The custom motorcycle scene is blessed with incredible events around the globe, on every continent and catering for every two-wheeled contraption you can possibly name. But then there is a place where a weekend-long festival has become a Mecca, the race rules are known as the Bible and there is even a motorcycle church service, it’s Germany’s Glemseck 101. Returning for its 16th edition, the weekend of September 1st to 3rd saw the biggest gathering of the faithful to date, with more than 40,000 visitors through the gates and 150 race bikes battling it out on the 1/8th mile strip. But the event has always been more than just about the motorcycles, the attendees are like family and to prove it, even entry and camping are free.
Traditionally the event has always been scheduled for the first weekend in September, with action taking place on the historic Solitude race track in Leonberg near Stuttgart. But two years were lost to COVID-19 and 2022 was held later in the year than usual as conditions began to improve. So, all involved knew that the 2023 event would be huge and visitors from around the world had tickets booked, bags packed and bikes being readied many months in advance.
We’ve been lucky enough to cover the event for years now, getting to know the incredible people and motorcycles that bring so much joy to so many. And as always our great friend ‘Mr Krautmotors’ Rolf Reick was happy to give us the inside scoop, organiser Steven Flier was more than willing to fill us in on all the goings on of the latest gathering at the motorcycle mecca, and photographer extraordinaire Anna Gala sent us a slew of incredible captures so we can all drink in the goodness of Glemseck.
As Steven points out, “it is an event in three parts. A classic meet and greet, talking fuel and oil. Secondly, it has always been a very well known regional Rockabilly event since the beginning, with live Rockabilly music on 101 Friday & 101 Saturday from the main stage till after 1 am in the morning. And finally, it is known worldwide in the scene for the 1/8th mile racing.”
And it is on the track that Rolf is both the organiser, since 2012, of the StarrWars race series and a competitor on his incredible bikes. Rolf’s passion is like few others, and he also breaks down some of the confusion around the name, “Starr means rigid in German. So only rigid frames will participate. Street tyres, only 2-valve engines, air-cooled, simple and stupid. And the best, most of my guys build their bikes just for StarrWars, I love them! Sometimes I change my own rules so that it does not become boring,” Rolf laughs.
What all agree on is that the event is fun and friendly, and absolutely dedicated to motorcycles. So, not only is entry free but so is the camping and all the activities, as the team worked overtime to funnel the crowds into some sort of order. But there are some strict rules, you have to have fun, and four wheels? Well, they’re banned from the event, absolutely no cars at all, with trailers allowed in for just 90 minutes on the opening morning to drop off the race bikes before they are quickly escorted from the event.
When fans weren’t sitting in the historic grandstand taking in the racing action, the famous ‘Dealers Mile’ was the place to be, where a huge number of exhibitors, motorcycle and parts dealers, and event sponsors showed off their wares. From cool clothing to plenty of custom parts and pieces, there were also test rides to be had, with BMW, Honda, Royal Enfield and Zero all with plenty of their latest offerings on hand for the crowds to take a spin on.
The happy faces from everyone in attendance just go to show what a cheerful and family-like gathering it is, and the amazing food and beer on offer don’t hurt either. We’ll have an in-depth look at some of this year’s most amazing race bikes, and already Rolf has big plans for 2024, with the hopes of a full electric bike field, and you can bet your bottom dollar that when Glemseck 101 rolls around for the 17th edition, ‘Mr Krautmotors’ will have an e-rocket of his own ready to race’ all we can say is, book your flights now.