Prof. Dr. Dkfm. Helmut Krackowizer, in England also known as "Mister Rudge" (April 29, 1922 in Frankenmarkt, Upper Austria, Austria – October 22, 2001 in Salzburg) was a former motorcycle racer and motor journalist with an international reputation especially for vintage motorcycles.
On the morning of 22 October 2001, he died after suffering his 3rd heart attack on Monday 15 October, in his 80th year.
His life had been shaped especially by motorcycles but also by automobiles. Born in Austria in 1922, he started to make motorcycle drawings while he was a schoolboy, long before he was able to ride his first motorcycle a 250 cc NSU (at the age of 16). This machine was soon replaced by a 500 cc Norton “International”.
During summer vacation he worked as mechanics and went to races wherever he had had the possibility. E. g. in 1932 to one of the first races on the Gaisberg near Salzburg. Also during The Second World War he took all possibilities to ride a motorcycle, to buy one (Rudge 250 cc two valve) - his first racing motorcycle after the Second World War or to rescue one. He had seen the end of that war as fighter controller of the air Signal Corps in a night interception troop - of course on a motorcycle - at Norway.
The years of motorcycle racing 1946–1955
Then in spring 1947 the first dirt track race in Salzburg, organized by the just founded SAMTC (Salzburg automobile motorcycle and touring club), lured 20.000 spectators on the trotting race course in Salzburg-Aigen. Encouraged by this success the first motorcycle race finally took place on the motorway near Salzburg on 6 July 1947. 1958 this race became the "Grand Prix of Austria" for motorcycles, which moved later on the motorway Anif-Grödig, also near Salzburg and in the end on the Salzburgring, where the race had been upgraded in 1970 to a worldchampion race.
In that motorcycle race on 6 July 1947, Helmut Krackowizer won the junior class 250 cc on Rudge in 44:32,8 min., followed by the Salzburgians Fritz Walcher on New Imperial with a time of 46:43,4 min. and Richard Kwitt on Puch in 46:43,4 min. The race led over 15 laps, which corresponded to a distance of 63 kilometres (length of one lap: 4,2 km). Krackowizer was then also in the senior race three laps into the lead before he had to abandon because of a defect. This was the beginning of his motorcycle racer career lasting until 1955.
The year 1947 became one of the most successful racing years for him. Among other races he took part in Austria in Rankweil and Lustenau (Vorarlberg), in Innsbruck-Hungerburg hill climb race, in Graz-Lazarettsiedlung and Ries hill climb race, Pötschenpass as well as in Liechtenstein at the Triesenberg (remark of Helmut Krackowizer: "much gravel and few Fraenkli [Swiss franc]! Nevertheless my cosy 4th place would have been still enough for the victory, according to Swiss experts"...).
The year's result of 1947: three first places, two class records, two second places, two fourth places - the most successful racer of Austria in the class A to 250 cm³.
1948 he intended to take part in the English TT, failed however because of missing border documents at the Swiss border. In the following years he rode with changing success also abraod, e.g. in Olten and Erlen (Switzerland), at the "Schauinsland" hill climb race, in Ingolstadt and the Norisring in Nuremberg as well as on the Hockenheim (all in Germany).
Over the years he rode several motorcycle marks as there had been: Rudge 250 cm³, Velocette KTT MK VIII 350 cm³ ex Binder, BSA Gold Star 350 cm³, Lohner scooter, Norton 500 cm³, AJS, Puch and others. 1955 he retired from his active motorcycle racing career.
Journalism and others
His profession started in 1952, after he had graduated at the university of economics at Vienna with “Doctor of The Economics”, at the factory Eternit at Vöcklabruck, Upper Austria, in the town, where he had lived. 1955 he moved to Salzburg, to Porsche, where he started as PR- and advertising manager.
During this time he wrote articles on motorcycle races for various magazines and recommenced his schoolboy activity of drawing famous racing motorcycles. His superb drawings were first published with great success in 1965. Having written and published books on motorcycles which included "MOTOR CYCLE SPORT" and "THE HISTORY OF FAMOUS MAKES OF MOTORCYCLE" he returned to the making of more drawings which can today be printed to a much better quality than was possible twenty years ago. It had been pencils drawings showing every detail of a motorcycle. Even during the last months of his life he had drawn. Besides this hobby he wrote books about the his-tory of races and motorcycles, he wrote for magazines within German- and English speaking areas.
He had been an expert for nearly every type of motorcycle, knowing every history of them, curriculum vitae of most of the racers of former times. He had counted as a friend e.g. Sammy Miller, John Surtees, Walter Zeller, Luigi Taveri, Hans Haldemann, Schorsch Meier and many other of the motor race scenery.
One of his dreams came true in realizing the marvellous “Oldtimer Grand Prix” on the Salzburgring: Stars like Niki Lauda or above mentioned racers came to speed up! Mercedes Benz brought their legendary "Silver Arrows” to Salzburg.
Until short time ago he had had as registration number on his car “S-Rudge 1” – of course he had been member of the Rudge Club in England! He had loved to be in England as there he had had many friends, many motorcycles, many memories….
One famous Austrian Motor Magazine had dedicated him a story of his life in 1997. This story ends with that picture of the Sunbeam above and a sentence of Gaston Bachelard (1884–1962, French academic): “A man is the creation of his passions and not of his needs!”
- Helmut Krackowizer, Klaus Fischer and Hans Haldemann, TOEFF Land Schweiz, SERAG AG Verlag, Pfäffikon, 1992, OCLC 75338378
- Helmut Krackowizer and Klaus Fischer, TOEFF Land Schweiz 2, SERAG AG Verlag, Pfäffikon, 2000, ISBN 3-908007-87-9
- Helmut Krackowizer "Motorrad Album", Markt Buch, VF Verlagsgesellschaft Wiesbaden, 1990, ISBN 3-926917-05-9
- Helmut Krackowizer "Motorräder - Berühmte Marken von Adler bis Zenith", Markt Buch VF Verlagsgesellschaft Wiesbaden 1988, ISBN 3-926917-00-8
- Helmut Krackowizer "Motorräder - Berühmte Marken von AJS bis Zündapp", Welsermühl Verlag
- Helmut Krackowizer "25 Motorrad WM", 1975, Welsermühl Verlag
- Helmut Krackowizer and Peter Carrick "Motorradsport", 1972, (his first book)
- Helmut Krackowizer "Meilensteine der Motorradgeschichte von 1885 bis heute", Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart
- Helmut Krackowizer "Meilensteine der Motorradgeschichte", 1995, Gondrom Verlag GmbH
- Helmut Krackowizer and Klaus Vollmar "Horex Regina bis Imperator 1950-56", Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, 1986
- Helmut Krackowizer, Hans Seper and Alois Brusati "Österreichische Kraftfahrzeuge. Von Anbeginn bis heute", 1982
- Helmut Krackowizer "Die klassischen Rennmotorräder", Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart,1965
motorcycle pencil drawings "Milestones"
Helmut Krackowizer - Since about 1965 Helmut Krackowizer had drawn vintage motorcycles (black/white). He had published these drawings in special editions. Each edition consisted of four drawings, each of a size of 42 x 30 cm, and one sheet with description of those four motorcycles. Some of these collections are still available:
- Klausenrennen Memorial, edition 1993
- Supercharged racing motorcycles
- Austrian Motorsport Jubilee 1996: what happens 90, 65 and 40 years ago
- Valvoline Austria Trophae, edition 1994
- 60 years ago: the Italian Tourist Trophy wins started
- Josef-Faber-Jubilee, edition 1995