The visitors of the thirteenth Bikers’ Classics were hardly given time to catch their breath. They were treated to a scorching action packed weekend. And those who chose to skip a few Parades or races, could enjoy themselves in the Lifestyle Village or at the auto jumble. The classic race event at Spa-Francorchamps once again lived up to its name of offering something for everyone.
JULIAAN VAN ZEEBROECK: “I’D LIKE TO DO IT AGAIN”
While Nortons, MV Agustas, NSU Sportmaxes, Aermacchis and Mondials from the sixties and seventies impressed the crowds with a wall of debibels, Juliaan Van Zeebroeck returned to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, 35 years after his last race, to meet up with former 50cc World Champions Jan de Vries and Henk van Kessel. “It’s my very first time on the shortened circuit”, said the 69-year-old from Bruxelles. “I absolutely love it.”
Exactly forty years after his memorable win in the 1975 Belgian Grand Prix, Van Zeebroeck noticed that the old racer instincts were still working. “I rode an Itom to ride by Pierre Kemperman. That bike is fantastic but my riding was not too smoothly. I immediately thought ‘I’d like to change this, modify that’. Maar I was still able to find the right lines.”
Three-time 50cc Grand Prix winner Van Zeebroeck was amazed how many people recognized him after all those years. “That was really incredible. And for me it was fun to see those old rivals again. I would definitely like to do it again.”
A GOOD TURN-OUT IN THE LIFESTYLE VILLAGE
This year the Bikers’ Classics symbolically opened a Lifestyle Village. It proved to be a big success. Yamaha presented its so-called Sport Heritage bikes, Ducati featured the customizing talents of world famous Fred Krugger and his self-built Scrambler and at Harley-Davidson visitors could experience the thrills of a stomping Milwaukee twin.
“With the Sport Heritage bikes we combine a retro look with modern day and high-level technology at Yamaha”, explained Marc Op De Beek from Belgian Yamaha importer D’Ieteren Sport. Top specialists like Roland Sands, El Greco and Marcus Walz used all their creativity to customize bikes like an XJR1300, an XV950 and the iconic V-Max. At Ducati, past and present were connected via the Scrambler. The bike, first introduced by Ducati in 1962, got a successor last year. The new bike is a big success, said Niels Kleinlooh from Ducati North Europe. “The bike appeals to many, it has a ‘back to basics’ feel to it, but it also features ABS and LED rear lights.” Customizing specialist Fred Krugger presented a very spectacular Scrambler in the Lifestyle Village – the result of three and a half months hard work. “Fred’s built a sort of trellis swinging arm and an exhaust system himself but also used standard Ducati accesso ires”, said Kleinlooh. “Thus people can see what they themselves can do to personalize their Scrambler.”
A dozen Harley-Davidsons were ready to be taken out for a ride. However, due to the extreme heat on Saturday Anne-Marie-Deary of Harley-Davidson Benelux hadn’t handed over many keys to aspiring Harley riders. “People aren’t really dressed to go test-riding, but we still enjoy being here”, said Anne-Marie. “It’s our first time here and it’s a good opportunity to show people a selection of our bikes. It might be a different crowd than that we’re normally dealing with, but they sure are interested!”
Outside the paddock visitors enjoyed the usual good atmosphere at the ‘auto jumble’, where many were in search of that one spare part, that special shirt or that exclusive book. The Ducati Owners Club and the Kawasaki Z1300 Club welcomed its members. The Laverda clubs were well represented by members from as far as Denmark, France and Germany. In a crowded tent, many exclusive Laverda singles, twins and triples were put on display, while Laverdisti lined up for an autograph of Laverda racing legend Augusto Brettoni. The indisputed star of the show, however, was the Laverda V6 Endurance racer. In 1978 the orange V6 impressed with its enormous power of 140 bhp and topspeed of 283 km/h at the Bol d’Or. At Spa-Francorchamps its 1991 version made for big smiles and applause every time Dutch builder Cor Dees fired it up.
RACING FOR POINTS
Moments of silence were rare at Spa-Francorchamps. The track was not just flocked by riders during the Parades; some 550 trackday riders also enjoyed their time on the 7 kilometer long circuit.
But of course the Spa-Francorchamps circuit was used for true racing as well. The German Kaiser Classic Endurance Team won an evenful 4 Hours of Spa Classic on Saturday evening. It was the team’s second win in three years. Pole sitter Dirk Schnieders dominated a sixty rider field in the CSBK Masters Series in both races on his Yamaha FJ1200. Paton mounted Dario Tosolini claimed the double in the two BCGP-IHRO races, whereas Richard Blunt grabbed two wins in the Pro Classic class.
“LOOKING AT THE FUTURE”
Looking back at the 13th Bikers’ Classics, Florian Jupsin of organizer DG Sport immediately looked forward. “We saw a lot and listened carefully to participants and spectators”, said Jupsin. “We have already gathered many ideas for next year. We celebrate the past but we set our sights at the future!”