Roemar is a name you’ve probably never heard – up until a few days ago I hadn’t either. The Roemar name comes from the last name of the man behind the marque – which was Roelofs – combined with Maren-Kessel, where Roelofs was based when creating these machines. I recently got the chance to speak with the founder’s son Theo, who was able to tell me a little bit about Roemar and its short but interesting history.
Roelofs began racing in 1967 on a Bultaco and within just a few years he’d gotten the idea to drop a three-cylinder Kawasaki 350 powerplant into a Bultaco frame. This would be Roelofs’ first foray into creating a machine of his own. He had already owned an automotive garage at the time, but after moving his family from Lith to Maren-Kessel he would come to own a pub, gas station, and another garage. During this time he would hang up his racing leathers but he never lost interest in motorsport, mechanics, or engineering.
After a few years, Roelofs was doing well for himself and the Dutchman opted to start backing a couple riders in Holland around 1978. The more time he spent buying engines and paying for parts, tuning, and modifications, the more interested Roelofs became in designing and building an engine of his own. Despite having no formal experience as an engineer, he had picked up the skills and knowledge necessary to produce his own race machine.
Roelofs didn’t just want to produce any old 125cc racer, he wanted to produce something special and cutting edge for its time. On top of drawing up his own layout and having parts cast, Roelofs also utilized a myriad of some of the very best existing components money could buy from top-of-the-line engine manufacturers of the era like MBA (Morbidelli-Benelli-Armi) and Rotax. Roelofs created the machines with the intention of selling the majority of the ten engines he would build, though it is largely unclear where many of them have ended up. A quick online search reveals that some of the ten examples occasionally appear at vintage bike meets and shows alongside vintage 125 racers from marques like Maico, EGA, MZ, Motobecane, and a bunch of Yammy TZ’s.
The 1978 Roemar racer was a fascinating beast of a 125. The roughly 40hp 125 singles boasted aluminum die-cast crankcases, Rotax cylinders (some Roemars used Hummel cylinders) and Roemar crankshafts designed in-house with Aprilia connecting rods. The gearbox is from a Rotax 250 snowmobile with a clutch that is a copy of the Italian MBA 125cc. The engines were wrapped in Harris frames and adorned in custom bodywork produced specially for the Dutch 125’s. Despite the Roemar name being largely unknown, these were some incredibly high-performance racers and as Theo Roelofs puts it, “my father worked on this project all of his life and was very proud of having built these engines.” Sadly, Roelofs passed away last year, but his legacy lives on in the form of a handful of fantastic 125 racers.
Theo Roelofs is currently letting two Roemar 125 racer examples go. Both 125’s with one being an air-cooled example from ’78 and the other a liquid-cooled example from ’79. Each example is being offered individually or together, though the price is the same either way. The sale also notably includes a handful of documents and spare parts that any moto-history buff would be sure to thoroughly appreciate. The original technical drawings, all of the casting molds and castings for all ten of the Roemar engine blocks are up for grabs with the 125’s. Though I didn’t ask Theo what specific spare parts were included, he clearly alluded to the fact it’s a seriously extensive collection of rare parts.
You can find both these Roemar 125 examples for sale here on Racebikemart in Holland with a price of $7,675 each, or both for $15,250.