A tribute to a lost friend rules Mount Jaizkibel…
For more than a decade now, the annual Wheels and Waves Festival in Biarritz, France has offered one of the most thrilling and fulfilling moto-centric experiences on the planet, where countless friendships and memories are forged and strengthened each and every year. Although based in the gorgeous seaside town of Biarritz, daily events are held across the countryside, from the mountainous Basque country of Northern Spain to the woody Pyrénées-Atlantiques region of southwestern France.
A sample of our favorite events include the following:
- Deus Swank Rally: “It’s swank, but it’s a rally: the beauty of old motorcycles and a muddy track, the refinement of the knobbed specials, and the ignorance of the inappropriate.”
- El Rollo Flat Track: “On the burning track transformed into arena, the riders kick up the earth in a fury of noise and dust… Associated with the DTRA European Championship calendar.”
- Punk’s Peak: “Founded in 2013 and homologated by the FIM…400-metre duels in which bikers from the four corners of the planet will be pitched against each other on the legendary Mount Jaizkibel. An opportunity to see these amazing bikes prepared over many months in their workshops. A real adrenaline shot!”
Punk’s Peak is our personal favorite, a series of 400-meter sprint races along a winding sinew of asphalt high on Mount Jaizkibel in the Basque Country, the westernmost mountain of the Pyrenees.
“At the top of the Jaizkibel mountain, the fog has gone, a ribbon of asphalt lacerates the landscape. The air is electric, the excitement starts to rise. The shot is fired, the mechanical duels can begin…”
The event brings together something of the misty rugged roads of the Isle of Man, the drag-strip duels of the American Heartland, and the camaraderie of racers who spent months building and tuning their machines in unheated garages and sheds across Europe.
Today, we’re thrilled to feature the 2023 winner of the Punk’s Peak Pre-75 class, Marcos Granda Cañibano (@_m4rco5) of Animal Motor Company, aka Tito, riding a modified 1974 BMW R90S. As many of you know, the 900cc / 67-bhp R90S was the flagship of the Slash 6 series and one of the most special Airheads ever produced; in fact, a pair of R90S race bikes placed first and second in the first AMA Superbike race at Daytona International Speedway in 1976. However, this R90S is particularly special, as Tito rebuilt the bike in honor of his friend Jorge:
“The construction was for a totally personal reason. This bike belonged to a deceased friend and it was the best tribute I could give him.”
Tito built the bike to maintain the essence and style of his friend, aiming for simplicity, harmony, and a “rough touch.” The bike is now running Motogadget electronics, wider tires, a custom subframe and two-up saddle, rearsets, and a new, modified engine.
Tito says Mount Jaizkibel was wrapped in a heavy fog when they arrived to race, and there were times when it was hard to see while racing down the wet road. Despite a rough start, Tito and “La 107” began to make their way through the heat races, propelled by the rebuilt boxer engine…and possibly more:
“In the first round we started badly, very badly, but we were able to recover and get ahead. From then on, all the qualifying rounds were spectacular, as if someone pushed us.”
In the finals, everything came together and Tito took the win by a wide margin, securing a Punk’s Peak victory that will go down as one of the most meaningful in the history of the race. Tito is proud of the win and the painstaking work he did on the engine, but this R90S is more a work of love than pride:
“The most important thing is that every screw on this bike is a tribute to my friend, Jorge.”
We like to think that Jorge was there in spirit on Mount Jaizkibel, celebrating with his friends. Below, Tito gives us more details on the build, and we share more photos courtesy of Angel Callebungato, Alberto Montero, La Mandarina Mecanica, and Secret Ride Society.
BMW R90S: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I have been linked to the motor world all my life thanks to my father. Ten years ago I modified my first motorcycle, a BMW K100, and since then I have not stopped. But what I like most about motorcycles is racing.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
BMW R90S, 1974.
• Why was this bike built?
On this occasion the construction was for a totally personal reason. This bike belonged to a deceased friend and it was the best tribute I could give him.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
It was clear to me that I had to maintain the essence of my friend Jorge. I was looking for simplicity and harmony linked to a rough touch.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Custom subframe, motogadget electronics, installation of wider tires, two-seater saddle, different footpegs, new engine, new handlebars, new exhaust pipes, etc.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it was like racing at Punk’s Peak?
It was a unique experience. The weather was even more epic than usual. There was fog, a wet road when we arrived…but there was something that told us that it had to be our day.
In the first round we started badly, very badly, but we were able to recover and get ahead. From then on, all the qualifying rounds were spectacular, as if someone pushed us.
There were times when you couldn’t see anything, but you had to just go, and the final was getting closer. In the final everything was perfect. We started very well, we got ahead, and reached the finish line with a comfortable lead.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The motor. It has been a painstaking job. But the most important thing is that every screw on this bike is a tribute to my friend Jorge.
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