Helmut Krackowizer and his first Rudge racing motorcycle

How many motorcycles of the mark "Rudge" father had owned in his life I cannot tell you. He bought, sold, bartered. He was paired for life with the motorcycle mark "Rudge". And in this arcticle I will tell you how this "love" started in 1943.

From Bremen to Vöcklabruck: a Rudge had been travelling

Helmut Krackowizer with his Rudge 250 cm³ on the Isle of Fehmarn during Second World War

My father had been already infected from childhood with the “motor cycle-virus”, although his active motorcycle-racer career started not before the end of the Second World War. During that war he had been as a fighter controller of the air signal corps in a night interception troop. Thus he came 1943 on the Island Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea and his function allowed him also much time at leisure. At that time 21 years young, he dreamed to become a famous racer after the war. In  1938/39 he often rode on his 500 cm³ Norton "International" on the road between Lambach and Wels (Upper Austria) with approximately 130 km/h / 80 mph. Hardly any motor cycle rode at that time faster than his Norton. Until that day on which he had to look into the exhaust pipes of a 500 cm³ Rudge “Ulster”: Despite of 150 km/h / 93 mph according to his speedometer, he remained second. But nevertheless he remained a confirmed Norton driver!

Already during his training for the army, in Germany, he thought about the time after the war. His Norton "Inter" did not seem to him sufficient “up to date” any more. Well, it had to be found something more competitive! Therefore he began to trudge round all at that time well-known motor cycle racing riders and tried to talk them into giving him one of their “fast iron”: Otto Daiker, Fritz Jerger, Paul Schaible, Erwin Aldinger and and and. Without any success. first Rudge 250 TT Replica of Helmut Krackowizer

One day, on the Island Fehmarn, he read in an old issue of the magazine "Motorrad" of 1939: “rare opportunity, 250 cm³ Rudge racing motor cycle, two valve, keeping the 5-hours world record at Brooklands, in March 1939 imported from the factory, guaranteed over 150 km/h / 93 mph... Meier, Bremen...”. My father was full of enthusiasm for this motor cycle and wrote immediately this Mr. Meier. Yes, said the answers he received, the motorcycle was not yet sold! Well, my father travelled on his next free weekend to Bremen and the discussion about the purchase soon got going. The exact price of purchase my father could not remember any more, but I found a notice, written by him: 2.100 German Reichsmark, and further he remarked: ...1.1.1948 Austrian Schilling 30.000.--, 1.7.1948 - Austrian Schilling 15.000.-- .

On his next visit at Bremen he took the Rudge with him on the Island Fehmarn to his troop unit, where he had been expected with a bright “Hello” by the likewise “crazy-about-motor cycles” officer responsible for motor cycles in that unit of the army... Soon after that Helmut Krackowizer: a last try-out near by Breslau before the Rudge was packed and sent to his home visit, the unit had been transferred to Breslau (today Poland). From there my father sent the Rudge, after a last “try out”, cleanly packed in crates as freight to his hometown Vöcklabruck, Upper Austria. Then, during one homeland vacation my father removed the camshaft, the levers running over it and valve pestles, packed these parts of the engine and brought them to a forest warden, 30 km away from his home, at  a lake – only one youth friend of him had known, where the parts had been stored. After an adventurous end of the war for him in Norway finally he returned via Bremerhaven and Passau to Vöcklabruck.

By bicycle he rode to that forest warden to fetch the stored parts, and soon “…banged the ‘little’ motor cycle around, so that we had to put our hands over our ears …” (original quotation of my father). In order to have now a really competitive motor cycle however he needed  still another new rear suspension system. Such one, as my father had known from the time before the Second World war, had been produced by Josef “Peppi” Illichmann from Vienna. But how should he get such a suspension? Then he heard about that Illichmann had moved his company during the war to Altmünster at the lake Traunsee. That is not Helmut Krackowizer Rudge far from Vöcklabruck. And after a few further little problems “she” finally was ready for competitions: with an Illichmann rear suspension, with racing tyres and ready for the first race! And on 6thOctober 1946 my father rode with it on the third position at the first road race at Salzburg Nonntal. Then, in 1949 he sold this Rudge to a German. Unfortunately he had been cheated of a part of the selling price. Well, this had been in those days!

He never saw it again or heard anything about his Rudge 250 cc two valve Brooklands - it remained disappeared until today! However he succeeded to attain one other TT Replica during lifetimes, which is still today in the possession of our family.