Leif “Basse” Hveem was a Norwegian speedway champion in the 1940’s and ’50’s, winning the European Longtrack Championship twice, and dozens of Nordic and Norwegian Championships.
In the mid-30’s he raced with rare Atlas, Rex, and DKW motors. He rode a bike powered by a 350cc Rudge in 1937. In 1938 he bought a *** and for the rest of his racing career he built his own bikes using these motors with the help of Kjell Samsing, a speedway mechanic and friend.
With the **** invasion and occupation of Norway in 1940, bike racing ended as the invaders confiscated many motorbikes for their war effort. To save his racing bikes, Basse dismantled and hid them in sheds and barns around Oslo. He fled to England where he rode military bikes as a messenger. Basse served with Allied invasion forces in France, Holland and Germany until the summer of 1945. He came back to Norway and re-assembled the bits and pieces of his bikes. While gasoline was still strictly rationed, speedway bikes ran on methanol and he was racing again late in 1945.
In 1953 Basse Hveem was the first rider to lap a British track at more than 50 miles per hour. He won the race, of course.
In 1955, his long time friend and partner Kjell Samsing designed and built the racer you see here, with help from Basse. It’s revolutionary design had an aerodynamic body and rear end suspension. Samning’s fairing was incredibly innovative at the time. His bike, with Basse Hveem riding it like a madman, won three Norwegian Championships in 1955, 1956 and 1957, as well as two Nordic Championships in 1956 and 1957, one European Championship in 1957, and The Golden Helmet in 1955.
This guy and his bike were living legends by the time he published his memoirs at the age of 28. “On Two Wheels” detailed much of what I am writing here.
In his career, Basse had wrecks that hospitalized him six months at a time. Still, he came back and raced, and raced fast. In the mid-50’s a newspaper wrote, “First came Basse, then came nothing and finally came all the others.” He was only forced to retire when his skills declined in the late 1950’s. For a couple of years he raced cars on ice, gravel and tarmac, even winning an ice track race in a Porsche in front of the 24-year old Norwegian Crown Prince. If my Norwegian heraldry research is correct, that Crown Prince is now the King of Norway. Freaking Norway has kings. Crazy Europeans. Here the kings disguise themselves as faceless bankers supported by puppet politicians.
FREEDOM OR DEATH!
Basse and Kjell’s famous speedway racer was lost between the years of 1964 and 1971. It was publically displayed at a race shortly after Basse’s widow Ebba found the owner in France and bought it. She then donated it to the he Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology in Oslo where it can still be seen on display.
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