|A portrait of Anke-Eve Goldmann taken in the mid-1950s by her then-husband, a journalist and television producer|
I've conducted interviews with people who knew her well in the 1950s and 60s, and gained a fuller picture of how this remarkable creature - still alive at 81 years old in Germany - came to prominence in a country deeply in shock from its experiences in the War. AEG, as she's affectionately known, prefers her privacy today, rebuffing all attempts at interviews or participation in a biography, but her story will inevitably be told...she's too bright a star to hide forever.
|Anke-Eve Goldmann with one of the first R69 BMWs built; she never had a sponsorship per se with BMW, but the factory knew who she was, and seemed to supply her with the first of their new models. She remained faithful to BMW until the early 1970s|
But Goldmann had no such political agenda; she wasn't a closet Socialist with Soviet sympathies, but was, rather, a feminist before that label was created. Her experience of being shut out of racing tracks because of her sex rankled as an injustice, as was the ridicule she experienced for daring to be a woman on a fast motorcycle, able to handle herself and her machine with 'masculine' aplomb. AEG, who helped found the Women's International Motorcyclists Association (WIMA) in Europe in the late 1950s, was the first and only Western journalist to document Soviet women's racing, with no need to comment on the irony of women being 'free' to race motorcycles in the Soviet Union, while she in the 'free' West was not.
|Anke-Eve Goldmann photographed on the Nurburgring track on her BMW R69 in 1962, as published in her Cycle World article of June 1962, 'A Nurburgring Lap'|
Sadly, her Soviet correspondence and all related photographs were collected in an album which disappeared from her family's Swiss summer chalet in the 1970s, and this article is what remains of this unique period in motorcycling history.
Here's the article in its entirety, reprinted from the October 1962 edition of Cycle World magazine. [I include a few notes of my own, hoping readers in Estonia and Russia can fill in a few of the gaps for us - pd'o]:
SOVIET ROAD RACING CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR WOMEN
By Anke-Eve Goldmann
|Number 11, Irina Ozolina, overtakes a rival|
And the most enviable thing is that they have their own championship races. The first of them was held in 1949 on the lovely, 6.746km (4.189mile) road circuit at Pirita-Koze-Kloostrimetsa, near Tallinn, in Esthonia. For reasons unknown, that small country is the center of Soviet motorcycle racing. Naturally, no highly specialized racing mounts were ridden in that first meeting. The 125cc K-125, and the 350cc ISH-50 and IZH-54 two-strokes (very much DKW-looking), which developed about 7.5 and 14.5hp respectively, had solid frames and girder forks.
V. Prytkova won the historical 125 races over 15 laps at a speed of 80.5kph (49.99mph), with veteran Lydia Jefremova second [was she a war or racing veteran? - pd'o]. Most girls lapped at below 70kph (43.47mph), and the best male rider at 86.76 (53.87mph). Irina Ozolina, of Moscow, won the 350 class at 89.76kph (55.74mph), ahead of Lydia Tratsevskaya.
|V. Petrova, one of the leading Soviet lady road racers in the 125cc and 350cc classes|
In 1951 Nina Mikhejeva (whose name was now Susova)[recently married? - pd'o] shattered all records, riding her 125 faster than the male winner of the year before. She averaged 90.46kph (56.17mph) and pushed the lap record to 93.41 (58mph) in the 125 division, out-racing V. Morosova and L. Sviridova. A lovely girl came in fourth - Virve Gustel, of a famous Esthonian racing dynasty [Estonian readers - please clarify? - pd'o]. Tumanjan and Ratasepp did not finish.
The 350 event was won, not by Irina Ozolina, but by T. Trossi who, taking things easy, rode to a safe win at 89.29kph (55.46mph). That miss Trossi can ride is shown by her lap record of 93.77 (58.23mph) established when Irina was still in the race. N.Nosenko beat Virve's sister, Ylme Gustel, for second place.
