What a blast: The Vespa Cross Race MATSCHO KARATSCHO on the SIP Scootershop premises was again a complete success! In the days before the race, SIP employees Jesco, Max, Andrea, Steffi and many other helpers were busy with the preparations. Embankments had to be created, soil brought in and excavators worked day and night. Straw bales arrived, fences were missed and found again, flags had to be ordered and the paddock prepared. Thanks to the great work of the whole SIP team, everything was also ready in time for the start.
Finally, on Friday 29th of July, the riders started to arrive one by one. They came from all corners of the republic as well as from Austria, Italy and Switzerland. After checking in, the in-house gastro Siperia offered pizza and beer and the riders could get an impression of each other while having a casual conversation. The mood was good and the anticipation continued to rise.
Mud and dirt as far as the eye can see
The night before, the weather began to deteriorate and it started to rain in torrents. On Saturday morning, the slopes were exactly what the name of the event promised: endless mud. The first brave riders ran a few laps before having to rinse the dirt from every crack of the scooter. Nevertheless, qualifying went smoothly and finally race director Jesco was able to wave the black and white checkered flag at the first start.
And then there was no stopping! In the moped category, the Swiss Marc Breu was alone at the top, no one could hold a candle to him and his Puch. The Swiss also managed the best time of the day: 51.215 seconds. However, there was also special applause for Finn Brendle, who unflinchingly and persistently ran a few laps in an untuned Ciao at the back of the field. That was pure sportsmanship.
Unsurprisingly, Mark Breu, who dominated both races, took the win. He was followed by Swiss Mofakult teammate Christian Fäh and Sebastian Krüger. Marc Breu about his races: “I started here with my moped. The frame from Puch, the engine from Sachs – that’s technology that lasts. The track was really good, just made for my moped. Short straights, just right for a gear. We race the championship in Switzerland and various individual races. At our company, we have four cross mopeds that we use depending on the regulations.“
An up and down of emotions
It was particularly interesting in the races of class 3, where everything was allowed to be driven that is or was once a scooter. Here Stefan Göllner was able to cause a stir, who put in an excellent performance in the mud with his Vespa GTS “off the shelf”. Closely followed by Wolfgang Altmann and the Landsberg local hero Max Heigl. Clear victory for Göllner in the first round, but the GTS did not really cooperate in the second race, in the jumps it simply switched off.
Stefan took it reasonably calmly: “But it’s still a super awesome event, I give it a mark of one. The course is also perfect, it doesn’t get any better than this. I’m a bit pissed off with the sh** box, but apart from that everything is great. I took the GTS in payment on Thursday, then buddies got me some quick 12 inch cross tires. So registered here, booked a hotel and Friday we were off. I didn’t do anything to the bike itself. I’m happy to be back next year.“
Heigl and Altmann used this circumstance to their advantage and raced to 1st and 2nd place, although Göllner (57.289) and Heigl (58.698) also managed lap times under one minute. Max Heigl, however, also had to contend with problems: “The track was great, but I got stuck on full throttle on the second lap. So I did everything with the brake only. And of course the clutch is now gone and that was the last race for this Vespa, which is going into the hardware container as it is. On the track you have to drive nicely in the tracks and avoid the big stones. A cool event and I will be back next year.“
Respect also to the youngest participant of the MATSCHO KARATSCHO. 14-year-old Korbinian Ortlieb received special permission from his father and was able to gain his first racing experience: “It was mega fun, even though I probably came in last. I don’t know that for sure. At the end, the track was pretty dry and then it went. Only the water hole was difficult because you couldn’t see the ruts. If someone goes out in front of you and you get in the lane, you also go out in the lane. Normally, I only drive in the meadow at grandpa’s house once in a while, so today was the first time I drove in such terrain.“
SIP racer André Jüterbock, on the other hand, had a long face: the custom scooter from Butcher’s Garage in St. Petersburg broke down – it’s just not so good to ride without brakes. Failure after two laps in the first race, participation in the second round unfortunately impossible. Too bad, but ok! The day’s victory was finally secured by Max Heigl on a Vespa Cosa ahead of Wolfgang Altmann and Paul Prötz.
Italy shows a strong performance
While the sky darkened more and more and clouds gathered, the riders of class 2 “Smallframe” went to the start. Fortunately, the thunderstorm passed the event, but now the semi-professionals from the Italian team Vezzola Racing thundered over the track: Davide Monizza, Federico Esposto and Roberto Laude showed that they have motorsport in their blood. In the middle of them Dennis Franceschini, Valentino Randazzo and a certain Elvis Jüterbock, scion of the famous Jüterbock racing dynasty. In his first cross race he did more than well with his Egig engine. After a fluffed start, he finished 6th in the first heat and even 5th in the second heat.
