The 2015 Bikers’ Classics Spa: July 3-5

During the 13th edition of the Bikers’ Classics on the legendary circuit at Spa-Francorchamps competitors and spectators suffered from a heatwave with temperatures up to 37ºC. Jan Burgers suffered the heat to bring us the story.

Words and photographs: Jan Burgers

The few race fans that had the courage to attend the event had to put up with a completely different setup for the GP Parades, with no big-bike heroes from the past this time, but 50-80 and 125cc riders and their machines.

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Plus an extra class with machines and riders from the 1950-1960 period. Perhaps this change had an effect on the number of fans attending.

The start of the combined 50-80 125cc parade. Theo Timmer is leading the rest of the field on his Bultaco.
Where Italians are, there is food; cooking spaghetti in the pit box just like in the old days.

After paying for their entrance fee the fans discovered that only about half of the promised 80 riders from the 1950-60s in the race programme were present. There were only two replica MVAgustas, no works Benelli, and no Moto Guzzi eight-cylinder.

Stars such as Hugh Anderson, Eugenio Lazzarini, and Alex George, to mention just a few, were not present – much to the disappointment of the organisation itself – for various reasons.

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For the last parade of the 1950-60s class only 23 riders felt obliged to be on the grid. However, on Sunday spectators enjoyed a well-filled field of 50-80 and 125cc riders and their machines.

New Zealander Ginger Molloy was one of the stars that was present, he raced a Bultaco as in the late Sixties before he switched to a Kawasaki.

World Champions Jan de Vries and Henk van Kessel and Grand Prix winners Julien van Zeebroeck, Theo Timmer and Aalt Toersen were present.

Thankfully the 4 Hours of Spa race was spectacular, as was the IHRO – Belgian Classic Grand Prix. However, it was cold comfort to many a devoted race fan.

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Former East-German MZ works rider, Heinz Rosner, on the 250 RE.
Saturday, 8pm, and the start of the 4 Hour race. Only one team of the four leading the pack, 44 Team Taurus (Cantalupo-Rossi), passed the line after four hours of racing and finished fifth. The other three, 56 Team Force (Hubin-Fastré), 122 Team Armor (Le Gaudu-Mizera) and 4 Sweatshop Phase One (Mertens-Simpson) all retired.

The 4 Hours of Spa Classic at Spa-Francorchamps might well have been one of the hottest night endurance races ever.

Two Vulcanet Team ladies. Their presence did not help the team much as their race was over after only 19 laps.

At 10pm the temperature was still 30ºC. It was blood, sweat and tears for riders, team bosses and mechanics.

Favourite teams for the win such as the Belgian Team Force with reigning European champions Richard Hubin and Gregory Fastré, pole sitters Stéphane Mertens and Ian Simpson of Sweatshop Phase One and Armor Classic Bike team, all failed to finish.
Sweatshop Phase One II (Brasher-Linden), the Dutch Roadrunner Team (Van der Mark-Brand) and Bolliger Classic Endurance team (Kellenberger-Stierly-Schanz) did well by finishing second, fourth and seventh, scoring valuable points for the championship.

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The win went to Manfred Kaiser and Achim Steinmacher, who rode their 1170cc Kawasaki to the top step of the podium in 2013 too.

Italian Giancarlo Rossi, uncle of the late MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, crashed the Braghi Corse Ducati at La Source, in only the second lap of the race, just as he did two years ago. This time he broke a collarbone.
The winner of the race, the German Kaiser Classic Endurance Team with riders Manfred Kaiser and Achim Steinmacher on a smoking 1981 1170cc Kawasaki BK1, leading the Neat Racing team (Neat and Lodge).
Riders and machines had to be cooled; ventilators were working overtime whenever you looked in the pit boxes.
The winning machine, the 1170cc Kawasaki BK1 from the German team Kaiser Classic Endurance Team. The bike averaged a race time of 145.15km/hr during the 83 laps in scorching hot temperatures.

They completed 83 laps during the 4 Hour heat haze.

The Classic 1000 class was won by the Italians Emiliano Bellucci, Orest Zaccarelli and Simone Quieti on the 1976 Kawasaki K900 from the Scuderia Officine Toscane.

The amount of power that is generated from these 1964 BMW R50-Ss raced by Jarno Jonker is amazing. The bikes are prepared by BMW specialist Jan Beck and on twisty road circuits the flat twins are almost unbeatable.
The Seeley BSA Goldstar of Dutchman Jan-Frank Bakker just missed a little bit of horsepower to beat the Patons on the fast Spa circuit.

They finished eighth overall, quite an achievement.

With only one more race to go the Dutch Roadrunner Team of former 24 Hours of Le Mans winners Van der Mark and Brand led the standings with 26 points ahead of Team Force and the Kaiser Classic Endurance Team.

The Belgian Classic Grand Prix was organised for the second time at the Spa circuit.

The GP is a merge from the International Historic Racing Organisation (IHRO) and Classic Racing Motorcycles Belgium (CRMB).

Italian Dario Tosolini and his Paton was the combination to beat during the two races.
Start of the Belgian Classic Grand Prix. Only 60 spectators on the shady grandstand, which is a shame as both races were great to watch. On the front row, 130 Dario Tosolini (I) Paton, 19 Peter Beugger (CH) Paton, 140 Bruno Leroy (F) Vincent and 1 Jan-Frank Bakker (NL) BSA Goldstar.

The two classes fit well together and there were 80 starters.

This time the Patons, raced by Italian Dario Tosolini, Swiss Peter Beugger and Belgian Raf Blanckaert were the bikes to beat.

Only Dutchman Jan-Frank Bakker on a Seeley-BSA and Frenchman Bruno Leroy on the Vincent could stay near the Patons.

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