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Laxey Photographic Show 2009

Sulby Glen Photographic Show 2009

 Quick-change Hans

Nurburgring paddock 1965. German GP on Sudschleife

What is odd about this photo?

The immediate, correct answer is that here we have a BMW Rennsport with a Norton front end - forks, wheel and brake. This he was to use in the Senior TT of 1969, giving him a non-stop run to 14th and a Silver Rep - “handled like a pig though”!!

Now - the story.

The photo was take in the Nurburgring paddock during the 1965 German Grand Prix meeting. The race was run on the shorter Sudschliefe circuit, and Hans was 9th. In all the years that he raced BMWs, Rennsports or later, he NEVER used Earles forks. He reckoned they were dangerous, especially if the throttle were opened or closed in a corner.

On the day in question, there wasn’t a problem, since he had no entry in the 350 with his Manx. The year before, however, was a different story. Money was not plentiful, and he had 350 & 500 entries at the Eifelrennen in April. The 350 race was at 1.30pm, followed by the 500 at 2.30. he took the 350 out in its race, leaving the Rennsport in the paddock, propped up under the sump with no front end in. 350 race over, he charged back to the paddock, dropped the complete front end out of the Norton, slapped it into the waiting Bee-Emm, and made it to the grid for the 500 race!

That was his modus operandi all that year, although usually another race intervened between the 350 and 500, giving a breathing space for the operation. By 1965, financial cramp having eased, he was able to afford a second Norton wheel & forks to live permanently in the Rennsport. Enthusiastic or what? The man was a star - and what is even better, he didn’t know it, and didn’t WANT to know it. What he was, though, was one of the nicest men I ever knew.

Larry Devlin (further stories of Hans will appear in the Classic section soon)

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