“I am very proud of the boy“, says his father André, visibly moved. Elvis himself reports: “The Vespa, which we assembled live on the Internet, ran incredibly well. And above all, it was incredibly fast, which I hadn’t expected at all. The track was still very muddy during qualifying, so I calmly drove two laps. But that way I was able to adjust to the conditions. Unfortunately, I missed the start by ten seconds and was late on the track. But behind the four strong Italians I was right in front. The Italian in 4th place was as fast as I was and we were fighting so much that I was so tired after the fifth lap that I was almost just riding alongside the track.“
Elvis continues: “Unfortunately I only finished sixth. In the second race, things went better and I was able to defend fifth place. I actually took it easier, while next to me some people crashed who wanted to go too fast. I’m pretty happy with my performance because the track is also insanely demanding. It’s a mega event that’s awesome fun. I didn’t think it would be this much fun.“
The three winners all clocked times under one minute. Finishes and day winners were identical: Federico Esposto (55.039) ahead of Roberto Laude (57.455) and Dennis Franceschini (58.832). Prominent names like Arnold Kastenhuber, Thomas Haas, Paul Sinnhuber, Christian Ortlieb and Max Renner had to join the field.
Champion Federico Esposto was happy: “The track is very nice, with a lot of mud. I was really, really happy that we could start here. We had a lot of fun. And also the people are just nice and friendly. In Italy, I also ride Vespa-Cross and won two national championships in 2019 and 2021. Apart from that, I also ride motocross normally. And because it was so awesome this year, I’ll definitely be back next year.“
The clouds kept the rain with them, so the darkness was only an empty threat and when the “Largeframe” class 4 went to the starting line, the track was halfway dry – apart from the hated water ditch. Joe Dierkes could decide both runs on his Vespa Cosa relatively sovereign for himself, he drove each time with far lead over the finish line. There was also a fixed ranking in the places behind: Michael Beger, Alex Konrad, Dirk Becker and Hubert Leitgeb. Accordingly, Dierkes, Beger and Konrad ended up on the podium for the day’s victory.
While most of the riders were already exhausted from the day, many of them still got up for the endurance race. Teams of two to four riders race around the circle for an hour. Riders alternate at will, but everyone on the team rides the same scooter. The race did coincide with rain, which made the track a real challenge. The Francescini/Haas/Martintoni/Jüterbock team (the older one) started like the proverbial fire department and eventually crashed into the mud with a lap time of 1:01.701.
This was their undoing, however, as the fuel hose left the carburetor and had to be repaired for a bit longer. The Candioli/Köhl team took advantage of this and led for a while. But now the Italian team of Vezzola, who had started the race cautiously, really turned up the heat and showed their experience. The rain subsided and the track conditions improved, so they stepped on the gas, caught up unstoppably, snatched their triumph from Candioli/Köhl in the final meters and saw the chequered flag with a nine-second lead after 60 minutes and 49 laps.
In this race, Franziska Böhnlein was not only the only rider on the track to reach the finish line with her team, but Timo from the Blechgefährten also fought his way to fourth place as a team with Valentino Randazzo. Unfortunately, his own Vespa had given up the ghost or the ignition early on in the individual races.
For race director Jesco it was a great day: “For me, Saturday was a complete success. We had a lot of participants and spectators, and we were very lucky with the weather, because the rain didn’t come until around 4 pm. And there were exciting and gripping races to watch. The highlight was that the Endurance Race was decided only in the last minute. That was really exciting. But the best moment was when I asked the paramedics what they had to do that day: ‘Nothing at all.’ Yes, there were a few crashes and a bruised rib, but nobody got hurt even in the pile-up in Class 2. The participants were all happy and the feedback about the race course was positive throughout. And the applause for the SIP team at the awards ceremony was a real reward for their great work. I’m very happy with the whole day.“
There were only winners
To top it off, the exhausted and happy riders moved slowly but surely to the well-deserved award ceremony. Of course, congratulations go not only to the winners on the podiums, but to all participants who didn’t let mud, pile-ups, swimming laps in the ditch, technical problems and other adversities stop them. Special thanks also to all the helpers, course marshals, moderators, timekeepers, camera people and photographers. Also the people at the grill and pizza oven, in the beverage cart and at the DJ booth. All together they made the MATSCHO KARATSCHO 2023 a real experience and amazed as well as thrilled 1,500 spectators.
SIP Scootershop CEO and inventor of the race Ralf Jodl took stock: “What a weather luck that it dried up after the training and the sun shone almost the whole day, while only a few kilometers away thunderstorm after thunderstorm passed by. I was impressed by the sporting spirit of the participants: everyone helped everyone else, tools and spare parts were exchanged, in the Endurance race the teams were completely mixed up. A great day for riders and spectators alike. We are looking forward to Matscho Karatscho #3 in 2024!“
For a great picture gallery from the event, check out the post “Matscho Karatscho 2023 at SIP Scootershop“.
For a report from last year, it’s worth checking out “Matscho Karatscho #1“.