- Benzina #11 was very different – and we think greatly improved – magazine. It’s now 100 pages of beautifully crafted matt paper in a unique 21x26cm (8.3×10 inches) size and, although the focus is still Italian motorcycles, we’ve introduced a little promiscuity, Like there’s a Honda in there. But when Gerald Davison (who ran Honda’s NR500 race team) started telling me the true story of the project (backed up by Ivar de Gier’s interview with the Japanese project leader) it was too good to let go. Basically most of what you thought you knew was wild guesses by journalists frustrated at Honda’s secrecy. The need to hide the truth might have been in part to hide the incompetence of the young aeronautical engineers drafted into the project. The policy was not to let anyone near the NR if they knew anything about motorcycles, in the hope of a blue-sky revolution. One example of this foolishness was a late night call from Japan telling the British mechanics to remove oil from the NR500 Ron Haslam as due to race – they’d discovered an extra 3bhp could be produced if the crank didn’t have so much oil to spin through at 23,000 rpm. What they hadn’t thought about was what would happen when Ron leaned the bike over; the feed was now above the oil level, and the NR blew up. Again.
Other issue 11 exclusives include the true stories of the Targa Florio Motociclista : plus – Laverda SCF750: Axel Budde on his Kaffeemaschines: Phil Schilling’s Ducati F3: Final part of the Ducati 860GTS project: The Moto Guzzi Le Mans that gave Yamaha the finger, plus the MGS-01: Mark Williams’ Running Out of Road: The art of posters, literature and poetry; and more