After Axel Bodeit and I did not take part in the September 1994 rally because I became a father for the first time on 8 October 1994, we planned to take part in the 1995 January rally.
I started looking for a winter motorcycle in late summer. I thought of a BMW boxer model. I also told this my colleagues at the time. One of those colleagues explained to me that he still had a BMW R 90S in his father's yard and that he would like to sell it. The R90S in Daytona Orange had been under a tarpaulin in the yard for 10 years. A young birch grew through the frame from below. We agreed on a price and I brought her home.
The cylinders on the engine were re-honed, the cylinder heads overhauled, new piston rings, the connecting rod bearings changed, the defective original tank exchanged for a blue one, a one-man seat, a cheap windshield from Hein Gericke, heated grips, handlebar mitts and enduro tyres installed. After a few test drives on Sundays, you could say that it worked well.
Early in the morning of 6 January our trip set off for England. Axel drove ahead with his Moto Guzzi 850 T3 and set the pace. The usual route to the ferry and on towards Ettington to the pub The Houndshill.
About 50 km after the last refueling break, my BMW started to stutter on the motorway and I stopped on the hard shoulder. Axel who drove ahead noticed and stopped. After a short discussion (Axel thinks I have been driving without lights for some time) we noticed that my battery was completely empty. Lucky in bad luck, the Moto Guzzi has the same battery as the BMW. So we removed and replaced the batteries on both motorcycles. Axel's Moto Guzzi was briefly pushed with the empty battery and the journey continued. In the meantime it was already dark and I just drove the country roads after Axel with the parking light to save the battery. A great experience.
When we arrived in Ettington, we talked to Paul Mullis about my problem. He said
we'll have a look at it tomorrow morning, now a pint first.
On Saturday morning Paul removed the rotor of the alternator, which had a short circuit, with a puller, drove the short distance to his home and got me a repaired rotor. Lo and behold, the battery was recharged by the alternator. I asked him how much money he should get from me for the rotor.
No problem, he answered,
you come back to the rally in September, buy a new one and bring the rebuilt one back to me.
Despite all the problems, we had a nice weekend with lots of friendly people and good conversations.
(Well, as far as I understand...)
And of course the tankard for the longest journey from the Continent.
The BMW R90S is still in my possession today and is used as a winter motorcycle. Since 1999 with a Dnepr sidecar.
- Hans Mondorf