With my lack of experience of the ‘Ring’ I could not attack the circuit as I would a Park or Airfield circuit. With 45 riders on the line, I had reasonable starts in both races and by pulling a high top gear, was able to get some useful tows during the early laps on the long straights which made up a little for my lack of aggression in the bends. With 18th and 20th place finishes in the 350 and 500cc races respectively, I was more than happy with my days work as we left the ‘Ring’ and set out for St Wendel, with the extra start money also in our pocket.
The 350 race was won by Heiner Butz (Norton) followed in by Karl Hoppe (AJS) and Gyula Marsovszky (Norton). Gyula Marsovszky (G50 Matchless) won the 500 race ahead of Jack Ahearn and Vernon Cottle – both on Manx Nortons.
On reflection I came to understand why many of the ‘Continental Circus’ riders would not ride the ‘Ring’ unless they were under a Works contract to do so. Those that did ride usually only did it once as the ‘Ring’ had a reputation for taking a heavy toll on engines, gearboxes and other components, sometimes difficult and always expensive to replace. Most of the foreign riders would in any case only get one opportunity to ride the ‘Ring’ each year, this was not nearly enough for them to be able to demonstrate their usual riding abilities or to do the ‘Ring’ justice. The circuit was no longer used for International motorcycle racing after 1966.
I recently read an article describing the experience of a Yamaha R1 owner who visited the circuit and wisely hired a Ring Master to lead him around for 3 laps of the track. At the end of the session the Ring Master asked him what he thought of the experience, the reply was simply “awesome”. I cannot but agree with him and have no regrets for racing on ‘the mighty Ring.’ I wish, however, I had been able to hire a Ring Master in 1964!