Walther Luft, former Austrian Trials Champion, Puch factory rider and exceptional machine developer and innovator is 70 years of age!
Happy Birthday Walther from Trials Guru!
Walther’s first Scottish Six Days Trial was in 1970 on a 169cc Puch which he made himself. He was accompanied by his good friend Peter Bous and Puch manager Hans Maiditz a former ISDT rider for Steyr-Daimler Puch A.G. (Graz).
Walther won the Edinburgh Trophy for the best foreign rider at his first attempt.
Luft developed the Puch trials machine virtually on his own with parts supplied by the factory at Graz. He took the Puch 169cc six speed motor out to a full 250cc displacement. It was a machine which was nearly 20 years in development.
Luft was always making components lighter, in fact well before his time the same processes were used many years later my mountain bike riders and manufacturers.
Walther was a talented engineer and exceptionally good at metal working as this was his trade or craft.
Much of the Puch was made from Nylon 66 material, such as the sump guard and chain tubes which was a feature of Luft’s machine and was copied by Montesa when they brought out the production Malcolm Rathmell Replica 348 machine in 1976.
Luft also went on to develop along with German champion, Felix Krahnstover the KTM trials machine. However the growing KTM concern decided to pursue motocross and enduro markets, as they were more lucrative and profitable for the Mattighoven based organisation.
A story here from the premier Austrian ‘Trial.at’ website:
click … http://www.trials.at/walter-luft-ist-70/#comment-884
6 thoughts on “Walther Luft at 70”
I remember him on the Puch all those years ago and the innovations he developed in his bikes. Not very long since he last rode the 6 days either. An inspiration.
Indeed. A great pity that Puch never did do a production bike. With their quality I’m sure sales would have been good. It was surprising that only Montesa adopted any of Walther’s ideas with, eventually, their superb original plastic mudguards and the chain tubes. I’m pleased to see that Walther has found ways to lighten a Gas Gas. Must be 2016′ s GoH for Alvie, Guru?
W. Lufts first scottish was 1970 but not first for Puch. I think Puch first appearance was 1968? Ridden by Scots NFW Edgar No. 1 and brother Derek DJ Edgar No. 12 whose excellent early ride made headline in the MC of the day – Privateers Paradise. Derek did lots of development work on this machine -in his Leith workshop – home of the family business which was main dealer for the brand.
Greves Anglian FFS 171D still lives on Douglas !
Indeed, it was a photo in MCN announcing the debut of the Edgar Puch that led to me discovering that weekend’s Coronation trial as the first one I attended.
I asked Norman Edgar about these bikes last year but alas he has no idea what happened to them. A pity as they are part of trials history.
Yes, 1970 wasn’t the first time a Puch had been ridden in the SSDT, the Edgar brothers rode Puchs and I think also Horst Leitner from Austria, even earlier on a Puch 250cc SGS ‘Split-Single’ model. I would have to check the date of this. Dalesman also used Puch motors and Jim Birrell from Markinch had one on loan at the 1969 SSDT as SACU Steward.