Düsen-Büse - Büse the Jet!
Valli Bergamasche, 1980: Oay I of the European Enduro Championship series in Bergamo, Italy, The red Maico, number 13 I, stands forlorn, as if abandoned, in the middle of the 2nd Special Test of the day. Heino Büse, defending champion in the 750cc dass and current series leader, crashed hard, breaking his left wrist. The East German Team managers (GOR) can barely contain their joy upon learning this fact. It appears now that Manfred Jäger, currently in 2nd place and an East German, has the title sewn up. But the East Germans underestimated the resolve of "Düsen-Heino", for as long as a theoretical chance exists for him to win, he'll never give up.
When Büse began his first enduro on a fan cooled 50cc Kreidler in 1962, none of the spectators in attendance could have known that they were observing one of Germany's future best ever riders beginning his career. Recalling his first enduro, Büse states with a laugh that the event winner was already finished by the time he began his last loop!
Several years later, as a young Bundeswehr (German Army) soldier stationed in Munster, Büse met Burchard Lenz (see VMX . #41, pg 36). The Bundeswehr sponsored a team which campaigned heavy, military Maico M2S0B machines in a special team class. Soon, the highly talented Büse, along with Lenz and Rupprecht Lammers began receiving "special" test machines from the German manufacturers. These machines .were pure factory built enduro racers, the only commonality to their military machines was that they too were painted in flat NATO green.
By 1966, Büse was winning. His first great success came along with Lenz and Lammers when they won the German Club Team Championship. Büse and Lenz rode Hercules, while Lammers rode a Zuendapp. Büse, Lenz and Lammers also represented the Bundeswehr at the 1966 ISDT in Karlskoga, Sweden. At the ISDT the trio competed on factory machines provided them by Hercules and Zuendapp. Their previous experience as a team led them to winning best Club Team at the 1966 ISDT. In an ironie twist, the three uniformed German soldiers received their Club Team Trophy at the awards ceremony from a Russian Admiral: During the period of the Cold War, this was an event that could only occur at the ISDT!
By 1967, Büse caught the attention of the Maico factory, which offered him a 12Scc rotary valve machine for the 1967 Europa Cup (forerunner to the European Enduro Championship) series, on which he finished the season 2nd overall. Over the next three years, Büse rode Maico and Jawa machines in the 250cc class. In 1971, he swapped back to the 125cc class where he had an unbelievable 22 class wins in Motocross and Enduro events. For this near unbelievable feat, Büse was awarded ADAC's "Gold Sport Achievement with Diamonds", the highest award the German Motorsport representative can present. Naturally, when it came to selecting members to represent Germany's Silver Vase Team for the 1971 ISDT at the Isle of Man, Büse, who rode a 100cc Hercules, was at the top of the list. During 1972, Büse remained in the 125cc class. He rode a Sachs, on which he made life very difficult for the factory Zuendapp riders.
Many have asked 'Why didn't Büse ever ride for Zuendapp?" Simply put, Zuendapp, which dominated the smaller displacement classes for over a decade, chose riders who were not only very fast, but also only very smalI. Accordingly, if you weren't built like a jockey, you didn't ride for Zuendapp. Also, because Zuendapp machines dominated the German Trophy teams until 1978, that's why Büse was never nominated for a Trophy Team until after that time.
In 1973, Büse switched to KTM. He was unbelievably successful on the Austrian machines: Top German rider at the 1974 Camerino, ltaly ISDT, top overall rider at the 1975 Isle of Man ISDT, German 500cc Class Champion in 1975 and 1976, and 350cc class winner at the 1976 ISDT in Zeltweg, Austria.
