Soulfuel on the dragstrip.
It’s all about the boxer: customisers like Kengo Kimura, Hayden Roberts or Jens vom Brauck have designed their own creative interpretations on modern boxer motorcycles and send them into the race. Burning soulfuel out on the dragstrip.
Flat track specialist versus motocross rider. Two people who love to get their bikes dirty take up their positions on the start line of the dragstrip: Joy Lewis and Kengo Kimura. This will be their first sprint race. With gleaming polished bikes on clean asphalt. When Laura raises the start flag, they tear away down the dragstrip. Seconds later, the race is over and Joy punches the air with a triumphant grin. Kengo congratulates her.
Like a sports car from the seventies
"I am glad that she didn’t lay down or crash into a hay bale", Joy's husband Hayden Roberts jokes, caressing his scrambler. It's the customiser's first boxer build. He normally modifies old bikes and had to get used to the electronics of the modern four-stroke engine. "I gradually became more familiar with it and realised how simply everything works. Every detail is well thought through and the parts are intertwined with one another".
The customiser got his inspiration from the style of a BMW sports car from the seventies. Both the golden colour as well as the chequered seat are an homage to the era. "The boss made a lot of the decisions", Hayden says looking at his wife. Joy was behind the pure white exhaust system. The black and white stripes of her nail varnish are echoed on her classic helmet and in the scrambler's headlight housing. When it comes to style, the soulfuel couple are not to be deceived; they fully embody the vintage look like no one else.
Scrambler in the Heiwa style
Just like Hayden, it is Kengo Kimura's boxer premiere too. Because in actual fact his speciality is Japanese vintage motorcycles. Kengo-san has been a customiser for 26 years. His custom shop Heiwa Motorcycle is among the best in the world. The Heiwa style also becomes apparent on his R nineT Scrambler modification: the hairline, the small tank, the aesthetics right down to the smallest detail. "It was just completely new for me – not just BMW and boxer", he recounts.
"Customers normally have something specific in mind. But BMW simply said: do whatever you want with it." First of all, Kengo-san took an extensive test ride on the R nineT Scrambler in order to find out what its distinguishing feature was. It should be a Heiwa bike without having to give up the performance of the original. "In Japan, we always place the focus on the design. But this is also about performance and therefore quite new for me."
Espresso and currywurst
Performance is a particularly focus for one person: Nate Kern. The US racer is a speed junkie through and through and does not gift anyone even a metre – regardless of whether he's up against world champion Kevin Schwantz or flat-track racer Joy Lewis. Nevertheless, the R nineT fan never forgets to have fun out on the dragstrip. "You're that much faster when you're having fun", he says. Then he lines up on the start line, bares his teeth, revs the engine and extends his left hand behind him like a fin. "Better aerodynamics", he later explains.
Nate captivates the audience. No one gets as much applause as he does from the moment he starts his warm-up lap. And no one gets as many pats on the shoulder as Nate. He is the whole package: fast, funny and highly motivated. What motivates him? "Currywurst. It's a great motivator. I love currywurst. I always say to myself: if you win, you can have a currywurst. And it works!" Any other secret tip for becoming as fast as he is? "I drink an espresso beforehand."
The first R nine T Scrambler build
Sound check. The rumbling of the boxer engine. Jens vom Brauck concentrates his gaze on the 200 metres ahead of him. He knows the 1/8 mile – he has raced down it countless times before. He is one of the many important customisers who are presenting their latest showpieces at the Glemseck 101, finding new inspiration but above all taking part in the sprint. The boxer is new territory for Jens. He was the first to modify the R nineT Scrambler and nevertheless did not shy away from adding his own personal signature – primarily with a stylish, functional design.
The greatest challenge was the tank which is now significantly slimmer and six centimetres shorter than the original. Everything about the JvB interpretation of the scrambler appears reduced and minimalistic. "I always try to leave out a lot. Performance and visuals then go hand in hand. I don't build anything that cannot be ridden later." He proves the rideability out on the dragstrip. "When the flag is lifted, all you want to do is put your foot down and have fun", he says. The air is on fire. Soulfuel is on.