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The Miracle of Berchtesgaden

Min Reading Time
Tags: Heritage, Motorsport
In 1958, race driver Heinrich Maltz, now 84 years old, participated in the first Rossfeld Race. Now, 60 years later, he won the International Edelweiss Mountain Award with a DKW Junior by ZF. The classic MAN SL 200 bus from ZF's historical collection
Janine Vogler, October 05, 2018
Janine Vogler Vintage cars related to ZF-products have been at the heart of the journalist. Outside of work, she enjoys to ride motor bike or to be accompanied in nature by her dog.
He was a pioneer at the first Rossfeld Race - exactly 60 years ago, Heinrich Maltz participated for the first time in the International Mountain Award in the alps in Berchtesgaden with a DKW. As the only participant left of 1958's race, he now participated again in the race on the last weekend in September and won the overall ranking with a DKW Junior by ZF. The 3-cylinder vehicle with a two-stroke engine is part of ZF's historic collection and is equipped with a ZF-Synchroma transmission 4DS6-3 and a Saxomat by Fichtel & Sachs.

As of 1958, the Rossfeld Race has been taking place at Germany's highest panoramic road as international competition for touring cars, grand tourism vehicles and sports and Formula Junior cars. Since 1961, the race has been part of the European Mountain Award, attracting famous race drivers like Niki Lauda, Jochen Mass, Hans Herrmann, Karl Wendlinger or Dieter Quester. Since 2013, the popular event is organized every two years by Joachim Althammer under patronage of Walter Röhrl and has always great race drivers on its starting list. All net proceeds are donated to an institution for the mentally challenged in the Berchtesgadener Land district. In this context, the classic MAN SL 200 bus from ZF was used to transport thrilled visitors across the track between the races.

Maltz even competed with Count Berghe von Trips

Until the mid-60's, Heinrich Maltz was a very successful race driver until he had to quit his active career in motorsports complying with his father's wish to join the traditional family-owned business for high-performance lubricants. At the Rossfeld Race, he even competed in Formula Junior alongside fellow racer Wolfgang Count Berghe von Trips and, amongst others, with the legendary "mountain king" Hans Stuck. Based on DKW vehicles, he developed the Hartmann-Formula-Junior vehicles together with Alfred Hartmann and ranked first nine times when driving for Scuderia Hartmann alone.
They wanted to teach the Italians a lesson in Formula Junior - after all, Count Berghe von Trips drove a Stanguellini - "but we thought, we can easily compete with Fiat engines", the nice, former race driver from Munich explains laughing. "I grew up in great times - you could still invent things then." He learnt to be a toolsetter at BMW where a company sports group used to train with their motorcycles every Wednesday on a track. This is how he learnt to drive. The track was selected based on the snacks offered there.
"As a young man, you do not even give thought to the possibility that you could get hurt. When we fell, we got up and checked if the clutch lever was broken or the tank leaked."

When his father saw him on TV, that was the end of it

When it was particularly slippery or icy, he was completely in his element. This is why he enjoyed participating in ice races, like the one in Zell am See. With his mother's support, he could pursue his hobby. He was always lucky, also when racing: "Once, my rear axle broke in a race at Sudelfeld in the last bend. The car moved to the left with more than 100 km/h and then went straight on - and fitted exactly between two trees. First the right front wheel, then the left and then the rear wheel hit the tree and fell off. At the end, it was like sitting in a canoe and I slipped down the hill. No harm done." he says laughing. "The parts that fell off the axles could be found 300 meters further down, already in Austria..."

Then his father discovered what his son was doing on the weekends - he saw him by chance on TV during a Sunday race - that was it.
Although he hasn't participated in any car race since the 1960's – Heinrich Maltz has never lost his passion for racing: With his BMW HP4 motorcycle with 220 hp, he still races in club championships and can hardly believe he won the overall ranking in Rossfeld: "This is a great thing for me, really. I have never driven such a car in my whole life – not to mention the little horsepower. What a contrast to my motorcycle that normally accelerates from zero to 100 in less than three seconds – but it is great fun!"

The friendly driver and the DKW Junior received great feedback at the Rossfeld Race: "Many people asked me about the car! Even I haven't seen a Junior for decades - and this even has a dark roof. Even then this was sensational!"
By the way, he also brought along his original helmet - tailor-made from London. When Stirling Moss had the severe accident in 1962 and survived, he wanted to have the same helmet and traveled to London. However, he couldn't wear it at the Rossfeld Race. Heinrich Maltz measures 1.90 meters and just about fits into the car. But it brings good luck anyway: it is still covered with the dirt and flies from the last race...