Once a racer, always a racer.
Karl Maier hasn't raced for 20 years. Then, the four-time speedway world champion showed up at the Wheels and Waves flat track race. With his own R nineT Scrambler, which he converted himself, he quickly makes it clear to the competition: he has forgotten nothing.
With his colourful eighties racing suit covered with sponsoring logos and the Bavarian helmet hood, all eyes are on Karl Maier. When he then unpacks the brand-new R nineT Scrambler in the driver's paddock, a crowd of people gather round the prominent figurehead of the speedway scene. "I feel like the John Travolta of Wheels and Waves. Crazy how they all know me", Karl says and smiles proudly to the group.
Gaudi with the Scrambler
Number 48, as always.
A seasoned Bavarian stands out among members of the scene
Amongst the competitors were the renowned greats of the British DTRA series, a flat track scene that only draws a few followers in Germany, hardly has any riders, and offers very few training opportunities. In Europe, flat track riders are not particularly welcome on professional tracks, as the more popular Speedway track racing usually dominates.
The origins and heart of flat track racing are in the USA, where it became a popular and affordable racing sport in the late fifties. The general motorcycle revival of the past few years has led to largely unregulated amateur races getting a bit of a makeover as well. El Rollo was the natural next step in establishing a flat race track in continental Europe near the Wheels & Waves event.
His former motto "I came, I saw, I conquered" might not quite hold true; nevertheless, Karl Maier rides together with the leaders all the way until the final race, where he ultimately came in fifth. Will he return next year? "Of course," he said sprightly before adding, "I just have to ride around in circles a little faster than I did today, and I'll win here, too."