MZ (MuZ) and Motor Racing
Street motor racing has been closely connected with the manufacturing of motorcycles in Zschopau ever since. Even before the start of the production of the "Reichsfahrtmodell” (lit. a model created for the Reich Rally), Rasmussen's drivers won laurels on the AVUS course (automobile traffic and training road) in Berlin when they gained places 1 to 3 in this popular competition.
After World War II, some diligent people took up their interest in motor racing again, even though there has been no possibility for a serial production until 1950. One of the first three motorcycles, which were produced under huge effort, was turned into a racing machine immediately.
A similar situation took place when the MuZ company was founded on 1st July 1992. In December 1992, two new motorcycle models "Skorpion Sport" and "Skorpion Tour" were presented on a motorcycle exhibition in Birmingham. Already 10 months later, without a sight of a serial production, the "Skorpion Tour" took part in a competition in Donington Park in Britain.
Business executive Petr-Karel Korous handed a - by a designer modified - motorcycle "Skorpion Sport" to an English tuner. After only three weeks, the English driver Mike Edwards participated in the European Supermono Championship in Donington Park with the first racing Skorpion. It was a stunning moment to have a motorcycle produced in Zschopau taking part in a competition after so many years went by.
As a consequence, many English supporters became curious about the motorcycles made in Zschopau. England's most famous course commentator for motorcycle competitions at the time, Fred Clark, announced loudly to the audience at a race: “They are back!” Afterwards, a comprehensive list of famous names such as Walter Kaaden, Ernst Degner, Mike Hailwood and Alan Sharp was given. Finally, Mike Edwards became 7th in the European elite and the constructers of the motorcycle could be more than satisfied. The start was accomplished.
With modified vehicles, the MuZ team took part in the motor racing season in 1994 and with the help of Mike Edwards, the first victories in Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park, and Truxton were celebrated. Finally, they finished as runners-up at the end of the season.
In Germany, Hans Peter Meyer from Crailsheim succeeded in competitions in Brno and Frohburg. The beginning was made. The racing Skorpion was modified again for the season in 1995. Unfortunately, this season was to be an ill-fated one. At the beginning, the MuZ driver Hans Peter Meyer had an accident on the Nürburgring and was not able to take part in competitions for several months. To cover him, a young woman named Elli Bindrum, from Hambach in Franconia, was spontaneously asked to drive the MZ motorcycle. She finished a race in Barcelona as runners-up and at the end of the season she was able to present the high level of performance of the racing Skorpion. For the season in 1996, a new racing machine had been developed. The chief executive decided that the design specialists should have more freedom for the new construction. Thus, the new racing motorcycle was not supposed to correspond with all parts of the Skorpion Sport.
The winter in the Ore Mountains was as long and hard as usual and both pre-season tests in Spain and Italy failed more or less because of rain. When taking part in the first European Supermono Cup in Misano/ Italy in that season, the racing team did not know what to expect.
Nonetheless, Elli Bingrum achieved a respectable 7th place. In the second race, Mike Edwards left his competitors far behind and gained the first victory in the season for MuZ. Again, Elli reached the 7th place. During the 3rd run in Hockenheim, Rigo Richter from Hohenstein-Enstthal takes the pole position with his MuZ. Elli Bindrum used her knowledge of the track and sensationally started from the second position. Due to a failure of the clutch during the viewing run, Rigo Richter was not able to start in the race. Elli Bindrum, however, was obviously not intimated by her male competitors. Nobody expected her to win silver after the well-known "Superbiker" Michi Rudroff. The fifth run within the European Supermono Cup took place in Brno. Again, it was Rigo Richter from Hohenstein-Ernsttahl who took his chance superbly.
He was the fastest rider in all training runs and won the race itself masterfully, whilst Elli Bindrum reached the 4th place. The 6th run in Brands Hatch/ Britain marked the peak of the season.
