Wednesday, February 18, 2009
It seems we have found our Madame X, and her name is Anke-Eve. Six feet tall, slim, and striking, she felt comfortable with cameras and eyes focussed on her, as she proved her abilities on two wheels.
Our first image of her is astride BMW R67/3 in 1954. This model can be distinguished by the plunger rear suspension, tiny taillamp, and fishtail exhaust pipes. The 'Schorsch Meier' dualseat is an unusual item for a plunger-frame BMW - original equipment was a rubber Denfield saddle. It appears she competed in Endurance and Speed competition, but was barred, as a woman, from competing at a higher level of Club or GP racing.
This did not dissuade her from seeking fast motorcycles and race tracks; in many photographs she is hurtling down the tarmac, and mixing with other motorcyclists at Hockenheim and Nurburgring - such as here examining a Norton Manx at Nurburgring.
Her 'pass' at the tracks, beyond her riding ability, was a facility with writing a good story for the press, and she regularly sent racing and riding reports to Moto Revue in France, as well as publications in Spain, Sweden, Germany, the US, and Japan. Here at Hockenheim, she waits for track time with a pair of Jawa two-strokes and a Zundapp outfit - her suitcase strapped to the parcel rack of her R69.
She worked at a U.S. Air Force base, teaching German to the children of soldiers stationed there. She also spoke other languages, and her command of English was good enough to write two articles for Cycle World magazine in 1962. 'An Invitation to a Lap Around the Nurburgring' was published in the June issue of 1962, and a report on women racers in the Soviet Union (!) was printed in October of that year [and yes, I will definitely post it]. In this photo, noted motorcycle author Erwin Tragatsch, author of the definitive 'Illustrated History of Motorcycles', stands with a group visiting Anke-Eve with her late-model R69S, now with a British 'Peel' fairing (distinguishable by the clear panel in the nose - the headlamp is not mounted to the actual fairing, but is retained in the standard position. The clear section is elongated for a full sweep of light).
And don't you wish your Elementary School teacher rode a motorcycle like Anke-Eve! She cut quite a figure in those drab days of the late 1950s, and had a bit of an exhibitionist streak.
By 1956, she had a new BMW R69, which was the fastest Bavarian flat-twin roadster, topping 100mph with aplomb. And she repaid the bike's excellent qualities with loyalty and by becoming an extremely visible spokesperson for the marque, always wearing her pudding basin helmet with a large 'BMW' sticker at the front. These photos show Anka-Eve at the Nurburgring race track, usually alone! Perhaps the male riders were afraid to ride with her...
In 1958, in concert with 9 other women riders, including Ellen Pfeiffer, she helped found W.I.M.A. (Women's International Motorcycling Association) in Europe. W.I.M.A. U.S.A. was founded in 1950 by Louise Scherbyn, and the idea spread quickly to Britain and Europe. Ellen Pfeiffer is now considered the 'Urmütter' of the organization in Europe.
I don't think Ms. Goldmann was ever sponsored or employed by the BMW factory, but she was clearly given priority when purchasing one of the first half-dozen BMW R69S models in 1960; her new machine has the ultra-rare rearview mirror mounted above the cylinder head. The R69S had 42hp, was capable of 110mph, and made a superb and reliable sports-touring machine.
And tour she did; attending the Elephant Rally mid-winter for many years on her BMW, and riding throughout the year, regardless of the season or road conditions. These photos of Anke-Eve riding in ice and snow give an idea of her determination, and the care with which she designed her own riding gear.
It seems she worked with German leather riding gear manufacturer 'Harro' in creating her own personalized attire. In winter months, she can be seen wearing a large buckled body belt, too large to be merely a 'kidney belt', which must have been an aid to keeping warm in very cold weather.
Her riding suit for winter is significantly bulkier and larger than the svelte summer catsuit, and can clearly accomodate woolens underneath - leggings, sweaters, the lot - the suit approaches Bibendum proportions on her coldest rides.
Her summer one-piece riding suit had the distinctive feature of a diagonal zipper from the neck, crossing over to the side of the body, which may have aided the 'fit' of the leathers, especially on a woman's torso. Her leathers certainly fit well...
Harro went on to manufacture 'her' design for public consumption.
And then, she gave up her beloved BMWs. Perhaps she was bored by the R75/5 model which supplanted the R69S in 1969, or felt that it's performance lagged behind what 'the competition' was offering, especially as Japanese and Italian machines had much faster and better-handling machines at the time. Whatever the reason, Ms. Goldmann moved right on up to M.V. Agusta's 750cc DOHC 4-cylinder hotrods, perhaps the first and only woman to do so - she was a sensation.
While M.V. had been producing 4-cylinder racers since the 1950s, the 750S, introduced in 1969, was their first sporting 4, and what the public had been clamoring for. But, the public couldn't afford the M.V.! It was always an expensive and exclusive motorcycle, revered by collectors today, and out of reach for all but the lucky few in 1969.
Anke-Eve seems totally at home with her Italian rocket, and she kept this bike for several years, upgrading over time with items such as cast magnesium Campagnolo wheels, triple disc Brembo brakes, and a set of aftermarket 'Arturo Magni' 4-in-1 exhaust pipes - all items which were added to the newest M.V. models.
This machine was the total antithesis of her old BMWs! Loud, fast, and a bit fragile, it certainly wasn't the best Touring machine, especially with the clip-on handlebars and rearsets she favored. Her riding position really tells the tale; Anke-Eve had evolved into a full-blown Cafe Racer, and given the noise (however glorious) emanating from those Magni pipes, a bit of a hooligan!
After the death of her closest friend in a riding accident, Anke-Eve Goldmann seems to have given up motorcycles altogether, and began to travel with a backpack to remote Asian locations. Traveling alone, she trekked through Burma, the Sunda Islands, Vietnam, and Cambodia, not many years after the conflicts there had ended.
If you have further information about this remarkable woman, please contact me!