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May 21, 2014

​Steve McLaughlin’s Pro Superbike Revival In Germany Attracts Dozens Of Former Stars, Thousands Of Spectators

Anton "Tony" Heiler (seated in foreground), Thomas Franz (third person sitting at the table) and other riders sign autographs at the Pro Superbike Revival at Sachsenring. Photo courtesy of Steve McLaughlin.

From 1991 until 2001, Steve McLaughlin’s Pro Superbike series was one of the most popular racing series in Europe with factory-backed teams, strong spectator attendance and live TV coverage.

Last weekend, May 16-18, the series came back to life when dozens of its former racers brought their machines for the Pro Superbike Revival during the ADAC Sachsenring Classic at the Sachsenring Grand Prix circuit.

“We had 35 bikes, but 38 riders showed up. Some guys came without bikes just to be there,” said McLaughlin, a former AMA Superbike star, an AMA Hall of Fame member and the man who created the Superbike World Championship. “We had several of the Champions: Christer Lindholm from Sweden, Jochen Schmid the German, Edwin Weibel, Peter Rubatto a.k.a. Mr. Superbike.

“I’ve never gone to a high school reunion or anything like that before and Germans by nature are not smiley people – you’ve never seen so many guys with shit-eating grins. They were so happy to get together. It was pretty amazing that we fielded 35 Superbikes for a one-off event when they can’t get that many in World Superbike.”

The program, according to McLaughlin, called for the riders to do three 15-minute exhibition sessions each day of the weekend and autograph sessions each day.

“We only printed 250 autograph cards,” for each rider, said McLaughlin, “and 30 of the 35 guys ran out of them on Friday with two more days to go.”

McLaughlin estimated that the event drew over 15,000 fans even though Sunday, the third and final day of the event was hit with heavy rain. Plans are already in the works to hold a similar event in 2015, he said.