Issue 10 of Benzina features a Guzzi Dondolino, the Moriniday in the Po valley and the new Rebello, Lino Tonti's Linto 500, Ducati's 500GP plus Sports Motorcycles entry in the 1982 Suzuka 8 hour - featuring Steve Wynne in very short shorts. Then there's a 1960s replica MV Agusta racer with a 750F4 engine, riding in Puglia and the Dolomites, plus much more including regulars like Ian Gowanloch's Happy Farm, Mark William's Running Out of Road, and a buyers' guide to Ducati wid
Almost my favourite V-twin – an early Ducati 916 Strada. Hard to believe the impact it had at launch. My brother and I went to the annual UK motorcycle show at the NEC, partly because we were keen to see the first 916 in the country. Both our wives were pregnant so we’d promised to be home by 6pm, which meant leaving the show by 4. But by then the crowd around the 916 was still six deep. We were eventually asked to leave by security at 6pm – closing time – by which time
If the Moto Guzzi’s pre-war supercharged four cylinder racer seemed ambitious it was nothing compared to the magnificent V8, seen here in the factory museum. It was a final attempt to beat the fours of Gilera and MV, after the rather undignified chopping-and-changing in the Blue Riband class. When I interviewed Sammy Miller for my Moto Guzzi book – a man who was racing in the V8s era and owns both a V8 and Bicilindrica – he felt this was a serious issue. “Development i
Ducati were once just another of the many motorcycle factories around Bologna, perhaps their most famous fellow bike builder being Moto Morini. This one’s probably my favourite – the 3½ with disc front brake but still with the Borranis and the original Sport look, especially that humped seat. This image is by Paul Hart (featured in a past post with a 400 Four photo) and as with that pic this was taken on 35mm film with an Olympus OM-2N. He’s a complete Vespa scooter nut
Of the grand old racetracks I think Montjuic Park on the edge of Barcelona is my favourite. The Isle of Man TT course has the majesty, Monza the speed, Lario the mountains, Paul Ricard the south of France – but Montjuic Park has an intimacy and a history of its own.
The first motorcycle event at Montjuich Park didn't actually run this 3.79km (2.35 miles) course. Instead, competitors were invited to start from a European capital, to arrive at the famous palace fountain
This is the actual Laverda 75 Sport ridden by factory rider Genunzio Silvagni to win the 75cc class in both the 1956 and 1957 Motogiro races. The 75 Sport was also very successful in the Milano-Taranto event - winning the 75cc category in 1952 & 1953, taking the top 14 positions in the later event! The bike was also used for short circuit racing, with the lights & number plate removed. In this configuration power was upped to 12hp compared to 9hp at 10,500rpm in long distance
If he were a less modest man, Giuliano Maoggi could have claimed that he saved Ducati, so this pop-art tribute by Andrew Peplow, aka Pep, is well deserved. In 1955 Maoggi won the 125 class of the Milano Taranto for Ducati at their first attempt, and the following year won the Giro outright, his 125 beating everyone else’s 175s. Ducati were back from the brink, a practice they’ve thrived on ever since.
By the mid fifties Ducati were facing closure, so in a final throw
‘L’utilitaria che vince le corse!’ was Laverda’s 1950s sales slogan which, loosely translated, means ‘the commuter which wins races’. Rather more bizarrely the caption at the top reads ‘the dreams of Giovani’… (oops - no, it's giovane; "the young").
The austerity of post war Italy provided an ideal environment in which to launch a low cost motorcycle. This opportunity was spotted by Francesco Laverda who, when taking time off from the family agricultural engineering bus
Here’s Massimo Tamburini getting ready to ride a prototype MV Agusta F4. As with the Ducati 916, he liked testing in the rain because the road dirt showed up where aerodynamics were less than optimum before committing to pricey wind tunnel time. While the 916 is Tamburini’s most recognised project for Claudio Castiglioni, his best-selling Cagiva 125s were what brought the money in while he perfected it. The hugely under-rated Cagiva Gran Canyon is his too. Tamburini’s next bi
This is the T12, Massimo Tamburini’s final fling. During his career Tamburini’s quest for the perfect superbike was always hemmed in by the need to productionise, have a reasonable price in the market place and ever tightening homologation rules. But he continued to design the ultimate superbike in his head. When he left MV Agusta in December 2008, he took with him these ideas – plus a three-year non-competition clause, meaning he had to work on this next and final project la
In July 1984 Bimota went bust, blame pointed at overexpansion and the loss of Massimo Tamburini to Ducati. Under Italian law co-founders Valerio Bianchi and Giuseppe Morri were left with two years to rebuild Bimota: after that, creditors would be allowed to strip the company bare. That left two years to design, build and sell a motorcycle that would save the factory. Luckily the Bimota DB1 was special enough to do just that Ironically Tamburini was replaced at Bimota by Ducat
This is my brother on his Suzuki Katana 1100, based around the 16 valve four cylinder GSX1100. Before Target came up with the ED1 in the previous post and the Katana, motorcycle seats were long and pillion accommodation extended far behind the rear axle. The stance was parallel to the road and the visual mass was usually central, or around the fuel tank and cylinder heads. Fairings, if fitted, were separate from the fuel tank. Target changed all that. The rider, fuel tank and
Target Design is famous in the motorcycle world as the creator of Suzuki’s Katanas and, to some, for the bodywork on later Harris Magnums. But this MV Agusta is where they first went public with their vison of how a motorcycle should look, created just a few months after Target Design was born in 1979. The team were three ex-BMW motorcycle designers, Hans-Georg Kasten, Hans Muth and Brit Jan Fellstrom. They were already working on restyling Suzuki’s 550, 650 and 1100 when Ger
Another fabulous image of someone astride a Ducati bevel twin. This is the work of Elizabeth Raab, a photographer so original Ducati commissioned her to work with contemporary models. Seek out Elizabeth on Instagram and elsewhere, or order Benzina issue 6 which featured her work with Ducatis old and new. #ducati #ducati750 #ducati750sport #elizabethraab #femaleform #nude #italianmotorcycle #classicbike #classicmotorcycle #vtwin #artforartssake #motorcycleart #motorcycl