In 1952, both Nina Susova and Irina Ozolina returned to Moscow with their third championships secured. Nina, in top form, smashed all opposition. Though unchallenged, she took the checkered flag after 1 hour, 5 minutes, 2.3 seconds for a 93.35kph (57.97mph) average. A new lap record of 4.15minutes and 95.24kph (59.14mph) also went to her credit. Second place was taken by V. Morosova, who had been lapped by the dashing Nina. Mis Reichenbach finished third. The 350 race was won by Irina Ozolina at 96.01kph (60.62mph) and the lap record now stood at 98.72kph (61.30mph). Runner-up was Ylme Gustel; V. Petrova wound up third.
|Irina Ozolina, Soviet road racing champion in the 125cc class, on her S-157 four-stroke racing machine|
For 1954, the 350 class was abandoned. All girls now competed in the smaller class, and Irina Ozolina won the championship with a speed of 90.91kph (56.45mph) over Nina Susova and I. Tomin. In these years other changes also took place. Different road circuits had been prepared, and the best racers now made use of a new model, the S-157, a twin OHC single-cylinder affair, giving 14.5bhp and built on the lines of the Czech CZ racer. Fairing made their appearance, and the Russian girls met female road racers from other Communist countries, notably Hungary.
In 1955 Nina Susova struck back an won that year's championship, beating Irina Ozolina and Esthonian Evi Nugis, a beautiful fair-haired newcomer who was to become one of the most prominent racers of her country. After the 1956 championship had again been swept by Nina Susova, Evi obtained top honors in 1957, establishing a scintillating new record of 97.16kph (60.33mph) and also a lap record of 99.02 (61.49mph).
|Trainer of the famous Kalew Club, Tomson, at right, checks the machine of one of his Esthonian lady riders|
Three races counted for the 1959 championship - Riga, Tartu, and Tallinn. Nina had given up racing so it became a year for the 'old lady' again. At Riga, Irina managed to beat V. Petrova and local star Vilma Oshinja; at Tartu she was chased in determined manner by an unknown 20-year-old girl from Esthonia, Evi Freiwald, who also gave her a breathtaking fight in the third race, at Tallinn. Mrs. Ozolina won, but she had to try all she knew to keep Evi from winning - a girl who was born after Irina had already started to ride motorcycles!
The 1960 championship consisted of two heats: Tartu and Tallinn. The Tartu even was a terrific struggle. The winner was - well, who? - Irina Ozolina, who propelled her S-157 around the circuit at an average of 101.27kph (62.88mph). The lap record, however, was established by Visma Lapinja on an East German MZ at 109.57kph (68.04mph)! Visma took second place in the race at a speed of 100.15kph (62.19mph). Tea Tahk, on another S-157, was third. Evi Friewald had engine troubles. The Tallinn heat was won by Irina, too, at 93.97kph (59.88mph), while Latvian Erika Kiope beat Vilma Oshinja for their berth.
|Tea Tahk aboard the Russian S-157|
I do not know how the Soviet girls would look in races in Western countries. Without doubt their courage is comparable to the fearlessness displayed by Soviet International 6 Days Trial riders, but I think that their riding style and racing experience still lacks perfection. If given International racing experience the Soviet girls certainly could become racing competitors to be reckoned with, and I would give all the tea in China to see them race against this year's 50cc Isle of Man competitor Beryl Swain, and that dashing Californian, Mary McGee."
[Some notes on the motorcycles mentioned in the above article:
|Several IZH-50 racers on a Soviet race in the early 1950s|
|The IZH-54 production road racer|
The S-157 racer was a DOHC single-cylinder based on the CZ. Here's what Mick Walker had to say in his 'European Racing Motorcycles' book: "The next Soviet racer was the S-157A, an interesting lightweight for the 125cc class. This was a dohc single with valves set at an angle of 50 degrees, measuring 28mm exhaust and 32mm inlet. The stroke was rather long at 58.5mm which with a 46mm bore gave a cylinder capacity of 123.6cc. When FIM President, Peit Nortier, visited the Central Automoclub headquarters in Moscow during 1959, the chief of the technical department told him that it was not intended to put the S-157-A up to the challenge the top Italian lightweights, rather to provide a production racer; and to this purpose a batch of 25 would be constructed toward the end of that year." Walker added he didn't think the S-157 was actually built, but he'd never read AEG's account from 1962!