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The Moto Giro d'Italia

Terni Arrezo km

Terni to Arrezo was to be heavily policed judging by the number of Carabinieri standing around at the start. We had decided to revert to following the race rather than just following the route with the touring group so when the last racer left we were just behind them.  We climbed up to the medieval village of Collescopi, entering the village up a steep 40-degree alley. We had managed to swap to a Monster 900IE the night before and as we entered the crowded little Piazza san Nicolo at 9.30 the morning seemed to explode into a complete riot of noise. 

Cycle World plays AgoThe racers were parking up awaiting their departure times, the local folk band (using clockwork guitars and musical scissors!) was going full tilt, the kids from the primary school were dancing to the music and white haired competitors in black full race leathers were happily dancing with any available ladies.  There were tables of local specialities to munch through with townsfolk in medieval fancy dress serving drinks. It was bizarre and brilliant all at the same time.  As riders started to leave at their official times a cake shaped like a 916 came out, I left as they served the fuel tanků

Heading out to the next hilltop timecheck at Stroncone we discovered that the Carabinieri were not interested in slowing anyone down, quite the opposite. They held normal traffic back and waved us through gesticulating that we were to hurry.  The access to Stroncone was another seemingly vertical climb, we passed my friend Maoggi walking his smoking 100cc Laverda up the hill, and this guy is 75!  Still reeling from the noise and excitement so early in the day we watched the bikes depart from the observation point next to the village.

On the open roadThe rest of the morning was heaven; we headed in the direction of San Lorenzo Nuovo, the site of the lunchtime break. The road wends its way through small valleys and villages with the smell of lemons and herbs from the roadside. Bends, on camber corners and off camber corners follow each other in quick succession, the Monster seems to spend all its time flat on its side with the throttle buried, and it just seems to come back for more and more, marvellous.

Grinning like an idiot we rolled into San Lorenzo Nuovo to find the whole tour stopped in the octagonal town square, all pastel coloured walls, pinks, yellows, off whites with green colour washed shutters, the local Saturday market is in full swing.  Tables of food and drink are out for the tour participants to help themselves, a quick bite to eat and then it is off again, this time for Siena.  

The road, the SS2, is flatter and faster through to Siena, much more wearing on the old bikes, as we crest the rise in one hill we spot a smoky Laverda 100 with a canny old Maoggi hanging onto the rear seat of one of his competitors, blagging a tow.

We cannot get the tour into the main square at Siena, its reserved for some horse race or other and immediately head towards the SS73 that will take us to Arezzo. This is a road made for motorcycling, built on a ridge overlooking fifty miles of patchwork either side, the road builders never used one corner where they could squeeze in two. The quality of the tarmac is better too; again the Monster is being put right over on its side but this time there is the occasional R6 for company.  

Arezzo is an old walled city, most of the streets stone paved, the end of the day is in the Piazza san Domenico, 14th century home of a crucifix recently restored by Florentine artist Cimabue. 

Cub reporter Spalding interviews Remo Venturi with a little help from Kristen SchelterWhile the final runners came in we had a chance to talk to Remo Venturi, still using his early 60's leathers in the race he was noticeable by his very tidy style, looking for all the world like a leather clad horse jockey. He was in very good mood as he explained that that he had never won a Motogiro but had won the other main event of the time the Milano-Taranto race before going on to the Grands Prix in the MV team. While with Surtees teammate he had won the 500cc Dutch TT in 1960.

Walking through the town at midnight eating ice cream really did finish the day off well.

Neil Spalding

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