Saturday morning after a topping breakfast, fresh and up for it I rode back to the Treffen site hoping to look round some of the bikes, meet some of the riders and maybe take part in one of the rideouts. Despite or perhaps because of their tightly regulated life-style German bikers are really into the streetfighter cult and the retro looks of the XJR give would-be customisers a head start. With over two hundred bikes at the meet there was every configuration you could imagine. chopped – stretched – polished – tuned and turbo’d, my head spun just looking at them!
A rare mod in the UK is to fit upside down front forks from a sports bike to improve on the conventional spindly items fitted as standard. Over there every other machine had the conversion from a whole variety of donor bikes despite the strict TUV laws which presumably have something to say on the matter.
Rideout groups were running at fifteen bikes max with a choice of fast – medium or slow pace. When Chromi asked which group I wanted to ride with I picked the ‘fast’ out of habit. Little Gunter the lead rider took one look at my white locks and said his ride was full or something along those lines. Chromi was made of sterner stuff and told me just to go and join them. At this stage Big Gunter came over and asked if my riding was ‘dynamic’. I muttered something like, ‘yeh, I should be ok. If I can’t keep up I’ll drop off and find my own way back’. ‘Ok then, take number two spot behind little Gunter and I’ll follow’.
The ‘fast’ group stop for a chat or a fag —
Couldn’t have been better for that’s my favourite position. The lead rider sets the pace and I have a clear view of the road ahead from my off-set line a few lengths behind. Formalities over and pleased to be free of my touring luggage I was quickly on the pace and fit for anything that came up during the ride. Including the tuned ex-Ring Taxi Fazer Thou that Big Gunter was riding. There was no more mention of ‘Dynamic’ riding that day. They were pussycats really.
We ambled down the banks of the Rhine for a few kilometres then caught a ferry to the other side. A really nice way to start a ride. As we waited for the boat I counted our lot, nine in total, so little Gunter had been taking the proverbial when he said his group was full. No worries, I know what it’s like when you want to make progress and you have someone along with other ideas or abilities, frustration all round!
After covering about one hundred and fifty kilometeres on some interesting undulating twisties we found a little restaurant and had a slap-up lunch accompanied by the usual banter on such occasions. During the meal the heavens opened and after an extended lunch break with no sign of the rain letting up we decided to head for the nearby autobahn where Little Gunter and I gavitsum down the flooded carriageway back to the airfield. The rain had moved on by the time we got there and I noticed the 137bhp Ring Taxi Fazer went straight on the dyno, no doubt to find out why it couldn’t out-drag my supposedly less powerful XJR.
Big Gunter with his 137bhp Fazer Thou ex-Ring Taxi — yes for a fee you can hop on the back and be taken on a fast lap of the Nurburgring —
The meeting was a typically well organised German affair. A mobile dyno was on-site throughout and always had someone’s bike strapped down to it being revved to near oblivion! The tyre fitting bay also came in useful for the guys who couldn’t resist the burnout pad. One in particular was doing ‘Wheels on Fire’ donuts after dark. Very spectacular but I did notice his mate kept the fire extinguisher at hand just in case!
Another feature was the use of the airfield runway later in the day after the local flying club had put their planes to bed for the night. Timed runs one against one were much better than the dyno for settling who was the fastest. A visiting Kawasaki sports bike was taking on and beating all the XJRs until Marc Muller on his very tidy Cologne Motorcycles sponsored XJR comlete with upside downies, special big bore underseat exhaust and tuned oversize 1400cc motor burbled down the strip and blew the Kawasaki away. That bike was no slouch and neither was Marc who told me later he races regularly in the Macau Grand Prix.
It was dark by then, time to retire to the spare hanger where the stage was set for the Streetfighter Band. But first some sort of wordy ceremony. I wasn’t sure what was being announced but everyone was looking at poor me! Next thing I knew I was being pushed up on the stage and receiving the Iron Butt – Farthest Travelled award for covering nine hundred and sixty eight kilometres in one day on my way to the meet. Had I known I would have been tempted to do a second lap of Liege to complete the thousand!
Picture quality is bad as it’s a copy of a copy of a newspaper report – I’m far right with the other prize winners.
As I didn’t really understand the lingo, the award ceremony seemed to go on for ever and I would have died of thirst up there on the stage if Uwe from Bremen hadn’t kept me supplied with beer. Very decent of him for I believe he was the next farthest travelled and I had nicked his prize!
Speeches and photo sesions over it was time to turn up the wick on the Streetfighters Heavy Metal Band who were let loose next on the stage. They were something special! Boy did they rattle the rafters in that old hanger and were still givinitsum long after I’d called it a night and got a taxi back to my hotel!
AAA – Part Three