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The Moto Giro d'Italia

Rimini San Sepolcro- Rimini 217km

Rimini seafront, an Italian Blackpool if there was ever one, is a riot of colour and holidaymakers. As we set off from the town at 10am there were a lot of intrigued spectators. Most of the older people seem to remember the original Motogiro and the Italian championship races that took place on the seafront roads of most of the resorts around here in the mid fifties. It is not unusual to find old ladies showing a great interest in both the old bikes and their riders!

BSA Touring TeamIn the middle of all this atmosphere and character there is the touring class. The bikes in the touring class include old Gilera singles Moto Guzzi tourers and a 650 BSA complete with panniers and a husband and wife on board. Also there were a pair of Ducati singles too young to join in the actual Motogiro.  These were brought down in a van from Derbyshire; one of the riders David Barry Jones, on a 1960 Ducati 175 Silverstone was ecstatic with the whole event, 'the most exciting thing for me is to have a quick blast with the old bikes, the F3 's are really quick but I can stay with them, mine is not too slow. I'll definitely be back, the whole atmosphere is electric, its amazing, it wouldn't happen in England'.

James Binnie had an eventful trip down on 916SPS, ' I had ridden all the way from the UK with no problems and arrived in Bologna on Monday evening, I was just about to stop the bike and it cut out, Ducati were really good about it. I had just arranged the recovery and I phoned Ducati to say that a van would be around to collect the bike on Tuesday, and they just said 'no! It is a Ducati, it is at Ducati, we must fix it'.  So half an hour later they came around for the key and phoned me back the next day. I was shown into the experimental shop and told to keep my eyes closed, and there it was, all fixed. They would not tell me what they had done. They just said it was just as it had been when it left the factory, it ran perfectly and they gave me back the immobiliser in a box and said 'no, no, no!''    

Having seen the Motogiro world from the classic sporting side we decided to join the touring group for the day. It was escorted in the same way as the classics, with tour marshals on Ducati's at the main junctions, or one of the police patrol accompanying the tour, if you obeyed their instructions and watched for the Motogiro guide.

The tour group is run on a slowish pace to allow classic bikes not eligible for the tour to enjoy the scenery and the atmosphere, and to run on the same route and enjoy the same atmosphere as the riders in the Giro. Arguably the best fun if you have a modern bike is to do the same as we were doing on the Tuesday.  Watch the classic racers and sprint ahead to the next stop, enjoy the food and (non alcoholic!) drink provided at each stop and watch the field come in. With marvellous scenery, great roads and a terrific response from the local population the whole feeling of the event is fantastic. If you like Italian food and classic bikes as well it is difficult to know where to look next.

The route to San Sepolcro is twisty and pretty, the route up is the best we have seen on the tour yet, (For those of you with a day to kill in Rimini in the future may I recommend a ride up SS258 past Nuova Feltri and then on to SP 47, SP 137 and SP138 as a pretty good view of some of the best scenery Italy has to offer.)  With the scenery and the villages a riot of colour and beauty, the route winds along a ridge past castles and valleys with the Italian Riviera just noticeable in the distance.

MV Agusta, Tamburini testing Marzocchi's in the hillsWhile on our way to San Sepolcro we passed a lay-by at the top of the Passo di Via Maggio with a Marzocchi truck and a pair of well used MV Agusta's.  We had just stumbled on Massimo Tamburini's secret suspension testing area, as we sat and watched the maestro himself was riding his MV up and down testing the set up of the bike with new Marzocchi front forks.

Neil Spalding

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