After an absence of several years, the small miracles of technical beauty will return in this year's program of the Bikers' Classics at Spa-Francorchamps.
From July 3-5, a wonderful selection of 50cc, 80ccs and 125cc can be heard screaming around the scenic Ardennes circuit. Among those returning to the track will be the Dutch 50cc World Champions Jan de Vries and Henk van Kessel and Italy's Eugenio Lazzarini.
Over 60 'small' two-strokes will without a doubt make for an impressive parade in that first July weekend, with the riders urging their small thoroughbreds on one more time. In the history of the Belgian Grand Prix, five Dutchmen managed to win a race at Spa-Francorchamps; four of them will be present at the Bikers' Classics again. In the 50cc class Van Veen Kreidler won numerous grands prix and World Championships, and Jan de Vries (1971 and 1973) and Henk van Kessel (1974) wrote Dutch racing history. De Vries was also victorious in his championship years at Spa-Francorchamps, whereas Van Kessel won a much talked about 50cc race in 1979. Aalt Toersen claimed the win in the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix and, just like his compatriots, Toersen will ride a Van Veen Kreidler at the Bikers' Classics. Jos Schurgers is the last of the Dutch Grand Prix winning foursome to ride at Spa-Francorchamps. He rode his unique Bridgestone 125 to glory in 1973. Both Schurgers and the immaculately restored Bridgestone will be at the Bikers' Classics.
Eugenio Lazzarini is the man with the most world titles to his credit in the 50-125 Parade. The tiny Italian won two 50cc World Championships and also clinched the 125 title on an MBA. However, Lazzarini will not bring his championship winning MBA 125 to Spa-Francorchamps but his stunning Piovaticci, sporting a technically very interesting monocoque chassis.
The 2015 Bikers' Classics is not just about big names, but maybe even more so about iconic machines, definitely worthwhile looking for in the Spa-Francorchamps paddock. From Kreidler to Casal, from Benelli to Itom, from Suzuki to Honda – all these brands will be represented at the Bikers' Classics. It will come as no surprise that Kreidlers – in all sorts of shapes and forms – will outnumber the competition, but Theo Timmer and his beautiful Bultaco deserve your attention, as do Dik Toersen and his Dutch Jamathi, collector Paul Rutten and his exclusive Suzuki RM64 and Jaap de Groot's Garelli.
And so far we've only mentioned the 50cc bikes! In the 125 category, Lazzarini's Piovaticci and Schurgers's Bridgestone will have to share the stage with eight East German MZ-REs, a number of Maicos, MBAs and Marcus Lodge's Cobas, a bike built by the late great Spanish constructor Antonio Cobas.
The smaller capacity bikes are clearly waiting to make an overwhelming comeback at the Bikers' Classics this year. Make way for the 'little ones'!
Photos: Frank Bischoff & Jan Heese