BMW is hot for teacher
Stunt rider flies the Beemer banner
The 30-year-old American won his first StuntWars title in January for Team HAI, and performs in as many as four motorcycle shows a month.
With two-time Indoor Streetbike Freestyle world champion Chris Pfeiffer already dazzling audiences on the F800, BMW Motorrad hopes McNeil will help carry the team as the sport continues to gain mainstream recognition.
“I felt that Stunt Wars was a battle between me and Chris (Pfeiffer). I personally look up to him and I think he is one of the most talented guys out there,” says McNeil. “He, like me, aims for style and ultimate control, but on that occasion, I came out on top.”
McNeil is switching to the BMW F800 S after riding a Honda 600RR for Team HAI, but it didn’t take him long to feel a difference.
"Riding the F800 is a different experience to what I'm used to,” says McNeil. “It's a safer and more comfortable machine than anything I've ridden and the sheer power of the engine suits my riding style perfectly, which can only mean good things for the future."
Making his crowd-pleasing stunts even more impressive, McNeil doesn’t use many modifications, keeping his bike close to the factory standard.
“I have a great relationship with BMW Motorrad USA. I look at my job as helping to increase brand awareness and anything I can do to show that BMW Motorrad is a brand that can appeal to everyone is all the more positive,” says McNeil. “That’s one of the reasons why I keep the bike as close to the original product as possible – to show just what these machines are capable of.”
McNeil began performing stunts in 2001 and his progression has risen with the sport’s popularity. While still a fringe sport, stunt riding has been building momentum and could reach the popularity and acceptance of X Games sports such as skateboarding and BMX riding.
“I’m in no doubt that the future of the sport lies with the X Games,” says McNeil. “This year will be a big year for stunt riding and if we get the TV coverage we deserve, the future of the sport is bright.”
Helping to gain that mainstream appeal, McNeil doesn’t fit the stereotypical image of a stunt rider. McNeil is a university graduate and teaches Latin at a private school, earning him the nickname ‘Teach’.
Now performing under its banner, BMW Motorrad hopes McNeil can help teach America a thing or two about the sport of stunt riding.