There’s a party mood between the sounds of the sea and the roar of engines at Biarritz in the South of France from 14 to 17 June. The traditional seaside resort on the Atlantic coast provides the stage for the Festival of Wheels and Waves. This is where the biker and surfer scene comes together to share its passion for unusual motorcycles and riding waves that are several metres high.

The event was first held in 2012 and it is an expression of a new motorcycle culture defined by individuality, contemporary lifestyle and boundless creativity. The Wheels and Waves Festival focuses on custom bikes, unusual rare gems and extravagant specials from motorcycle history.

The Classic line of BMW Group is participating in this festival of freedom on two wheels for the first time under the name “BMW Motorrad Classic”. It has an exhibition tent at the festival venue with a historically appropriate design themed to suit the occasion.

The stands are designed with a vintage look and showcase athletic series and victorious racing motorcycles from various eras. The motorcycles feature pioneering technological innovations, outstanding successes in competitions or spectacular custom-builds and special configurations.

BMW Motorrad Classic is also enriching the festival’s Art Ride exhibition with extraordinary vehicles including the BMW R 5 Hommage show bike and its historic role model – the BMW R 5 sports motorcycle presented in 1936 and the BMW WR 750 Kompressor world-record machine.

The other exhibits include the BMW R 67/2 ISDT and the BMW R 50 Zabrocky, two particularly impressive motorcycles demonstrating that customising has a long tradition among fans of BMW motorcycles.

A BMW R 57 and a BMW R 5 are lining up at the start of the “Punk’s Peak” sprint race to launch the festival. These are particularly sporty representatives of the class with 500 cubic centimetres from the pre-war era of motorcycle construction. The presentation of historic BMW models on two, three and four wheels powered by upright shaft Boxer engines is particularly illuminating for engineering freaks and generalists alike.

This type of valve timing is virtually maintenance free and speed resistant, and it was used in the first post-war motor-sport motorcycle, the BMW RS 54. In 1955, BMW rider Wilhelm Noll achieved a world record of 280.20 km/h with his streamlined sidecar combination thanks to the power of the vertical-shaft engine.

A twin-cylinder Boxer engine with upright shaft also drives the starter machine for the “Punk’s Peak race. A BMW 700 RS sets the pace there. The racing version of the BMW 700 presented in 1959 boasts a tubular space frame and an aluminium body, a 70 hp tail-mounted engine and a kerb weight of less than 600 kilograms. Even in the modern world, this car can still put on an impressive sprint.

When racing in competitions during the early 1960s, the diminutive speedster achieved top speeds of up to 200 km/h depending on the transmission ratio. The machine’s racing prowess left many of the more powerfully equipped competitors behind and giving the popularity of the series models additional impetus.

The BMW 700 also happened to provide the foundation for the economic recovery of BMW as a company as well as establishing the early cornerstone for an exceptional racing career. Hans-Joachim Stuck made his first attempts to ride a motorcycle on a BMW 700.

At the age of 9 years, he accompanied his father on a rider training course at the Nürburgring and was allowed to have the first test ride of his life in a cordoned off area.

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