The Glemseck 101 festival is an annual European motorcycle event held in Southern Germany and rapidly gaining international prominence as a Mecca for lovers of classic and new-classic motorcycles; the result of homebrew and shop customised café racers, trackers, modern-bobbers and urban brawlers. Throw in trade exhibitors, thousands of riders, music and sprint racing, and it’s an instant recipe for success.This year’s event (5-7 September), the ninth year, was no exception to this rule. In 2013, 50,000 was the conservative figure given for the amount of visitors to Glemseck 101, held in the German City of Leonberg. While the attendance for 2014 has still to be officially underlined, all the signs point to even bigger visitor numbers.It’s not hard to understand why Glemseck 101 is the place for motorcyclists, inquisitive fans and families looking for peace-loving entertainment to go and check out working customised machines, the result of individual minds. The machinery that is on view is a staggering collection of hard work and creativity, mostly featuring BMW Motorrad and English classic brand engines. One thing is for sure, no two bikes are ever the same. They might have the same urban mix of polished aluminium fuel tanks or fat trail tyres on wire-spoked wheels, but the quality of detail makes each bike truly unique.The same can be said of the noise emitted through exhausts. Just about every bike mimics the ‘loud and proud’ exhausts of yesteryear – the very same glory days when our grandfathers and fathers bathed in the glory of non-policed emissions regulations. A widespread affinity to motorsport and lifestyle of yesteryear acts as blinker and ear-plugs to young and old… and the authorities. If ever there was a legal high featuring paint, polished metal, rubber and oil, Glemseck 101 is it. And it’s free! There is no entry charge to spend hours wandering the three kilometre run of stands, stalls and happy personnel who populate them.Another and very solid reason why Glemseck 101 is so successful can be seen and heard with the action-filled highlight of the event: the 1/8th of a mile sprint. Although the Glemseck 101 club holds numerous sprint events through the year, the classes of 101-Sprints held at Glemseck are hotly contested with competitors from across Europe and wider still. But it is nearly always the home country teams that get the most cheers – especially if using BMW Motorrad chassis and engine power.BMW Motorrad Germany appreciatively supports Glemseck 101 and the Stuttgart subsidiary was once again on hand with display machines and all forms of advice. The lack of a license is no longer a problem for anyone inspired to take a test ride by the sight of the thousands of Boxer-powered machines, thanks to the Eye Ride - the first virtual test ride from BMW Motorrad. This uses real-life video material in a unique 110-degree field of vision riding experience that comes very close to the real thing. BMW Motorrad also placed four custom bikes into the racing arena.Defending SUPERBIKE IDM champion Markus Reiterberger and Berlin-based actor Roland Zehrfeld competed in the 101 International Sprint Knock-Out with customised versions of the New Heritage R nineT. Zehrfeld had the honour of riding ‘Track Grinder’ from Urban Motors, Berlin (one of the original machines to kickstart Motorrad’s New Heritage line from Project SoulFuel) but went out at half time, while Markus Reiterberger with ‘Nine T One’ from Edelweiss Motorsport in Essen took second place.In the races for rigid frame motorcycles built after 1938, car and bike tester Tim Schrick and BMW Motorrad France marketing manager Sebastien Lorentz took part in what the organisers described as “the toughest race in the universe.” Schrick sprinted to third place with his BMW styled by Cafemoto and Edelweiss Motorsport.The eventual winner was Sebastien Lorentz with his ‘Sprintbeemer’ from Lucky Cat Garage. With a miniscule five-litre fuel tank and nitrous oxide fuel injection system, the Frenchman’s machine also had just about every feature developed by BMW Motorrad in recent decades. These ranged from the frame (BMW R 50/2) dating from 1959 to the ‘modern’ 1992 BMW R 100 R gearbox and BMW S 1000 RR battery.Glemseck 101 followed up Sunday’s sprint for classic racers built before 1983 with the Show Sprint, which featured four BMW R nineT conversions, and the BMW Classic Boxer Sprint for two-valve Boxers. BMW Motorrad was doubly pleased to see this particular sprint race held at the Glemseck 101 because it unfortunately had to be dropped from the BMW Motorrad Days 2014 event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In all, though, the weekend’s sprint spectacle was a thoroughly enjoyable lesson in precision-organised but fun racing.Meanwhile back at the main event, the three other customised R nineT bikes from Project SoulFuel – ‘Track Grinder’ (Urban Motors of Berlin), ‘El Impostor’ (Galacian specials builder El Solitario), ‘The 9 Tracker’(Blitz Motorcycles, France) – were also joined by the gorgeous ‘Stockholm syndrome’ from UCC of Sweden. To see these machines and others from the rising tide of self-customised bikes virtually guaranteed a smile on every face before the evening parties kicked off. Music to satisfy every taste filled the heated air of late summer, while liquid refreshment ensured nobody suffered the effects of heat.Ably partnered/supported by the City of Leonberg, in cooperation with Hotel Glemseck and German Motorcycle magazine MO (media partner), Glemseck 101 2014 was a roaring success. As BMW Motorrad already knows, success breeds success and Glemseck 101 isn’t looking to go anywhere other than Glemseck. With a 100-year-old history associated with historic racing at and around the legendary Solitude racetrack, Glemseck 101’s future as the destination for all kinds of motorcyclists, designers and artists is beyond doubt. Roll on next year.
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