From Leonberg with Love, Drag Races, and Rock…
The Glemseck 101 is the largest motorcycle event in all of Europe. This year, more than 40,000 visitors rode, drove, and flew to the former “Solitude” racetrack (Solituderennen) in southern Germany for the first weekend of September. Though Stuttgart is nearby, Leonberg is the true home of the event:
“One small, but for us very important fact about the Glemseck 101: Our event is supported since the beginning by the City of Leonberg. The location Glemseck is part of Leonberg. The roaring 101 lion shown in our logo is a homage to this alliance in speed roaring engines and represent the lion in the coat of arms of the city.”
Named after the nearby Castle Solitude, the Solitude circuit of public roads has been hosting race events since 1903. Legends such as Mike Hailwood, John Surtees, Geoff Duke, Phil Read, and Ernst Degner all claimed victory on the Solituderennen.
Glemseck 101 is open to all bikes, riders, and styles, and there’s always a strong contingent of café racers, streetfighters, and custom bikes of all kinds. Unlike some events, Glemseck remains free to attend, and camping is available for bikes and tents — no cars!
By far, the best-known part of the Glemseck 101 is the legendary 1/8-mile sprint racing, where sprint / drag bikes compete side by side on a stretch of the old racetrack. Race Control is handled by Team 101, with races like Rocket Race Club and Starr Wars invited to attend, each with their own technical rules.
The bikes are simply wild, combining custom culture flair and old-school ingenuity into new and interesting creations reminiscent of Star Wars pod racers. We look forward to bringing you more sprint bikes in the coming days and weeks.
This year, our man on the ground at Glemseck was Slovakian builder Roman Juriš, who rode his custom Suzuki SV650 more than 1000 kilometers from his home country to attend the 2023 running of the event, riding through the Austrian mountains and across part of Germany.
Below, Roman gives us his report from the event, along with nearly 100 photos of interesting bikes and scenes from the weekend. Glemseck is most definitely on our bucket list to attend in future years. Thanks again to Roman for a taste of the action. Enjoy!
Event Report: Glemseck 101 2023
As told by Roman Juriš…
The year flew by, and I found myself pitching my tent on the meadow at Glemseck in the early evening of Friday, September 1st, in almost the same place as last year. From my house to Glemseck is about 1000 km — that is, two days of riding on a motorcycle if I want to omit the highway. It is about 550 km through interesting mountainous terrain in Austria with many turns, and the rest is a boring section through flat Germany. I left the Super Duke at home and aired out my favorite “eSVéčko” (Suzuki SV650).
Actually, the whole weekend (that is, during my stay — I left for home on Sunday morning) went like a copy compared to previous years. Traditionally nice weather (how do that Germans do it?), great organization, interesting sprint races, and an unbelievable number of people.
This photo also shows the main parking for motorbikes (there was also a smaller one), which kept filling up all the time.
The wait for beer was from 10 seconds to 3 minutes (at peak time), for food (mainly sausages or grilled pork in a bun) from 30 seconds to a maximum of 5 minutes (those Germans do things really well…). The streets were patrolled all day long by easy-going policemen who had no chance to solve some problems, and paramedics who gave a sense of security, especially during the higher daytime temperatures.
Rock and roll with live music until 3:00 AM in the morning, then traditional snoring from the surrounding tents (I can sleep through rock and roll but not snoring), and finally traditional motorcycle antics around the campsite (even with that I was able to fall asleep).
The engines at maximum revs, exhausts roaring, loud laughter and screams. Engine revs and loud speeches. If this didn’t happen at night, it wouldn’t be the good old Glemseck anymore. It just belongs here.
Some newbies are confused by it and don’t sleep in the night. A small mistake: some young dudes on the edge of the event countered the good old (shabby) rock and roll with disgusting duc-duc semi-techno. They shouldn’t do it…
So much intro. Now to the point. I walked over 15 km on Saturday. Some interesting bikes and various exotics kept appearing. Or I returned to some creations more than once because they were really worth it. Or because it was possible to exchange a few words with the builders or event visitors. Or just look and watch the atmosphere as others watch, stare, wonder, smile, squirm. The relaxed atmosphere is contagious. You won’t find a frowny face here.
In Slovakia, there is no such tradition of customizing and bike-building like in Germany, but it’s also a favorite activity of motorcycle enthusiasts in France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. As the Czech brothers say: “Who plays does not get angry.” Well, the Café Racer community must be really good kids. Although also quite grown up, in old age.
More in the photo gallery. I tried to sort it chronologically. From the atmosphere, through racing machines, motorcycles according to the number of cylinders and marks up to exotics. The 16th year of this great event was worth it.