Burgenfahrt Rally

22-24 May 1975 organised by Motorrad Sport Club Koln.

I was invited to this event by Wolfgang Kremer, having been to another of his rallies the previous December at the same site in Forsbach east of Koln.

It was not a large event by any means, about 60 riders in all. Camping was on a field opposite of the pub on what was to become a housing development. Friday was a laid back day spent messing around highlight of the afternoon was Helmut Schenkel trying to teach one of the girls how ride a bike.

Most riders turned up early on the Saturday morning and after pitching their tents the main event started. We were all issued with a questionaire and a set of instruction - all in German. We had to go to map reference points and answer the questions about what was there like "How many windows in the church?" or "Is there a flag flying on the castle tower? yes or no"

I told Wolfgang that I did not have a detailed map of the area and could not read the questions and he said that when I thought that I had arrived at the right spot, write down what I saw and he asked another club member to lend me a map. As this chap started to sort through his maps he pulled out an old shell map and just dropped it on the table. I could see straight away that there was some age to this map and as he continued to try and find the map he was looking for I picked the map up and opened it out. It was beautiful a pre war Shell Rheinkarte covering the river Rhine from Cologne to Eltville showing the first autobhans and projected roads. I said to the owner that this map was too nice to be carrying around. He seemed indifferent to the comment and after finding the map he lent to me he just shoved it back in with all the others.

I must have spent around 4 hours touring around the area's back roads and coming to the conclusion that it would be nigh on impossible to cover the whole of the course unless you were Mike Hailwood! So I just guessed at some of the answers where they were "yes or no" and just blagged it.

Quick ride back to the bar and the evenings session. Around 9pm the results of the touring competion were announced and to this day I don't know if I won or if it was a fix but I came away with first place.

Later that evening around the camp fire Max Hermanns asked me how old I was and my reply was "24, no I'm 25 on Wednesday" to which Helmut Schenkel invited me to come and stop at his parent's home and announced that there was going to be a party, everyone welcome.

The next couple of days were spent looking around Koln and Troisdorf and then came Wednesday evening. The weather was great, hot sunshine and warm evenings. Lots of people turned up. There was food laid on and plenty of beer. I was given presents, the chap with the maps came and gave me the old map that I had admired. I refused but he was insistant. It now has pride of place, framed, on my livingroom wall. I think of the good times every time I look at it.

- Les Hobbs