The BMW RS 54, the sidecar star

BMW RS 54No better play area for sidecars than the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. The riders, their monkeys and their machines have all the necessary ingredients to place their discipline in the spotlights. Sidecar races are very spectacular yet relatively unknown to the public at large. They are “traditional” invitees to the Bikers’Classics. The public enjoys the sidecar parades, just think about the 2014 edition with the famous duo Biland – Waltisperg. «A circuit is always a guarantee for fun », said Rolf Biland, 63 year old former world champion with six world titles on his counter. «My collaboration with Kurt felt like in the good old days, no hesitation whatsoever. We are a bit older but with some extra effort I’m convinced we can get in shape very soon !» The two won’t be present in Spa this year, so we don’t know if they are indeed in shape, but one thing is sure : the former talents are (almost) always as fast as they used to be, and they will be eager to demonstrate that on July 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

The same can be said from the machines. For this 14th edition, the organizers have been able to arrange a mythical 3-wheeler : the BMW RS 54. There will be approximately twelve RS 54’s on track, among which the side from Max Deubel (1964), a replica of the machine from Enders (1976) and the sidecar from Siegfried Schauzu (1975) in its original state. These names may not ring a bell with “non-connaisseurs” but we’re talking about absolute stars in their category. The RS 54 became a reference mid fifties and remains the machine with the most titles on its name in the history of motorsports, with 19 titles won between 1954 and 1974, of which 14 consecutive ones ! The competitors however were also very fierce. The most illustrious ones among them will also be present in Spa. The URS from Helmut Fath (1966) and the König’s with which Werner Schwärzel and Rolf Steinhausen won their world titles. Also the legendary Norton and BSA… And a few recent machines such as the Yamaha LCR ex-Michel (1983), the Ireson Yamaha from Derek Jones (1977), the LCR’s from the Streuer family (1991 et 2016), the Windle TZ 350 and 700 from the Noble family …

Accompanying these machines is an impressive panoply of world champions : Rolf Steinhausen (1975-76), Egbert Streuer (world champion from 1984 till 1986) and his son Bennie (current world champion), Max Deubel (4 titles between 1961 and 1964), Larry Coleman (triple AMA champion), Derek Jones, Steve Abott and Ralph Bonhorst, world champion in 1989. Some haven’t confirmed yet but they are eager to participate at Europe’s largest event for classic bikes. Would you like to meet them ? Then visit the sidecar tent in the heart of the paddock. Fans of the discipline can admire the machines and have a chat with the riders.