Race report from Leftie, founder of Sudo Cycles and builder of the killer Co-Built Rotax featured in Sideburn 42.
Like everyone I had high hopes for lots of riding and racing in 2020, but when what finally would have been our first DTRA race of the year (mid-September!) in Wales was cancelled, the long drive to east Germany for KrowdRace now looked very tempting.
With a handful of yolo, two days before the event the decision was made to go. DTRA minibike rider Lei North was seemingly just as eager to go which gave me the motivation and financial burden shared enough to make it slightly less crazy of an idea to go. Channel crossing booked and uncharacteristic foresight to get European breakdown cover was done which proved to be one of smartest things I've done this year.
Mid-journey a series of events that led me to accidentally put 80L of unleaded into my diesel van, 2km further down the motorway was almost the end this adventure. With a few Instagram story meltdowns later and the major faux pas spotted google translating petrol station receipt, calls were made, recovery and rescue was in motion... Three hours and an almost written off engine. £700 later we were back on the road.
800miles London to the track at Parchim, we arrived around 11pm to find out that all who came to event/camp had to leave premises due to visit from local police enforcing the town authority's Corona rules. Happy to comply to avoid stress or risk to the actual event we followed instruction. With familia DTRA face of Joe Banks and kid boy wonder Jay Young now there too the game of seek another location to sleep didn’t seem as ominous.
Unfortunately the DTRA boss gods Anthony and Anna had to turn back to the UK for a family emergency, so the three groups of UK riders that had come tried to take on a semblance of Team DTRA representatives while there at the weekend.
With a relaxed whole of Saturday of open practice we had lots of time to get to know this behemoth sized track compared to the short tracks we usually ride in the DTRA series and time to change and fettle with bikes as we saw fit to make gearing and suspension adjustments to suit.
Captain Keen, as usual, I was ready and one of the first people to go out on the freshly groomed track. Mere seconds into the first lap I was up into fourth gear and at speeds I’d never been on at any track thus far. By the time I had made it to halfway round the first lap of this track I’d already decided it was the best flat track experience I had ever had and proceeded to be a hooked junkie going back for more and more all day!
Sunday, race day, 10am racing started and great to see riders from all around Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, UK and Italy in attendance. Riding classes for all levels and bikes from flat track newbies, rookies, amateur and pro, Thunder, supergirls class and vintage, with so many riders and bikes that had to be split into 3 classes with in that!
Track was great and organisation even better which lent it self to fast riding and great spirits at the track and pits. A very European two-hour lunch break gave a nice breathing time between the action.
Supergirls class had two amazing Austrian riders, Yasmin Poppenreiter placed 2nd in pro and Michelle Ekeoneisl 2nd in amateurs. They were insanely fast and unfortunately they tangled up last laps Q3/4 , event staff called the results from moments before red flag, Yasmin 1st, Michelle 2nd, earning Sideburn 35 cover girl Steph Bolam (who was on my Rotax due to her Bultaco's mysterious loss of compression) a solid third with Lei North in hot pursuit in 4th which was also on a borrowed bike and her first time on a 450cc, so again great result.
Minibikes class was held in the inner speedway circuit. Our British hopeful Joe Banks was strong in heats tho maybe a wheelie too many on his pushbike while en route in Holland may have cost him a podium this time, but never perturbed by results he’s probably already loaded for next weekend's fun on bikes.
Newbies, rookie and amateur class’s had a level riding from riders that didn’t resemble the class name and very exciting breed of riders and riding.
Vintage classes, I wasn’t able to recall who won what, but very respectable set of machines in all the classes with some very fast and tasty Harleys. I recall a very fast Flathead at the front in several heats!
Thunder bike class was dominated by the checkers or wreckers Sami Panseri who also podium’d in amateur class. Sebastien Clement aboard a modern CCM in 2nd and Maximilian Funk well earned 3rd. In practice / heats looked like I may have had a good chance at third but a bad start (couldn’t decide if 1st or 2nd was better) and only having four-lap final same as heats was just shy of catching the boys at the front again.
Hooligan class had maybe the most exciting battles of the weekend, with Krowdrace co organiser Martin Berlino as well as Jonathan Falkman (above) both on the Indian FTR1200 proving very powerful machines on the straights. Gary “hide your wife” Birtwistle racing on his Ducati had a comfortable lead in the heard, though as the day went on, it got down to bike lengths with Jay Young (below) riding the Stockwell Racing Harley Sportster making an amazing flat track race debut and jostling with known top spot threat Falkman to take the second place with Jonathan in 3rd.
Pro class was a master class in style and high speed roost corner action. First place went to 58 Maikel Dijkstra, he was untouchable, yet was balls to the walls and running the best highline all day giving the crowd a little bit of track to go home with in their hair and nostrils. 93 Yasmin Poppenreiter taking second but third place maybe my favourite rider of the day was taken by 13 Hannes Köhn riding a Wood Rotax in a field of modern DTX and with what can be only described as the most exciting yet terrifying Rusty Rodgers feet up, head and body hanging down the side while the back end dancing around like a kid needing a piss.
In conclusion, Krowdrace events are the best even against all pandemic odds. Half-mile tracks are why the wheel was invented, and truck stop car parks are cold in vans but nice to see stars in clear skies. Oh yeahm and don’t put unleaded in a diesel...
Big thank you to Martin and Hermann for putting on Krowdrace, they are doing great things for FlatTrack for Germany and Europe! Thank you to Anthony and Anna despite not making it managed to help all the DTRA riders that went with our paper work bits.
And everyone that rode and went, deffo been missing those good vibes this year. Leftie.