In memory of Ewald Kluge, the DKW works rider, Audi Tradition is, for the first time, entering the Classic TT, held on the Isle of Man from 23 – 26 August. 75 years ago, Kluge was the first German to win what is regarded as the world’s toughest motorcycle race.
The Tourist Trophy race was first held in 1907. For 30 years, British riders won the event on British bikes. Kluge’s victory in June 1938, when he was 29 years of age, made him a legend in his time, and, for the proud English teams, spelt out the end of their aura of invincibility.
1938: record times on the DKW ULD 250
3 hours, 21 minutes, 56 seconds: On his DKW ULD 250 with charge pump and rotary valve control, the Dresden-based rider established a new record for the 424-kilometre long race. His fastest lap, completed at an average speed of 125.56 km/h, completely devastated his competitors. Kluge crossed the finishing line an incredible 11 minutes ahead of runner-up Ginger Wood.
The Isle of Man was the climax of Kluge’s career
Success on the Isle of Man in 1938 was the high spot of Kluge’s magnificent racing career. In that season the DKW rider was entered for 14 races, of which he won 12 and was runner-up twice. He amassed an unrivalled collection of trophies: European champion, German champion, German hill-climb champion and the seldom granted ‘Champion of Champions’ title, awarded only to a rider finishing the season with the maximum possible number of points.
2013: complete reconstruction of a 1938 DKW SS 250
75 years after Kluge’s triumph, and as a tribute to one of the most outstanding motor sport personalities in its history, Audi Tradition is taking part in the ‘Classic TT’ for the first time. The actual winning bike has been lost without trace, and its place will therefore be taken on the parade laps, which are about 60 km long, by a DKW SS 250 dating from 1938, which has been completely reconstructed. DKW gave the name ‘Super Sport’ (‘SS’) to the bikes it offered to private entrants, and was in fact the world’s first manufacturer to sell them in this way.
At the start: Ralf Waldmann, twice world champion runner-up
This historic reconstruction will be ridden for Audi Tradition by Ralf Waldmann. Twice runner-up in the world motorcycle championship, he has achieved a rather special record of his own: with 20 Grand Prix race wins, he is the most successful entrant for the motorcycle world championship who never took the world champion’s title.
Complete reconstruction of a 1938 DKW SS 250