Report on the 2008 German Diesel Motorcycle Rally, Hamm.

We started out a few hours late for Hamm because of maintenance at the ferry port and arrived on the continent at about 2.30 local time. we didn't think we'd make our normal campsite at Mons and so pitched up at Peronne. Come the next day we jumped onto the motorway just before Mons and rode for about nine hours to reach Hamm early Thursday evening. Dave Ede and Larry were there to welcome us along with some of the regulars such as Adi, Helmut and Ruggerini Rob.

We set up our tents towards the road and under a couple of Celtic Brit flags that the landlord Willy hand erected for his Scottish tossing the log event. Then it was time to go down to the pub to say our hello's. Generous as ever we were given some leftover pork and told to eat up. Unusually for a Thursday night there were far more rally-goers than normal.

Day one of the Rally and the Diesel Bikes are rolling in fast.

Parked just down the way from us was the Gustav, a bike we had not seen before. Built by Soenke Techau and named after his Grandfather's who had taught him engineering, this bike used a 10hp D.I. 418cc Yanmar clone engine. Painted with a matt grey/black mix it was fitted with a small torque converter (Comet 40/44) and has a top speed of 90Km. The bike was running on bio-diesel and consumed 2.8 litres per 100Km. I was also shown the documentation on which I could see that the exhaust silencer was licensed only to this bike on account of it also being self-made. Remarkably, the alternator was self wound with twice the original amount of windings. The bike was built around a Kawasaki GPZ900R and has an electric start. I had the pleasure of riding this bike and found that to ride without a clutch was a new and I have to say liberating experience for me. When my own bike, the Ruggerfield, was stuck in mile after mile of motorway traffic heading for Hamm, I wished I could have had the luxury of no clutch! The whole project took Soenke 9 months to complete.

The Gustav, built by Soenke Techau.

A shot from the left side of the Gustav.

Another new bike to Hamm was Michael Breoker's (Broker's) Daihatsu Turbo BMW K100. A superbly turned out machine which sported a set of front forks from an EMW I am told. Gearbox used is BMW but the mating section was self-made from aluminum. The distance between the wheel centres is exactly the same as it was on the original bike.

Michael Broker's Daihatsu Turbo, The Broker 1.

A close-up shot of the engine.

Dave (Sluggy) and Mark (Punsen Harley) rolled in Friday afternoon having got soaked to the skin on the way. Their ride out was not without incident when Mark suffered a cracked injector pipe. Luckily some guys in a truck garage helped them out after finding an old fridge powered by a Kubota lump. It is now languishing minus one pipe! Unfortunately he wasn't so lucky on the way home and suffered when his engine developed a crack. Everyone else who arrived later that day also got very wet.

All the way from England. Marks bike makes Hamm for the first (and last?) time.

The Yakusch makes its first appearance at the Hamm rally

Heiko Flick showed off two of his bikes (both Harleys as it happens). One was fitted with a Punsen whilst the other had a Lombardini triple nestling in its frame. Myself and others looked for the engine plate but we were unable to find it to get the details. Both bikes were very well turned out and I'm told the Punsen was for sale.

The Lombardini Harley Davidson. Couldn't see an engine plate but it was a triple I'm sure.

The Harley Davidson Diesel also from Heiko Flick.

The main topic of conversation over the rally weekend seemed to be centered on the Punsen V twin engines. One look around the gathering was enough to tell anyone that many bike builders had chosen to use this engine for their latest projects. One builder, conspicuous by his absence had apparently built five Royal Enfield machines only to have three breakdown within the first few thousand Km. Further investigations into this and other builds seemed to suggest that the only engines to break their crankshafts (for this is the problem) were the 850cc units. Everyone I spoke to reckoned that too much was being asked of these units with increased capacity and that the smaller engines with a capacity nearer 800cc had proven to be more reliable.
Others, with experience in the engine building industry, were not convinced regarding this engine and were either biding their time or had chosen to go another path. Some even thought the origins of this unit may have been (gasp!) a petrol engine and that this was the cause of problems relating to it. Some bikes on show looked as if their engines had been welded up and one bike never quite made it home after its engine cracked in the same place. A warning for all I think.

It was good to see the Diesel Wiesel crew exhibiting their bikes again this year and this time they had something of a treat for us all. Along with their normal models, based around the Suzuki Marauder, they showed a neat chopper bike complete with a V twin Punsen engine.

The latest bike from the Diesel Wiesel stable.

Another new Dnepr based Diesel bike made an appearance at the show.

Various scenes from this years rally.

A shot I took before the rideout. We were out for 45 minutes.

As usual the beer flowed and a good laugh was had by all who attended the year.

The weather finally caught up with the rally Friday evening when the rain started to roll in along with many drenched riders. That night it rained continuously and only really stopped the following morning. It got a good deal colder from then on unlike Thursday evening when we were able to sit outside until gone midnight in our T shirts.

We had heavy rain through Thursday night and into Friday morning. Weather was fine after that.

Wooden seats on an Enfield!

Again we see the very well turned out Modite. Always a pleasure to see this machine.

If the weather had been better we might have seen this man's balloon!

The French Diesel superbike makes another showing at this years rally.

The Ruggerfield proved to be quite popular with onlookers.

There was no shortage of drama come Saturday when Dave Ede discovered a crack in the frame of his Ernie Dorsett Fuji Robin bike. On closer inspection we found that the head steady had also cracked and Sander reckoned that this was the root of the problem. We acquired an arc welder from the landlord Willy and Soenke volunteered to fix the bike. After the power had been sorted out he set to cleaning and then welding the main fracture at the front of the frame in the main courtyard while a little distance away everyone else tucked into their 'worst' sausage and drank their beer. Fortunately Dave had bought his bike in his van so didn't have to ride it all the way back to England. But he did plan to stay on for a week or so and use the bike whilst exploring various corners of the continent.

For information purposes. If you have a Fuji-Robin Bike keep an eye on the head steady & frame.

The cracked frame is cleaned prior to welding.

Soenke repairs the bike for Dave using Willy's Arc welder.

My ride, the Ruggerfield, at rest after a long ride out from England.

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