The Glemseck 101 bike festival in 101 stunning images

Last weekend, the European motorcycle community hit the major bike festival Glemseck 101, at the former Solitude racetrack near Stuttgart. Photographer Frederic Seemann was there for Classic Driver – to capture the hottest equipment on camera...

The spirit of Solitude

“Biarritz has ‘Wheels and Waves’ on the shores of the Atlantic, and we have the spirit of the former Solitude racetrack,” declared Jörg Litzenburger four years ago, when the motorcycle festival was launched in France. The organiser of Glemseck 101 was right. But he could never have imagined that this spirit would attract so much attention on the event’s 10th anniversary, from 4 to 6 September 2015, that on Saturday it had to close to new arrivals because of too long a queue on the highway exit. Motorcycling is back, with an all-new motorcycle culture – and the café racer scene inspires a whole new generation. 

The essence of the motorcycle

Best of all, there is a new spirit of tolerance among the participants: café racers, scramblers, bobbers, tourers and choppers, all sit happily side by side. And you can dress how you want, whether old-school or casual – it’s the essence of the motorcycle that’s important, not the value. There is no brand envy, and young women are plentiful in the previously male-dominated domain. 

Individuality and creativity rewarded

Compared with Glemseck 101, some say that Wheels and Waves has lost its charm. The familiar French laissez-faire couldn’t stand up to the onslaught, with hours spent waiting for accreditation and a chaotic field for the famous hillclimb, the Punk’s Peak Race, the heart of the event, proving rather disappointing. In Stuttgart, everything went smoothly, despite the crowds – and Jörg Litzenburger and his team are working hard to ensure that Glemseck remains just as smoothly run in future. Every sprint participant is carefully selected to give the audience an exciting variety, and also to give new entrants a chance. Individuality and creativity are prized above the mere name of the manufacturer, so there was, for example, a special run for the new cult vehicle, the R nine T. Every year, Deus, Blitz, Urban Motor, El Solitario, Jens vom Brauck and Wrenchmonkees present their latest creations, and classic dealer Premiummotorrad was also allowed to join this select company – this year with a 1981 Egli-Honda. 

Prominent privateers

While it’s important to include motorcycle stars at such an event, it’s easy to allow them to dominate. Fortunately, at the Glemseck 101, the privateer entrants were very much at the fore, and where there were professionals taking part, they were mostly in dedicated classes. One such event was the showdown between Kawasaki test-rider Francesca Gasperi on the new Ninja H2R versus Troy Corser astride the new Lotus C-01, the latter’s first public appearance. 

One weak point...

 

In all, there was only one weak point – the voice of Jörg Litzenburger, or lack of, on the Sunday. After his seven-hour commentary stint on the Saturday, Sunday was simply too quiet without him. His encyclopaedic knowledge and enthusiastic tone were the perfect accompaniments to the event, which, in any case, brilliantly revives the spirit of the former Solitude racetrack.

Photos: Frederic Seemann for Classic Driver © 2015

 Not only is Tobias Aichele known for being one of the major experts in the European motorcycle scene, but also for his company, Premiummotorrad at Motorworld in Stuttgart, where he has many interesting classic motorcycles for sale.