When Hercules decided to re-enter the European Enduro Championship series, Büse was at the top of their list of riders to pilot their new 350 Class 7 speed flagship. He accepted their offer and immediately won the Championship that same year. However, the relationship with Hercules was doomed from the start. Whereas neither KTM nor Maico were a competitive threat in the woods, his biggest threat came from within. During the Italian leg of the European Championship event at Valli Bergamasche, Italian Gianpaolo Marinoni was entered to support Büse in the 350 class. Instead of blocking for Büse, he passed him and put him six seconds down in second place. Hermann Popp, then the Hercules Team Manager, recalls: "The Italian 'Playmotor' Team also campaigned Hercules factory bikes, but they were badged as export DKWs. Marinoni wasn't in the points hunt for the European Championship, yet he took this opportunity to make himself look good for the Italian press. However, if Marinoni's OKW would have had a burned out taillight bulb, this would have cost him so many penalty points that he and Büse would have to swap 1st and 2nd pi aces." Marinoni's teammates smelled a rat, and from then on they allowed no-one in the vicinity of his 350. The Hercules team had it all planned out from the start; they planned to ride at Bergamo wearing red jerseys similar to the 'Playmotor' Team colors, in order to trick the Italian spectators to think they were Italian riders and gain their support.
By 1978, Hercules management wanted to focus on winning a MX championship, and withdrew their enduro teams from competition. The machines were competitive as reflected in the European Championships garnered by Italians Perego and Gualdi. In spite of their successes, and the fact that the 1979 German ISDT would have made a great marketing opportunity for their enduro line, management decided to pull their support for their German and Italian teams, and to cease enduro motorcycle production at the end of 1978.
For 1979, Maico immediately stepped up and offered Büse a factory 250cc for the German Championship and a 504 cc for the 750 cc European Championship. And for the first time, on German home ground, Büse was a member of the German Trophy Team at the 1979 ISOT in Lager Stegskopf. He couldn't have ended up having a better season at Maico: German 250ee Champion, European 750ec Champion, 750cc Class ISOT Champion, as well as leading the German Trophy team to a second place finish, just behind the Italians.
In 1980, Büse intended to defend his European 750cc Title, but when it came to defend the German 250cc Championship, he was transferred by the factory into the 500cc class. This seemed to go well for Büse. And then came the shock at Bergamo. Büse had a comfortable lead over East German Jäger going into the 4th round in Italy, but his personal ethic wouldn't allow him to ride a "safe race". Up until his stunning crash, Büse was bar to bar all day long, battling with Italian SWM rider Guglielmo Andreini for the overall. The Italian spectators were stunned at the ferocity of their competition, but for Büse, it appeared that the European Championship was all but lost.
Yet, an even greater surprise was in store for the MZ Team, when Büse showed up three weeks later at the Austrian event at Neumarke ready to race. The MZ appeals fell on deaf ears, because Büse had supplied the race officials with a letter from the famed Belgian surgeon Dr. Joan Oerweduwen, clearing him to race. After he finished in second place behind Jäger, the East German press reported that Maico had "bought" all the riders in the 750cc class, so that Büse wouldn't lose any points. According to an East German newspaper, "Sports equality is also a purchasable commodity in the capitalist economy." (We must however, remember that this exchange occurred in the middle of the Cold War, and motorcycle racing. especially enduros and the ISDT, were the front lines of this war between West and East.) Büse was eventually able to keep Jäger at a distance to win the final ever European 750ee class Championship, as well as the German 500cc Championship.
After winning the 1982 500cc German Championship again, Büse hung up his helmet and walked away from racing. Maico production machine quality control difficulties had placed the company in such a perilous financial position that the Swabian motorcycle company was forced to cease production and close their doors.
Heino Büse was then 39 years old. He ended his career in the same manner that he competed. "I just didn't see a chance to get a competitive machine anymore" he recalls today. And racing for 2nd place has never been his motto. Büse has won six German Enduro Championships on KTM, Hercules, and Maico, two European Championships on Maico, twelve ISDT Gold Medals, the overall at the 50th ISDT at the Isle of Man in 1975, in addition to innumerable local MX and Enduro events. There has never been any doubt that Büse hasn't earned his nickname of "Büse the Jet"!
Once retired from racing, Büse used his contacts within the racing community to create one of the largest motorcycle racing and accessory companies in Europe. From a "one man shop" where he sold high quality racing gear to his former competitors, Büse now supplies over 3000 dealers in Europe with products bearing his name.
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