romo motor festival, chris gregor, thunder press

Words by Kali Kotoski

To celebrate 100 years of Danish racing, Oklahoma’s Chris McGregor is crossing the Atlantic to race his 1942 Harley-Davidson WLA at the prestigious Rømø Motor Festival—a beautiful oceanside festival with smooth, hard-packed, sand for miles.

As the first American to be invited to this invitation-only event, Thunder Press will be keeping a close eye on Chris from afar and chronicling his adventures in future posts online and in print.

McGregor’s ’42 H-D WLA arrives in Hamburg. Assembled by mechanic Ralf whose family previously worked at Suck Georg Motorräder u. Zubehör in Hamburg, the oldest H-D dealership outside of the USA until it was shuttered in 2013 after 100 years of operations.

Maybe this is American hubris at its best, but Chris is confident that his ’42 WLA (first developed for military use during WWII), tuned for racing by Mike Silvio from Cyclemos Speed Shop in Northern Tennessee, will deliver a podium finish on the 1/8-mile drag strip. Wish him luck as he faces off against Carlsberg-hardened Eurozone riders on pre-war era motorcycles.

Thunder Press, Harley-Davidson WLA

This unique event harkens back to a more civilized time when there were refined ladies and gentlemen, and festival-goers must wear period-correct clothing. The event pays homage to Danish racing from 1919 to 1924, when the nearby island of Fanø was home to beach races that represented big names like Mercedes, Citröen, Fiat and Opel. The races were unfortunately canceled after a 15-year-old boy was killed by a runaway tire from one of Major Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Blue Bird racers, which set records that day by reaching over 130mph on a one-kilometer stretch.

A look back at 2018 festivities.

The races were resurrected by Carsten Bech, Thomas Toft Bredahl, Finn Andresen, Holger Sonnberg and Steffen Sonnberg in 2016, drawing some 5,000 spectators and 38 racers to the track.

“Being the first American to race is a great added benefit. The beaches at Denmark are epic and the opportunity to race anywhere is always great,” said McGregor.

Steffen Gödecke, from Harley-Davidson Hamburg Nord, has been instrumental in organizing the race and getting McGregor prepared. We at Thunder Press thank him for his support in organizing coverage.

Harley-Davidson Hamburg Nord.

Look for updates over the next few weeks! And let’s hope the winner can resolve that spat over buying Greenland, or at least get the skinny on the asking price!


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