hechlingen, here’s to the next 25 years!