What: Villa Trips, Museum for MotorsportWhere: Parkstrasse 20, 50169 Kerpen-Horrem, GermanyWhen: on requestWebsite: www.automobil-rennsport.deContact: J.T. Födisch, +49 2273 940670How much: free entrance
A legend in his own timeGermany`s racing scene after WWII was only slowly recovering. But by the mid-fifties, the Mercedes team made a successful comeback in Grand Prix racing, and also some German drivers were already highly regarded - Karl Kling and Hans Herrmann were amongst the first capable for bigger duties, but there was another young man rising up the ranks.Coming from an aristocratic background, Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips was interested in cars early in his life. Born in Cologne in 1928, he was a German national champion in 1954 in a Porsche, still using the pseudonym “Axel Linther” to not upset his parents about his dangerous activities. He caught the eye of Mercedes Rennleiter Alfred Neubauer, who secured his services for the 1955 sports car season, and by the end of the decade, then driving for the most famous of all names in motorsport, he was already one of Germany`s biggest sports stars, a well-known personality and in living times already an ambassador of his sport. Sadly, fate struck on this sunny Sunday in Monza 1961, so close before he was able to reach his big goal of becoming a Formula One world champion.Step forward Jörg–Thomas Födisch. A motorsport enthusiast since his childhood, later a journalist, an idealist and a well-known author, writing books about the Nürburgring, Porsches and many more motor-racing related subjects, but most all a collector and preserver of a legacy.Grown up in Heimersheim in the Eifel mountains, he got in contact with motorsport through his father, a pilot, who took his son to the Nürburgring in the late fifties. Young Födisch was hooked instantly and what could be more obvious than following the local heroes on home ground.In 1961, he pushed his dad to take him to the F1 Grand Prix, as he wanted the autograph of soon to be world champion von Trips so badly. They made it to the Ring indeed, though failed to get the signature. As the young boy didn`t give up, he arranged a meeting with v. Trips` personal secretary, to get the much desired writing. But it was not to be. Soon after the race in Germany, tragedy struck and the young fan never got his autograph in person. But he was able to stay in contact with the secretary. A friendship evolved and Födisch slowly but steadily brought together a huge collection of v. Trips artefacts and memorabilia.His collection was a welcome contribution to an exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of the counts death in 1986 and now, being regarded as an v. Trips expert, he also took over a role in the W. Graf Berghe v. Trips foundation, which preserves the belongings of the family, as both his parents were deceased by 1978 and there were no other descendants from the noble dynasty.Until December 2017, a café and the “Museum für Rennsportgeschichte“ were open for the public in the mansion beneath the Burg Hemmersbach in Kerpen - yes you name it, the home of another German racing hero. Initially intended to be the Counts` retirement home, it lies in a beautiful park near the city. But for financial reasons, the v. Trips collection had to be moved into new premises in the “Ringwerk” at the Nürburgring – the photos you see here were still taken in Kerpen.The exhibition was divided in two parts, as it was not only about von Trips alone.On the first floor there were exhibits of 40 racing drivers who were originated in the lower Rhine area. You ask for names? Apart from v. Trips himself there were: Michael and Ralf Schumacher, H.H. Frentzen, N. Heidfeld, R. Stommelen, K. Ludwig, E. Lohr, C. Huertgen, M. Werner and many many others. Shown were all sorts of memorabilia, helmets and overalls, even complete racing cars were on display. This collection though was suspended whereas the v. Trips part was moved to it`s new home.The second floor was all about v. Trips, each room with his own theme. The exhibition showed:-A workshop with the TCA and Formula Junior cars, the first go-kart imported from Los Angeles in 1960-A authentic recreation of his room with original artefacts-Personal documents, cups and trophies-Model car collection, library with about 10.000 car and motor racing related books-Posters and paintings-Conference room-One small dark room is the memorial place “ myth Graf Berghe von Trips” with informations concerning the accident, and the aftermathAll these artifacts are supposed to be moved to the Nürburgring, where Födisch expects the premises to be opened by May 2018.So if you are at the Ring on a race weekend, drop by to a make a step back in time and see the lovely collection about W. Graf Berghe von Trips.As the Count was such an exceptional human being, I would like to add some facts about him:-He was a fighter to preserve the image of motor racing and it`s right to exist-Co-founder of the still existing DSK (Deutscher Sportfahrerkreis) and the local Renngemeinschaft Scuderia Colonia-Driving instructor and a highly regarded after dinner speaker.-Brought the first go-kart from the US to Germany and not only therefore was a supporter and promoter for young talents. -Raised funds and helped to build the first Kartbahn in Germany which was opened in early 1965 on his home soil on Schloss Horrem.-He was aware that there should be more support for young and upcoming drivers to help them on their way to the top.-Respected because of his talent and abilities on the track but also he was a fighter for sportsmanship and camaraderie. He was open to everybody, especially the young generation and lived a joyful way of life. -Fighter for road safety (safety belts for road cars)-Promoted and fostered the German motorsport wherever he could-Had a formula junior car being built in Italy under his name, the Trips-Colotti Auto Union (TCA) from his own money, 100.000 Marks.