motorcycle touring holiday Germany Europe classic Ducati Bimota Superbike experience
Arriving at the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit, located in the picturesque Ardennes countryside close to Liège in Belgium.
Each year the Bikers' Classics has a main theme alongside the 'standard' programme of historic Grand Prix racers, historic Superbikes and the 4 hour European Classic Series Endurance race.
One of the main themes for 2015 was 50cc, 80cc and 125cc Grand Prix bikes.
Here a rare Honda RC115 50cc twin on display in the theme marquee.
I had the pleasure to see one of these engines dismantled once during my time working for Honda R&D and was fascinated by the thimble sized pistons and valves which are no bigger than drawing pins (thumb tacks) in an engine that revs to 22,000 rpm.
Most bikes get used on the circuit too, Piet Boon getting ready for a track session on his Kreidler 50.
Wolfgang Müller coming back in with the Maico 125.
One of the several NSU Sportmaxs warming up before a track session.
Another Sportmax in the pits with its' exhausted rider.
Finds such as this Suzuki RG500 for sale in the pits are not unusual at Spa.
The Suzuki XR40 of Dirk Vos de Mooj, which was originally raced by Franco Uncini, being attended to in the paddock area
Alf Mossell coming out of the pit lane with his 1972 Suzuki TR750.
A great chance to photograph the riders up close before they get up to full speed.
Gorgeous Ducati NCR in full flight on the start/finish straight.
Luca Bettini with one of the 7 original 1974 Ducati Imola 750 racers.
A very special and rare bike which Luca only enjoys more by using it at events such as the Spa Bikers' Classics.
More preparation going on in the paddock for these two lovely Ducatis, an F1 and a TT.
A beautifully restored and prepared Ducati 250 enjoying the cool of the shade before the next session.
No classic bike event would be complete without an 'iconic' MV Agusta 750 sport.
The Belgium Ducati Classic Club is a regular exhibitor in the village area of the circuit and always attracts a superb line up of classic Ducatis from amongst their members.
This year the club organised their 'Hailwood challenge' to gather together as many of these favourites bikes together as possible.
Altogether 10 bikes were to be seen on the stand.
Here are eight of them from most model years.
I naturally brought THE CRANKCASE. Hailwood replica to Spa to help support the Ducati Classic Club with their challenge.
Here enjoying an ice cold drink with one more Hailwood owner from Spain; Allen Croall, hopefully there will be one more bike to add to the line up next year after Allens' meticulous restoration is completed.
The Laverda owners club also put on a fantastic display of historical models in the village area including this exceptional V6 replica.
Plenty more Laverdas in the pits which were all being used during the track sessions. 750SFCs, 750SFs modified for track use, some triples and the occassional 500cc twin such as the Formula 500 in the foreground.
This Laverda triple from the Van Dijk Laverda Racing team was also entered for the 4 hour endurance race coming up on Saturday evening, finishing in 14th place
Beautiful MV Agusta 500cc triple about to be taken out for a track session by its' owner.
Brigitte was delighted to find this replica of one of her favourite bikes, a Bimota HB1 built by Walter Schwerz to a very high standard.
Walo Bertschingers' stunning 1950 Vincent Black Lightning was spectacular to see.
A special exhibit by the long time racing team of Dholda Honda showing many of their most successful bikes over the years.
The Moto Guzzi Le mans III of the 'Moto Mental Racing 2' team and Ducati 900SS of the 'ACR Nr.2 Endurance' team in the pits during preparations and training for the 4 hour race on Saturday.
All the pit and paddock areas at Spa are open to visitors except when a race is in progress, allowing great opportunities to see some very special bikes close up and even chat to the team members and riders if they are not too busy.
Historic 'endurance' bikes waiting their turn on the circuit, including several Godier Genoud Kawasakis.
The 'Bragh Corse' team Ducati TT being prepared in the pits was only one of several ambitious Ducati racing teams at this years' event.
The Moto Martin Suzuki of 'Team Jam Racing' achieved 21st place in the 4 hour race.
The Suzuki GSX1100 Katanas of 'RST-Harz e.V.' racing team meticulously prepared in the pits.
The F1 Suzuki of the 'Sweatshop Phase One' team which was riden by Stéphane Mertens and Ian Simpson in the race.
'Team Vulcanet's Suzuki GS1000.
Suzuki GSX1100 of 'Team Monex Europe' leaving the pits for Friday evening night practice.
The Friday evening night training sessions are a great opportunity to get close up to the teams working hard in the pitlane as everything has to tested and tuned to perfection for the following days' race.
24 hours later, the riders and bikes are finally on their positions for the Le mans style start with a sprint across the track to the waiting bikes, hoping to get away without any obstruction from the other riders . .
The main grandstand opposite the pits is the best place to be to see the start and really feel the atmosphere from the supporters.
The bikes start to space out after a few laps, here going through the chicane just before the pit straight.
Endurance races can be won or lost in the pits too, so it's a great chance to see pitstops and driver changes looking down from the pit lane roof.
9th place finisher 'Team Scert' Suzuki XR69 riden by Steve Boam and Steve Clark.
Getting close to the end of the race at midnight with a great view of eau rouge during the night stage.
'Neate Racing' came in 39th place with their Harris Magnum Suzuki riden by Steven Neate, Jonathan Lodge and John Neate.
On Sunday we took things a little easier with a strole around the paddock to meet up with a few more arrivals such as this Ducati 750SS green frame replica and have a chat with its' owner, before we finally set off back to Frankfurt to relax a little before Mondays' ride down to Sinsheim.