Simo Kirssi has earned the title honors in this year's German Cross Country Championship with one round still to go. The 30-year-old Team BMW Husqvarna Motorsport rider sealed yet another series victory with a third place finish at Mühlhausen, but it didn't come without drama for the 'flying Finn'.
A severe thunderstorm crossed the "Airtime Area" one third into main event – the Sunday afternoon pro race – turning the perfectly prepared track into a mud pool within minutes. Kirssi had ruled the proceedings before the rain came, as he dominated the early stages on his BMW factory enduro machine. The downpour didn't make a difference in the race order at first, but then Simo took a bad line and crashed, leaving fellow countryman Samuli Aro with the opportunity to take the lead.
Kirssi battled back and looked set to re-capture the lead but then his engine died while riding through a deep waterhole, which was just 50 metres from the finish line. At the very same moment the officials decided to red-flag the race due to safety concerns, so Kirssi summoned up the strength to push his bike past the checkered flag, although German rider Chris Gundermann was able to get past and therefore demoted him to third place.
The new champion was satisfied with the outcome, though. He had shown once again that with four victories to his name he was the man to beat in this year's series, and he enjoyed a dominant run all year, which was only really affected when something unusual happened – like this freak storm at Mühlhausen. Regardless, his team all had reason to celebrate what is Kirssi's third German title and his second aboard the powerful BMW G 450 X.
"That was pure drama – it almost felt like the end of the world out there," joked Kirssi after the race was over. "This is an outdoor sport, so you have to accept the forces of nature I guess! I was able to reel in Samuli after my crash, but had no idea that the race was about to be red-flagged anyway; that's why I attempted a pass about 50 metres from the finish line. This of course turned out to be a bad move, as the bike fatally stopped, but at least I was able to push it over the finish line."
German Cross Country Championship, Round 6, Mühlhausen results
- Samuli Aro (FIN), KTM, 12 laps
- Chris Gundermann (GER), Yamaha, 12
- Simo Kirssi (FIN), BMW Husqvarna Motorsport, 12
- Chris Weiß (GER), TM, 12
- Steffen Albrecht (GER), Yamaha, 12
- Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, 12
- Marco Straubel (GER), KTM, 12
- Mickael Musquin (FRA), BMW, 12
- Martin Schneider (GER), Yamaha, 10
- Andreas Schulz (GER), KTM, 10
German Cross Country Championship
, Points standings after round six (of seven):
- Simo Kirssi, 162
- Samuli Aro, 137
- Stefan Svitko, 126
- Steffen Albrecht, 112
- Chris Weiss, 11
- Marco Straubel, 111
- Hans Vogels, 99
- Andreas Schulz, 70
- Mickael Musquin, 67
- Martin Schneider, 65