Bonhams' annual sale of Collectors' Motorcycles and Related Memorabilia at The Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Stafford, UK (October 17) once again demonstrated the strength of the motorcycle market. Sales totalled £1.4m with 87% of lots sold.
Top item in the sale was the historic racing sidecar outfit on which the legendary Helmut Fath won the Sidecar World Championship in 1968; and on which Horst Owesle later took the title in 1971.
Originally estimated to sell for £70,000 to £80,000, it went for no less than a scorching £102,700. This was a clear £10,000 ahead of its nearest rival, the 1929 Brough Superior Overhead 680 which sold for £93,900.
Helmut Fath was World Champion in 1960 riding a privately entered BMW but spent the next few years out of racing following a serious injury.
Rebuffed by the German manufacturer on his return, he set about building his own four-cylinder 'URS' racing engine. The engine took its name from the village of Ursenbach in Germany, where the project was conceived.
The URS was plagued by teething troubles in its first two seasons but delivered Fath his sweet revenge in 1968, when he and passenger Wolfgang Kalauch beat BMW-mounted Johann Attenberger to take the World Championship.
In 1969 another serious injury enforced Fath's retirement from the sport - but the URS wasn't done yet.
Horst Owesle took over the drive and after a promising debut season which saw him finish 7th in the 1970 World Championship, he and passenger Peter Rutterford secured the URS's second World title the following year.
The URS was offered "from an important UK private collection," according to Bonhams.