Not only is BMW Motorrad celebrating 90 years of success in 2013, but the world-famous Ace Cafe is also marking its 75th anniversary this year. With these two landmark achievements it only seems fitting that the people behind the successful Ace Cafe concept come and join the BMW Motorrad Days party in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a shared celebration of the motorcycling lifestyle. A special ride-out is planned and you’re all invited to participate…
London’s Ace Cafe originally opened in 1938 as a transport café. In the years that followed though, it became a legendary meeting point for motorcyclists, keen to show off the looks and performance of their machines, listen to rock n’ roll and – much like today – just talk bikes. Dressed in black leather and generally ostracised from society, these ‘ton-up boys’ got their name and reputation from their daring, high-speed street races on the fastest motorcycles of the era.
London’s North Circular Road was their unofficial racetrack, with many a reputation won and lost on this dangerous stretch of highway. Pushed to the fringes of society, this ‘rocker’ sub-culture nevertheless survived through the decades, despite the demise of the British motorcycle industry, the closure of the cafe in 1969 and the mass shift towards car ownership.
Twenty-five years after its closure, an Ace Cafe Reunion attracted 12,000 enthusiasts, starting off a chain of events and annual gatherings, known as ‘Ace Days’ that saw the grand reopening of the café on its original site in September 2001. These days, the café is packed with all kinds of motorcycles, from vintage classics to customs, superbikes, streetfighters and everything in-between. Events are numerous and encompass the entire motorcycling spectrum as well as many automobile owners’ clubs and societies. What remains strong is the rich heritage, the passion for design and engineering, and the sounds, smells, styles and spirit associated with a love of two wheels.
Managing director of Ace Cafe London is Mark Wilsmore, whose passion for the motorcycling lifestyle was instrumental in his desire to reopen the cafe some 20 years ago. Having breathed new life into this historic landmark ever since, he wants to make sure that the 75th anniversary celebrations include a chance for international fans to share in the legendary concept, which is why he plans to bring a little ‘corner’ of the Ace to Garmisch-Partenkirchen over the weekend of 5 to 7 July.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting motorcyclists from all over the world at BMW Motorrad Days,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, motorcyclists are the same passionate bunch of people wherever they come from. The emotions are no different – they are just expressed in diverse ways. I’m proud to take part in this special ride-out organised by my German colleague Hans-Peter Rütten and will be riding a BMW HP4 across to Garmisch, where we’ll be welcomed into the main arena and will also have an Ace Cafe display in the exhibition area.”
Looking after the German branch of the Ace Cafe London is Hans-Peter Rütten, who has planned a fantastic ride-out and is welcoming motorcyclists on all kinds of machines to rendezvous at the well-known biker meeting point of Glemseck, near Stuttgart, on 5 July.
“There’s a lot of interest in the Ace Cafe lifestyle among German riders and the Cafe Racer scene is also very strong,” he said. “But as far as we’re concerned, we want to welcome all motorcyclists on all kinds of machines to enjoy a fantastic ride-out to one of the biggest motorcycle meetings in the world. We’ve planned a route that takes in a wide variety of roads, from unrestricted autobahns to scenic Alpine passes, with fixed meeting points and rest stops for more riders to join us along the way. We’re reaching out to other riders to help us make this a memorable run to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, so the more the merrier and it will be a real privilege to ride into the event arena en masse and share the excitement of BMW Motorrad Days with thousands of like-minded riders from across the globe.”