Sprint, style and a lot of sound.

At the Glemseck 101, music and motorcycles set the tone.

It has long since gained a reputation as an international motorcycle festival: the Glemseck 101 is a happening of the best and wildest bikes. In Leonberg, the rear wheels on the former Solitude racetrack are going strong – and the international custom scene is mightily turning up the volume in terms of inspiration. Where three days of rock 'n' roll and cool custom bikes meet and attract around 40,000 visitors.  

On your mark, get set, go: Flag girl Laura takes off regularly at the 1/8 mile.

Right on the limit.

On the old start-finish straight of the historic Solitude race track in Leonberg, you can't even hear yourself think. Two riders stand at the start of the quarter-mile, and rev their engines in sync with each other. The next moment, flag girl Laura raises the flag, jumps simultaneously into the air and lands on the straw bale. The flag is down, the bikes sprint off – the throttle is right up to the max and the tyres leave their mark on the asphalt. Burnt rubber in the nose, smoke in the air.  

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Head to head.

Real duels: Glemseck 101 means nothing but one against the other.

Head to head.

At this moment, not only the eyes of the riders light up, but so too do those of the spectators on the jam-packed grandstand. Their heads move with the speed of the passing motorcycles – and after just a few seconds, simply stare after them. It's Glemseck 101. Time for the acceleration race out on the dragstrip. One against one - that's what 101 stands for - in the knockout system. This is the order of business all Saturday and Sunday.  

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Sultans of Sprint

Always different, always freaky: The Sultans of Sprint stand out from the crowd.

It's all about the sprint.

The sprints on the legendary racetrack are set in different classes: the Café Racer Sprint enchanted the Heritage fans, the original sprint of the 101 with air-cooled motorcycles. There is the Sprint International, the Classic Racer Sprint and the shot glass class for bikes with 50 cc - so to speak, the moped race. Or the StarrWars Sprint, which focuses on fixed-rear motorcycles. In particular, the race of the Sultans of Sprint causes a stir – motorcycle freaks and customizers from all over Europe participate in it. The leader of the Sultans is Frenchman Sébastien Lorentz from the Lucky Cat Garage. He took on the dragstrip at the Glemseck with his sprint Beemer in 2014, after which he initiated his own class – the Sultans of Sprint first started in 2016 with turbo, compressor and nitrous oxide. Meanwhile, a Europe-wide racing series has been created, which is pursued by the entire Sultan following. "We are an international travelling circus and travel from one eighth-mile to the next eighth-mile", says Sébastien.  

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Welcome to the Factory Class!

Welcome to the Factory Class!

In 2018, the Sultans of Sprint have also brought a so-called Factory Class to their racing series – here, four-stroke or water-cooled engines are permitted to enter. BMW Motorrad has gotten two of the coveted starting places. In Glemseck, the two riders Amelie Mooseder (Spitfire / VTR Customs) and Rolf Reick (Little Go Beep / Krautmotors) will line up on the starting line of the dragstrip and put down a skilful burn-out while zombie, Yeti, Frankenstein and Hercules form the backdrop. Completely normal: Sultans wear crazy outfits. Because not only speed but also performance and power in the form of style, creativity and craziness are very much part of it. Ultimately, there are points for the race and points for creative design and party-hungry behaviour – "scary factor" and "Party Monster Bonus". Freaky is the name of the game.  

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It's an honour just to be there.

It's an honour just to be there.

Like the Grim Reaper, Rolf Reick comes along – a skeleton is painted on his black racing gulf. With "Little Go Beep", Mr. Krautmotors takes third place in the Factory Class sprint. Amelie does not make it onto the podium on the high-performance Spitfire, but she is happy to take fourth place. "Riding a sprint race with the sultans is something of an accolade. To get one of these rare places is a blast. Out on the dragstrip, people are celebrating and cheering. That's great," says Amelie, who hopes to score more points for the "scary factor" with a dinosaur as a mascot. The Sultans of Sprint are the most spectacular troop performing at the Glemseck. "There is also an unbelievable amount of resonance, because the bikes have been incredibly rebuilt. They are extremely loud, extremely fast. There is a lot going on in qualifying and at the races," says Christian Pingitzer, Head of BMW Motorrad Heritage / Customizing.  

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BMW Boxer Sprint

Like a space shuttle.

