Monday, April 29, 2013

Today in motorcycle history, April 29, 1922




   Helmut "Mr. Rudge" Krackowizer is born in Frankenmarkt, Upper Austria, Austria.  A former motorcycle racer and motor journalist with a world-renowned reputation for vintage motorcycles.


   In autumn 1946, Helmut entered his first race, (the first post war race in Salzburg-Nonntal, Austria), in a constant downpour riding his Rudge 250cc he finished third.  Soaking wet and covered in mud, he was hooked.

   His next race was on July 6, 1947 in front of nearly 20,000 spectators, in the first motorcycle race on the motorway near Salzburg, Helmut Krackowizer won the junior 250cc class on a Rudge beating the New Imperial ridden by fellow Salzburgian Fritz Walcher.  Krackowizer was also in the Senior Race, but three laps into the lead he had transmission troubles and had to retire the Rudge. This was the beginning of his motorcycle racing career that would last until 1955.


   His journalism profession started in 1952, after he had graduated from the University of Economics at Vienna with a “Doctor of The Economics”.  At the factory Eternit at V√∂cklabruck, Upper Austria, in the town where he lived, he worked in advertising and at this time he began writing motorcycle articles.  In 1955 he moved to Salzburg, to work for Porsche (who wouldn't?), where he started as PR and advertising manager.

  In the 1960's Helmut worked in similar fields for Mercedes Benz and British Leyland.  His last job until his retirement in 1987 had been with Chrysler (Europe).

   During all of this time he continued to write articles on motorcycle races for numerous magazines and also returned to making detailed pencil drawings of famous racing motorcycles.  His drawings were first published in 1965 and greeted with great success, so much so that they were included in two of his published books on motorcycles, "MOTOR CYCLE SPORT" and "THE HISTORY OF FAMOUS MAKES OF MOTORCYCLES".  Even during the last months of his life he continued to draw and write for magazines about the history of races and motorcycles, in both German and English.


   He became an expert on nearly every type of motorcycle, knowing every history of them, every race track, every racer of former and modern times.  His friends were the Who's Who of the motorcycle racing world,  Sammy Miller, John Surtees, Walter Zeller, Luigi Taveri, Hans Haldemann, Schorsch Meier and many others.

  One of his dreams was realized when he rode in the “Oldtimer Grand Prix” on the Salzburgring.

  He was a member of the Rudge Club in England, a land he loved, matter-of-fact, Helmut's registration number on his car was “S-Rudge 1”.

  Prof. Dr. Dkfm. Helmut "Mr. Rudge" Krackowizer died on October 22, 2001.