On the 29 of June 2020 we had visited the very sympathetic couple Willy and Lore Bauer near Swäbisch Hall in Germany.
Willy Bauer is a former International Motocrossrider and experienced his absolute peak with the Motocross in 1973. In this year he reached second place in the final standings for the World Championship Motocross and lost this titanic battle with only two points difference compared to the super talent, the Belgian Roger De Coster .

Bauer was born in 1947 near Stuttgart airport, his father owned a garage business.
Bauer was inspired by a visit to the local Motocross in Waldenburg and started his junior career in 1964, his talent was soon discovered.
In 1965 Bauer was already enlisted in the team of the former European champion 250cc Motocross, the German Fritz Betzelbacher. Betzelbacher himself built a number of special bicycle frames and initially used a Maico 250cc as a power source. The Betzelbacher Team got problems with the manufacturer Maico and switched to the Spanish brand Montesa.
Bauer drove for this Team again in 1966 and 1967 with a Montesa power source and than became champion of Germany.
In 1968 Bauer was incorporated into the German company Neckermann, which was an importer of the Czech brand CZ and the East German brand MZ for the Enduro sport. Bauer was offered the material for free, but had to take care of everything himself.
In 1969 Bauer was incorporated into the German brand Maico and that year drove both the 250cc and 500cc class nationally and occasionally drove the 500cc Grand Prix of Beuern and Wohlen and achieved his first World Championship points.
Also in 1970 Bauer was directly employed by the German brand Maico and already drove several Grand Prix 500cc, in the final position he reached 14th place that year.
In 1971 Bauer was an official factory driver for Maico and drove the complete Grand Prix program. His direct teammates were Swede Ake Jonsson and his countryman Adolf Weil. That year, Bauer finished in a creditable eighth place in the final ranking.
Also in 1972, the composition of the Maico factory team was the same with the top driver Ake Jonsson, Adolf Weil and Willy Bauer. That year, Bauer finished in ninth place in the 500cc World Championship final standings with only a few points difference from Adolf Weil.
1973 was the absolute top year for Willy Bauer. Ake Jonsson had left the team and was replaced by Dutchman Gerrit Wolsink, who had left the Husqvarna brand.
Adolf Weil took a step back and was used by Maico for the world championship in the 250cc class. Instead, the German Werner Schütz entered the 500cc class.
Bauer was therefore the leader in the Maico team in advance, had a sensational season and went head to head with the Belgian icon Roger De Coster. Bauer won no less than three Grand Prix in Holice, Carlsbad and Namur, but also suffered many setbacks. He lost the Grand Prix victory in his own home Grand Prix in Bielstein. After a victory in the first moto, a victory in the second moto seemed obvious. With a lead of more than 20 seconds on his rival Roger De Coster, fate struck at the end of the race. During the doubling of the Dutchman Peter Willems, who drove in a beautiful ninth place, Bauer got a stone full in one of his eyes and was blind for a moment. Driving was no longer possible and a horde of Germans went to Willems after the race to get a story, but Willems did not know what had happened.
The climax of the World Championship 500cc Motocross took place in Sint Anthonis in Brabant. The difference before the start of the race was only two points and it remained that way. Bauer failed both heats with an unwilling engine. The first moto flew out the foot gasket, giving the engine false air, lagging and staying high in rpm. The engine block was completely replaced between the two heats, but the carburettor turned out to be too greasy, so driving was hardly possible. Bauer was unable to live up to his chances for the coveted title due to an unwilling engine. De Coster was crowned world champion in the 500cc class for the third time in a row in Sint Anthonis.
In 1974 Gerrit Wolsink switched to the Japanese brand Suzuki and Adolf Weil returned to the 500cc class. The rivalry was great between the two teammates Weil and Bauer. That year, Bauer finished in sixth place in the World Championship final standings. During one of the last International races in Hechtel, Belgium, Bauer discovered that his teammate Weil had more exclusive factory equipment. That was the reason for Bauer to turn his back on the German brand and came into contact with Suzuki through Roger De Coster and Gerrit Wolsink. Bauer had been racing in the 500cc class for seven years, but Suzuki clearly chose the 250cc with Bauer and Joël Robert. In the 500cc class, the trumps De Coster and Wolsink had already been used for Suzuki. Bauer had a difficult season in 1975, had knee problems in May due to a broken meniscus and had to close the rest of the season without training with the bike. Despite this setback, Bauer grossed second in the final standings for the world championship behind the World Champion Harry Everts, but due to the deduction of the worst results, the Swede Hakan Andersson also passed him in the final score and Bauer finished in a very deserving third place. His team-mate Robert finished only ninth that year.
The contract with Suzuki was not renewed in 1976, Bauer absolutely wanted to return to the 500cc class and signed a contract with the Austrian KTM. The 250cc KTMs were very competitive engines, in contrast to the 500cc KTMs, which were very aggressive due to the engine characteristics. The highlight of Bauer in 1976 was the overall third place of the German Team during the MXoN in Sint Anthonis in Brabant behind winner Belgium and the Netherlands in second. Bauer was part of the Team together with Adolf Weil, Herbert Schmitz and Rolf Dieffenbach. It is striking that Bauer is currently the only driver of this Team still alive.
In the years that followed, Bauer proudly took part in the World Championship, but the performance unfortunately declined.

Willy Bauer can be considered one of the very best talented German Motocrossers from the sixties and seventies and was the first (West) German driver, who came very close to a World Title in the 500cc class, the king class, in 1973.

Marcel Hermans & Barbara Jonkman

Willy Bauer (left) and Marcel Hermans (right)

  Willy Bauer, always in a good mood

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