From the archive: The 2015 Sachsenring Classic – 80 years of motorcycle racing in one weekend


A total of 650 riders competed at the ADAC-Sachsenring-Classic in Hohenstein-Ernstthal in former East Germany. Thousands of spectators came to see the stars during the three-day event like in the old days before the iron wall was demolished.

Words and photographs: Jan Burgers.

The paddocks and pits were loaded with exotic bikes, the oldest being a 1927 Schütoff.

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With the help of Ferry Brouwer, former Yamaha factory mechanic and the creator and owner of the now disbanded YCRT team, the organisation succeeded in inviting the owners with bikes of any importance from the period 1950-80 to the event.

Front row of the 350s: Dieter Braun, D, Yamaha (1), Bruno Kneubühler, CH, Yamaha (2) and Theo Bult, NL, Yamsel (6).
A Jawa 2TV4 type 673 from 1967. V-four, liquid-cooled, disc-valve, two-stroke, 345cc, with a seven-speed gearbox. Italian Silvio Grassetti won the Yugoslavian Grand Prix on a similar machine in 1969. Bill Ivy lost his life at the Sachsenring when this bike seized in practice.
Mechanic Derek Booth working on Steve Baker’s Yamaha 0W45, owned by Emil Holder.

It was like a two-wheel Valhalla, with MV, MZ, DKW, Honda, Bultaco, Mondial, Benelli, NSU, CZ, Jawa, Aermacchi, Norton, Matchless, AJS, Moto Guzzi, Gilera, Bianchi, Yamsel, Velocette, Derbi, Garelli, Piovaticci, Condor, Bridgestone, Rotax, König, Ringhini and many more.

Aussie Kel Carruthers, 250 Benelli, and Swiss Bruno Kneubühler, 250 Honda, on their way to the grid.
The rare, six-carburettor, titanium frame, three-cylinder 350 MV Agusta. According to Lucio Castelli, the former works mechanic of Agostini and Hailwood, the bike was an experiment and was never raced.
Steve Baker, Emil Holder and mechanic Derek Booth on the grid with the ex-works Yamaha 0W45.

Fifty-one years after he had won at the Sachsenring, Hugh Anderson came all the way from New Zealand accompanied by Ginger Molloy.

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South African Alan North missed a flight but eventually arrived just in time. Kel Carruthers came over from the USA to ride one of the original works Benelli and 1977 F750 world champion, Steve Baker, raced an ex-works Yamaha.

More than 60 riders line up at the start of the 1970-80 demonstration. First row of the 50cc class: Theo Timmer, NL, Jamathi (3), Aalt Toersen, NL, Jamathi (2) and double world champion, Jan de Vries, NL, Kreidler (1).
Ginger Molloy (left) admiring the rare 125 Mondial showed by Italian Bruno Taglioreti.
Swiss triple world champion, Luigi Taveri, and his partner Tile. Luigi was riding a 250 Honda.  
The Czechoslovakian single-cylinder ESO ohv 500cc four-stroke from the Fifties was used for moto-x, speedway and road racing.

Eastern European heroes such as Heinz Rosner (MZ) and Bohumil Stasa (CZ) also gained the crowd’s appreciation, while 86-year-old Swiss legend Luigi Taveri raced a 250 Honda, as did his fellow countryman Bruno Kneubühler in the 500 class.

Four stars from the old Continental Circus, from left: Alan North, SA; Theo Bult, NL; Alex George, UK and Ginger Molloy, NZ

Dave Hailwood, son of the late, great, Mike Hailwood, spearheaded a British delegation, among them former Continental Circus stars and TT winners Chas Mortimer and Alex George.

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