Mike Edwards set new records in each lap, won the race and set a new track record for the Supermono. After the thrilling race, Elli finished as 6th. Within the 7th run in Assen, however, Rigo Richter won the gold medal and Elli was able to strengthen her good position in the overall ranking with a well-done 3rd place. At the end of the season in Albacete/ Spain, the winner of European Supermono Cup was at anybody's guess. The Japanese Minoda, the British Cathcart and Ruth and the German Elli Bindrum were supposed to be the most promising competitors. Thus, the decision was made upon clever tactics and ideas. Finally, the race was won by Rigo Richter and marked his third successive victory. Minoda became second and Elli third. For Minoda, this was enough to win the Cup in the overall ranking before Alan Cathcart end Elli Bindrum. A respectable and unexpected success for the young woman from Germany. Within eight runs, MuZ had five victories and presented the fastest motorcycle of the season.
In 1997, the European Supermono Cup took part within the Superbike World Championship. In the overall ranking, André Friedrich from Hohnstein-Ernsthal became 2nd, followed by Elli Bindrum. Alan Cathcart from England succeeded in the "Single Grand Prix" on a MuZ motorcycle in Daytona/US. From 1997 until 2002, MuZ, renamed into MZ in 1999, organized a Cup for Skorpion motorcycles within the International German Championship. The winner of the first season was Rony Wehran from Hohenstein-Ernsthal. In 1998, the Bavarian Paul Maria Listl succeeded, and in 1999 Jan Stecher took the prize. In 2000, the decision was made at arm’s length when the Danish intern with MZ, Rikko Stendevad, was able to beat Christian Nau from Fulda. In 2001 and 2002, Carsten Freudenberg from Bischofswerda gained both victories. The press release of MuZ taking part the Grand Prix with 500 cc motorcycles came as a real bombshell. Furthermore, from 1998 the World Championship runs were supposed to take place in Saxony (on the Sachsenring) - for the first time after 25 years!
Doriano Romboni, from Italy, drove to a fantastic 12th place in Suzuka/Japan and gained the first 4 points for the MuZ team in the World Championship ranking. Tragically, he got injured during the second race in Malaysia and had to remain sidelined for the rest of the season due to a broken scaphoid bone. Thus, he was replaced by the Swiss test driver Eskil Sutter who became 13t on Sachsenring and was celebrated like a winner by his fans. In Brno, he gained another two points by becoming 14th.
During the season in 1999, the Dutch Jürgen van de Goorbergh and, occasionally, Luca Cadalora were called into action. Van de Goorbergh managed to sensationally set the pole position in Barcelona and Brno on a four cylinder two-stroke engine motorcycle from MZ. However, he was not able to translate his outstanding training results into the race. Cadalora managed a very good 3rd position in the training. However, during the race he was completely over motivated and had a spectacular crash. During the season in 1999, Simon Crafar, Anthony Gober and Noriyasu Numuta were employed as drivers. Overall, 64 points were achieved, which brought MZ the 5th rank in the World Championship of the Brands. At the end of the year, the assignment to Gran Prix competitions ended.
With the introduction of the Baghira on the market, Enduro racing became important again. In 1996, Mike Heydenreich took part successfully in the Novemer Enduro race "In and around Zschopau" with a prototype of the new Baghira. In 1997, Jörg Hübler participated in the race "Around Zschopau" (German: Rund um Zschpau) with a serial produced Baghira and finished as second in his class. With a prototype of the Enduro 400, he took also part in the Offroad Challenge and in the German Cross Country Challenge. At the same time, he is promoted to the chief examiner at MZ. During the most difficult "Around Zschopau" taking place in 2002, he triumphed in the race on a MZ 400.
Günther Scheidhauer wins also on an MZ Baghira a cup in Rachau/Austria and becomes "Mountain King" (German: Bergkönig). In 2002, MZ advertised a completely new Youngster Cup within the Supermoto competition. Drivers from the age of 12 (sometimes already from the age of 10) with a J licence of the DMSB (German Motor Sports Association) are eligible to participate in the cup. Technical basis: motorcycles MZ 125 SM - cup edition.
Already in the first year, the cup is a huge success and the 13-years-old Joshua Sommer was a worthy winner. In the future, MZ will keep on with the "MZ Youngster Cup" and therefore contributes essentially to the support of talented youngsters within motor sports.
