The way we were: December 1963

By Richard Rosenthal, 10 December 2012. Originally appeared in The Classic MotorCycle
Dreadful conditions at rally
Dreadful conditions at rally

A Motor Cycle feature from January 10 led with 'take an isolated race circuit high in the Eifel Mountains, name a day in winter when the weather is sure to be bad, and then send a clarion call to motor-cycle enthusiasts. That was the formula for the German Elephant held at the Nurburgring last weekend'...

By Saturday night around 3000 riders and passengers on more than 1500 machines had arrived for the year’s event which was first run in 1956. Motor Cycle staffman Peter Frazer joined the crowds at 6.30pm to listen to organiser Ernst Leverkus deliver a short speech before flagging the riders away for a headlight run around the snow covered 7.747km race circuit.

While many arrived on BMW outfits of all ages supplemented by two and four cylinder Zundapps and the odd British parallel twin, others slipped slithered their way up the mountain to the Nurburgring up on tiny two-stroke lightweights. A few riders fell and were spotted straightening their mounts for the ride home with hefty boots, mallets and the odd stout branch.

Following the headlight run all converged on the huge warm restaurant under the main grandstand to thaw out, enjoy a hot meal and listen to the speeches.