In the beginning was the quarry.
A small town with global appeal: Hechlingen am See, with around 600 inhabitants, may be a tiny spot on the map. Nevertheless, the district of the Heidenheim market is known beyond its Middle Franconian borders all over the world. At least among the community of GS riders. Because the Enduro Park Hechlingen promotes great things. Where once stones, sand and gravel were mined, certified instructors have been bringing the enthusiastic "Homo Enduro" the necessary riding skills for off-road riding all over the world for a quarter of a century.
In Hechlingen there are always up-to-date motorcycles available - once the HP2 Enduro was also part of the fleet.
The Enduro Park in Hechlingen is unique, attracts people from all over the world and has a global impact. It is a role model for more "enduro playgrounds"; after all, the GS fever is going around. Meanwhile, there are nine offshoots in Spain, Russia, Thailand, Poland, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Romania and South Africa. All over the world, the mother of all Enduro Parks has her offspring, all of whom are unique in their design and nature.
Enduro Park Hechlingen, GermanyEnduropark Hechlingen [Open in Maps]
A legend and the mother of all Enduro Parks. In Hechlingen there are more than 26 hectares of land and around 45 kilometres of trails available. In addition to numerous training courses for every requirement, there are also travel workshops, for example. The first address for enduro fans.
Enduro Park Aras de los Olmos, Spain
Enduro Park Andalusia, Spain
Enduro Park Moscow, Russia
Enduro Park Thailand
Country Trax, South Africa
Akademia Enduro, Poland
Off Road Skills, England
GS Explorer, Romania
Going new ways means courage, will and passion.
What started in July 1993 with the first official training in the former quarry can be formulated retrospectively as the beginning of a great success story. Naturally, it took freethinkers who are breaking new ground – driven by courage, will and passion. The Enduro Park Hechlingen was born out of an idea that represents BMW Motorrad, both then and now: Make Life a Ride! Specifically: make motorcycling as an overall experience tangible and above experienceable. "No other motorcycle manufacturer can offer such an experience to its riders," says Franz Geisenhofer, who worked for BMW Motorrad's Product Publicity department at the time.
Careful treatment of the environment and nature.
Careful treatment of the environment and nature.
However: the way to the first official training sessions would appear to have insurmountable obstacles. The Federal Association for Bird Conservation and the Federation of Nature Conservation objected to the permit. In reply, BMW Motorrad commissioned an ecological evidence-securing expert report – with the result that the municipality of Hechlingen was then able to issue the permit. There are no problems with environmentalists: several times, an updated ecological preservation of evidence confirmed that the operation of the park has no negative impact on flora and fauna. In fact, the Enduro Park Hechlingen was awarded the environmental prize from the Federal Ministry for the Environment by Angela Merkel in 1999 – because the park is in harmony with nature and is the ecological home of numerous animal and plant species, such as eagle owls. "With precisely prescribed actions, we even get habitats for animals and plants worthy of protection or even create them," says Hansjürgen Carl, head of the Product Publicity department at the time.
Purist past, representative present.
Representative: The reception building is a meeting point and communication centre for the participants.
Purist past, representative present.
At the beginning, only a few beer table sets were available to the team on the 26 hectare site. No water. No changing facilities. The old hangar of the quarry was converted into a shelter and workshop for the former fleet. Since then, enduro riders from all over the world have found their personal challenge – from beginners to professionals. In the meantime, a distinguished reception building with a visitor's terrace has been built, as has the centre's own motorbike hall with workshop and vehicle fleet. On several occasions, the park has expanded or adapted the circuit with various obstacles, steep slopes, gravel roads, single trails, rooted forest trails and small and large ascents and descents. Today, the BMW Motorrad Enduro Park Hechlingen is one of the leading off-road training centres in Europe with around 250 training courses and 3650 participants per year – that's more than 40,000 participants since the park's inception.
ENDURO PARK HECHLINGEN IN FIGURES
• more than 26. ha. of floor space
• approx. 45 km of trails
• more than 40,000 participants (1993 - 2018)
• approx. 250 training sessions per year
• more than 50 employees master training sessions and workshops
• about 420 tyres per year
• more than 400 broken clutch/brake levers per season
1. Reception hall
2. Workshop & motorcycle hall
3. Visitor terrace
4. Training ground; basic exercises (beginners)
5. Training ground, basic exercises (intermediate group)
6. Training ground, basic exercises (intermediate group)
7. Training ground Basic exercises (advanced)
8. Camel hump, track bar, jump hill
10. Border trail
12. Fence path
13. Sand (Sahara)
14. Steep curve
16. Swiss variant
17. Trial area
18. Diamond field
19. Cuddle meadow
20. Franconian view
22. Blood groove
23. Golf course
Coming soon: 25. Former community forest, 26. Sauwald
The former quarry is the beginning of countless offroad adventures, the beginning of a world trip or a GS Trophy. This is where the attitude towards life that an adventure bike from BMW Motorrad promises comes true. Rolf Lange, globetrotter and diehard GS rider, is very familiar with this feeling. In 17 months he rode around the world one and a half times: five continents, 42 countries, around 65,000 kilometres. It all began in Hechlingen, where he prepared himself for his journey. "The Enduro Park has shown me a very important thing: that I can do much more than I thought possible. It gives me confidence and optimism."
Look, look and look again. That's what it came to, that's a very important lesson.
In particular, the overall package offered to participants at the Enduro Park Hechlingen is just right for Rolf: "The park is a gigantic playground for adults." The atmosphere among the instructors and the participants is unique. Every now and again, Rolf the off-roader refreshes his riding skills in Hechlingen. "I like to be there. We are all equals here." Two insights from the training sessions have shaped him in particular: look, look and look again. And: relax! Many visitors feel the same as Rolf, and if they become susceptible to the adventure virus, they will surely return again soon.
Dirt makes you happy.
Sharing knowledge and teaching riding skills: this is only possible with certified instructors. The demanding program for instructor training was conceived and developed at Enduro Park Hechlingen. The high standards for the certificate have been maintained in all Enduro Parks. No wonder that in Hechlingen the paths of instructors and marshals as well as other protagonists of the whole world intersect again and again. Winners such as Byron Coetsee for example. In 2016, together with his South African team, he won the Int. GS Trophy. GS Trophy. Or Amy Harburg, who was one of the first female team members ever to take part in that GS that year. A familiar face is Tomm Wolf. The former chief instructor of Enduro Park Hechlingen, nowadays he runs the Enduro Park Aras de los Olmos (Spain) and also assumes the role of making sure that the attractive riding side of the GS Trophy is taken care of.
The Enduro Park Hechlingen will be extended and offers even more possibilities in the future.
A quarter of a century has passed, and the next is already well underway. This goes hand in hand with the expansion of the site: two areas adjacent to the existing Enduro Park forest were purchased – about six hectares. In the future, there will be a basic training ground and additional single trails. Thus, the park continues to raise the bar. And the operators are facing new challenges. But the chances are good that in the next 25 years, many motorcyclists will follow the "Make Life a Ride!" challenge and recapture the freedom and that special attitude to life in the modern world.
Photo credits: Christian Mittelmaier, Rolf Lange.