Should the Egli-Vincent be your dream bike, you certainly know Fritz Peier who won the Swiss hillclimb championship in 1969, succeeding to Fritz W. Egli winning the 1968 title. 1969 was also a time when Japanese works had been hammering motorcycle racing for about one decade, particularly in the Continental Circus where MV Agusta was one of the only remaining European brand to withstand the huge pressure from Japanese works. However, for the popular hillclimb races, competing with a British twin was still a reasonable plan to win. So when Fritz W. Egli upgraded the performance of the 1000 Vincent with his new chassis, he not only gave to his 17 years old Vinnie the wings of victory, but he also delivered thrills and pride to enthusiasts while the battle of the marques was in full swing.
But the Swiss hillclimb championship was much more than what you could think! It was a championship recognized internationally as very challenging in a fantastic mountain setting, and the Monte Generoso climb attracted regularly famous riders like Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood with their works racers. It was indeed challenging for internationals because local riders knew these climbs on their fingertips, and also because the works racers were designed for high speed on tracks with high-revving engines; difficult for these machines to compete with the massive low-end torque that the British twins could deliver out of tight corners in the climbs.
At that game Fritz Peier and his Egli-Vincent were definitely a pair of aces, holding the fastest time up of Generoso hill until 1973. Fritz W. Egli reminds of him as a phenomenal diagnostician and told me this anecdote when Peier came back from his first practice of the Generoso climb in 1969: ‘Check exhaust tappet clearance of rear cylinder, I need one tooth more at the rear wheel sprocket, hang carb needles one notch higher, richer and give a bit more cable slack at front brake’. Once done, he went out for the next practice and set a new track record!
Many Egli enthusiasts also see Fritz Peier’s bike as the most resulted of all Egli-Vincent models with its redesigned tank and seat (British Racing Green of course) and the addition of the half-fairing and crossover straight exhausts. This historic bike still exists – in Germany – and is currently being restored to the original spec by his owner. This bike is the dream for many Vincent enthusiasts that led one of them to build a tribute bike with the support of Patrick Godet. Patrick is so enthusiastic by the result that he is thinking seriously to make a limited edition of five bikes to be available from 2018, just ahead of the 50 anniversary of Fritz Peier’s Swiss hillclimb title (see poll at the end of the post and give your opinion).
Philippe Guyony © 2017
For those interested by the Continental Circus, here is a summary of the brands that won the 1949-1978 Grand Prix. For all details with riders names, visit Wikipedia