Another highlight at the Glemseck follows with the BMW Boxer Sprint on Sunday. The crème de la crème of the customising scene shows its finest delicacies. Eight top customisers on their eight spectacular BMW Motorrad conversions compete against each other in this race. Cristian Sosa from Sosa Metalworks in Las Vegas has pushed his SMW 61-B bike to the start of the dragstrip – curiously eyed by numerous visitors. His custom forge is known for handcrafted parts and metalworking. The body of the SMW 61-B is made of hand-moulded aluminium, left raw to show the elaborate craftsmanship to the outside. Cristian likes it pure, without any paint. SMW 61-B pursues the mission statement for NASA's US Space Shuttle Atlantis. The 61-B was the first shuttle mission in which a Mexican was part of the crew. "I'm originally from Mexico and the motorcycle bike looks like a space shuttle just starting." No wonder Cristian almost takes off in the boxer sprint and rides a furious race over 201.17 meters.  

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Great moment for "Schwarzwerk 101".

However, the podium finishes go to other riders: US racer Nate Kern ranks third in the BOS NineT (Van Harten Performance Team). And in the final, Norbert Rebholz on the R nineT Racer Carbon "Schwarzwerk 101" (BMW Motorrad Race Team) and Alessandro Giuzio on the Badass (Impossible Garage) received the honour. Norbert pulls away and ride straight into first place. Exquisite and unique R nineT conversions include Ben Saggers on the "Moksha" (Sinroja Motorcycles), Eak Tanadit on the "Iron Racer" (K-Speed), Isidoro on the "Coyote" (Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles) and Dan Riley on the "Maxx Headroom "(Gunn Design). Out on the dragstrip, heads turn for those earthy-sounding bikes. Even when Dan Riley gets the rear tyres of "Maxx Headroom" up to temperature via burn-out. He worked tirelessly for a whole year on the bike. "The motivation was to create a super hooligan flat track bike that's both street bike and track bike," says Dan about the conversion he originally designed for flat track racing in the US. He has named his conversion after the MTV character from the 80s.  

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If Iron Man was a racer.

If Iron Man was a racer.

Eak Tanadit from K-Speed, customiser from Thailand, is thrilled with the atmosphere at the Glemseck: "This is exactly the place every biker dreams to ride his own custom bike and show it to other like-minded people." He proudly presents his Iron Racer, with which he also competes in the BMW Boxer Sprint. "It's a dream to drive this machine in its country of origin – the country known for its technology and its motorcycles." Eak was inspired by 'Iron Man'. If cartoon character and film hero Tony Stark had a racer style motorcycle, his bike would probably have to look like this. "I've put my characteristic style, rough and metallic look with the distinctive silhouette into this bike to make it perfect. To be honest, this is the hardest project I've ever done. It was not easy to customise a bike that looks really good in production." He especially likes the headlamp covers – the most difficult part of the conversion for him at the same time.  

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Customiser and Visions

Authentic and tailor made.

First time in Leonberg: Customizer Karles Vives from Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles (left) and his driver Isidoro.

Authentic and tailor made.

"In my opinion, Glemseck is one of the most authentic festivals in the customising scene," says Karles Vives from Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles. Regardless of whether it's visitors, organisers or customisers – for Karles, they are all true lovers of old and custom-made bikes, "who revel with passion in all races and events during the festival". He is one of them. With his successful Coyote conversion, the Spaniard earns respect for his Scrambler in the Boxer Sprint – it is one of 15 custom bikes that brought BMW Motorrad to Leonberg. "The community praised us very much for our customising, and the resonance for the converted bikes was excellent," says Christian Pingitzer from BMW Motorrad, who in summary speaks of a very emotional and exciting weekend.  

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When a motorcycle puzzles you.

A custom bike? For Bernhard Naumann alias "Der Blechmann" his Giggerl is rather a concept car.

When a motorcycle puzzles you.

On the other hand, a rather controversial draft of an R nineT comes from Germany: Bernhard Naumann aka Blechmann presents his Giggerl at the Glemseck – however, the races do not start on the start line. Many parts have been dismantled, a completely new front has been created – a work of art made of metal and sheet. The lines are turned upside down, and the base is no longer recognisable. "A big issue for me was to drive out the 'built-in' hipster. That was hard work." His personal vision – a concept car – was born. Such a bike may confuse some visitors at the Glemseck. And that's why it fits so perfectly in the place where not only the Sultans stand out from the crowd. On to the next round!  

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One who is always 100 percent on the ball: US-Racer Nate Kern.

Photo credits: Marc Holstein and Christine Gabler.

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