The Guy with a never-ending Supply of Ideas.
In the spirit of writing about my parents so they don’t have to, I’ll continue with my dad, Jens. If you missed my post about my mom, Birgit, be sure to read it here.
To put things into perspective, I’ll have to start at the beginning like most stories. My dad started his first shop when he was 14 repairing friends’ mopeds in his free time. On the day he turned 18, he took his driver’s license, jumped on his bike and rode together with his friend to see this friend’s family. In Sicily. One way trip from Karlsruhe/Germany to Sicily/Italy is about 2000km (1250miles). Oh and he forgot to tell his mom – the wild 80’s, am I right?!
Jens bought his first Bike, a badly (ab-) used, 750 four K2 Honda when he was 15 years old and directly converted it with an 823cc Yoshimura “Bigbore” Kit to a project bike. After he had seen 1982 Freddy Spencer on the Honda 900 Bol’dor superbike in a video wheeling down the corkscrew in Laguna Seca, he needed to get a high aluminium handlebar, a thick Marzocchi fork and then he hit the road as one of the first European riders in the total new American superbike style. In 1983, the logic next step was a used SC01 Bol’dor of the first series, which got the full package including Marchesini wheels and a complete engine tuning, turning the bike into a real superbike style road racer, also ok for some drag racing, first time 1984 in Mantorp, Sweden.
One day, he found this huge black dog on the streets and decided to keep him. Dino would come to be his partner in crime for many years. My dad even bought a MZ with a sidecar so the dog could come along, but at every traffic stop he had to make sure that Dino didn’t jump out to follow a lovely dog lady! Jens even took his dog on one of his trips through the Sahara desert where he worked in Mali for a while. But imagine his horror when Dino got bitten by a venomous snake! The poor dog was paralysed and my dad drove and drove until he found a man in an oasis who was supposed to know what to do. When he arrived there, the man pointed at a covered pool of ice cold water and told him to throw the dog in. “But he would surely drown!”, well continuing like that he wouldn’t have lasted long either. So my dad took Dino and threw him in the ice cold water. The dog sank like a stone. No movement. Nothing. Just when my dad was about to jump in and rescue Dino, two huge paws and a big black head struggled through the water surface. The shock of the cold water and the panic of drowning had somehow reset Dino and he was fine again. I guess old men in oases know a thing or two.
If you have read the story about my mom, you might remember the whole deal my parents had about not riding until I was 10, him starting off the Buell hysteria by buying the Buell RSS 1200 and her buying my dad his Buell M2. Oh and of course the Ural sidecar. Mom hated riding with a sidecar, so dad always had to shuttle me and the dog around. There was only one catch – the dog would lean in the right direction, but I would overthink everything and lean in the opposite direction. Much to my dad’s frustration and one day my parents just told me “Lean like the dog – she’s doing it right!”. Oh well! I much preferred riding on the back anyway, so I wasn’t really sad to see it go. When I was a kid, I couldn’t reach around my dad, so of course he had to wear a belt on his jacket, so I could hold onto that. Parenting done right, if you ask me!
Now back to Buell! The German Buell Community has held the Buell MSM (Mid Summer Meeting) every year since 2000 (except 2020, for Corona reasons). So in 2001, when I was a whooping 10 years old, my dad and I went on a trip. We had never been on a several day long trip just the 2 of us, but mom and Tanne preferred a weekend off. The 2nd ever MSM was held at Günthers Kurve in Kükenbruch/Ostwestfalen-Lippe and was for sure not the kind of event the regular 10 year old would attend. But I had a blast! There were bikes everywhere, I made friends with both kids and adults and I even got to sleep in a tent. It did rain into the tent at one point, but that’s part of the fun, right?
From then on, my parents pretty much took me to every race, exhibition or event they were attending. When Jens rebuilt our second race bus, he installed a seat between the two normal seats, so I could see out and be part of the conversation – it was a black Recaro seat, I still remember that today! He even installed a roof window just above my seat so we could better ventilate and see the stars. One late night when we were driving to a race in Schleizer Dreieck/Germany, we were going down the Autobahn for hours in the rain. Finally, we came to our turn to get off the Autobahn and onto the curvy road that would be the last kilometres to the racetrack. I was doing what I do best – sleeping – when suddenly WHOOOSH what felt like 2 litres of ice cold water gushed down on me from the brand-new roof window! I may not have been paralysed like Dino, but man I was never more awake in my life! Fortunately, mom had an umbrella handy for the rest of the trip…
Whenever any of our vehicles would need fixing, he’d let me help and he taught me every tool’s name. “Righty tighty, lefty loosey” never was an issue. I still today appreciate that I was never treated with the oh so common “she’s a girl, she can’t do that” attitude. I learned wrenching, basic carpentry, hunting and so much more from my dad. He actually bought me my first guitar from Conrad Electronics, just for fun, but I stuck with it. I had made a deal with him that if I had good grades, he’d pay half of my new stereo. We spend hours picking the different components from the Conrad Electronics paper catalogue and I ended up with the coolest Raveland speakers any 14 year old could’ve wished for. They’re black and blue carpeted with a metal grid over the base and a blue LED-light that blinks with the base.
My dad has always been my biggest fan and supporting me with whatever idea I was currently pursuing. But the biggest wisdom my father ever laid on me was probably “Kid, if you haven’t grown up until you’re 30, you don’t have to at all” and he certainly hasn’t and neither have I. nor are we planning to. Mom likes to joke that she’s a single mom with 2 kids and 2 dogs. Looking at this picture, I have absolutely no idea what she means…
My dad is that kind of guy who can never shut off his brain – constantly having ideas about anything, really. Bike-related stuff in heaps, but it can be anything from “Look I saw this cool garden furniture” over “The next building connecting the workshop and the showroom has to have a tower!” all the way to “We have to build a VW Beetle with a Volvo Duett roof”! So off he goes, makes one of his indecipherable ballpoint pen drawings and I decode it into an actual technical drawing. I can tell you that it never ever gets boring, but we might have a slight issue with project management – and that’s why my mom is the mothership who keeps everything together.
Back to business! Apart from racing Tubeframers successfully during the Hillbilly-Motors times (Boy Racer and Thor’s Hammer), Jens was the brain behind the Pegasusraceteam and built racebikes like the Buell 1125 Experimental (later Crazy Cab) and the 1190 Typhon. That’s not even mentioning all the custombikes you can read about here.
In 2006, Steve Anderson invited Jens to Daytona joining the Buell factory race team at the launch of the Buell XBRR with Jeremy McWilliams. In 2010 / 2011 we celebrated 3 championships with the EBR 1190RR and rider Harald Kitsch at the Pegasus Raceteam. Erik was even invited to participate at the last event that year to celebrate the championship and I can tell you, they were both like kids on Christmas!
If you haven’t already, you should totally check out out Youtube channel where Jens and I talk about everything Buell and EBR related like the WSBK or Splitlath Racing bikes, tutorials, products, tips and tricks!