The Revival of Enduro Racing in Zschopau - A Story of Success
With the organization of the 1st World Championship of "Around Zschopau" in June 1990, just one week before the German Mark was introduced on the area of the former GDR, the idea of "Around Zschopau" died for many fans for good. Too many economic changes in the area caused this sad end. Who would be capable of taking such a high risk? However, it were three youngsters keen on motor sports from Witzschdorf, the founding members of the future "Enduro and Mountainbike Club Witzschdorf", who had a fulminant idea. After the political situation, due to the reunification, had settled, they organized an off-road race for young people with serial produced motorbikes. Initially, the motorcycle-loving youngsters went out on a limb with their spontaneous idea, not knowing what was about to happen to them.
Against all odds, prejudices and bureaucracy, they managed to establish a legal and authorized testing course for Enduro and Motocross racing during the following years.
In November 1993, the second competition of the cross country race in Witzschdorf took place. Already 50 drivers started the 20 km long course between Witzschdorf and the neighbouring village Dittmannsdorf. Thus, the organisational effort rose tremendously and there were still some structural difficulties which needed to be overcome. The young organizers had not yet the experience, but their enthusiasm carried everyone away and the drivers ignored the small imperfections. The November Enduro in 1995 became a real touchstone for all who took part and will be remembered by them for a long time. The organizers had chosen a 40 km long course including a variety of challenges.
Suddenly, the onset of winter came over night with 20 cm of snow, and the competition seemed to be in danger. However, the organizers improvised and turned the race into a "Winter Race" with a shorter course and the tournament was still a success for both, drivers and audience. The fortune obviously smiled on the organizers. In 1996, the EMC (Enduro and mountain bike club) set new standards. Overall, 180 competitors started - an absolute record. The implementation followed the rules of the highest German Motor Sports Commission. The track was extended to 60 km per lap. The cooperation of several clubs, such as for example MC Amtsberg e.V., MSC Zschopau e.V, the Offroad Club Hilmersdorf, the MCV MZ Zschopau and the AMV Chemnitz made it possible to split the tasks in hand in order to organize this rather big event. The 25.000 onlookers finally exceeded all expectations.
For the year 1997, a request for organizing the final run of the German Enduro Championship was made at the OMK (Highest Motorsport Commitee). This implemented an even higher challenge for the organizers. The official name of the event: 5th International November Enduro, Finals of the German Championship A/I Licence and Race of the Ore Mountains Cup. 250 drivers started on a 65 km long circular course which had just "the high standard of Zschopau". As the Saxonian Championship took also place within this event, a high number of regional Enduro drivers participated as well. Within the race of 1998, which was also a final run, the title of "November Enduro" was used for the last time. The "Trophy Senior Competition" was included in the event for the first time.
In order to meet the rising requirements, the motor sports club "Around Zschopau" e.V. was established within the ADAC on the 6th of June 1999. This club was a unification of the different local clubs and established as an element to organise, prepare and host motor sports events.
For the first time, the name "Rund um Zschopau" (lit. Around Zschopau) is used. With the title "International German Enduro Championship", the event is even more appreciated and, thus, even more international top performers came to Zschopau. Within the Trophy Senior Competition the former GDR Trophy team met the teams of western Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and Austria - a selection of the best teams in the world. For the first time, there is also a tournament solely for women. The final run for the German Championship takes place in Zschopau in 2000, again. The starting area was further extended. Nearly everybody of distinction within the international Enduro racing took part: Swedish, Finnish, Italian, Czech, Australian and of course German top riders. It is just important to take part in this competition in Zschopau. For the first time, transponder time recording was used in order to guarantee exact time measurement and to provide the prerequisite for a fast announcement of the results.
Cross country racing has by now been a tradition for several decades and stands perfect organization, challenging courses and an enthusiastic and fair audience. It is Enduro racing at its best and, today, this is known anywhere in the world of Enduro. At least since the year 2000, the three motorcycle lovers from Witzschdorf should be proud of themselves as it was them who started a tradition, even though nothing is left from its beginnings. Today, there is a quick and battle-tested team of organizers and hundreds of supporters who all really have their heart in. The organizers are supported furthermore by the administrative district office, the town Zschopau and most important, by the land owners. The event "Around Zschopau" has grown consistently throughout the years and thus it is not surprising that the Enduro World Championship took place in Zschopau in 2004 again.