Ducati Factory Pilot, Bruno Spaggiari, has been a long time influence on me as I delved deeper into the history of the Bologna brand and their significant history of racing passion. In the English speaking world, in my opinion at least, Signore Spaggiari has been one of the "unsung hero's" of the Ducati's racing heritage. However, Il Maestro had great successes from the beginning of racing motorcycles such as the Ducati Singles and Twins.
However, as such a significant Factory Pilot, Signore Spaggiari worked on the 500 GP racing project and was extremely fast on the first Ducati 750 ss Bevel Drive in the 1972 season of racing. At the Imola race, Europe's answer to the US's Daytona race, Brit, Paul Smart and Italian Bruno Spaggiari took on the best of the rest of the world and took 1st and 2nd places respectively in that inaugural race. These were the stories of legends. Here is the famous #9 on his Factory Ducati 750 ss Imola winning machine.
Perhaps, my fondness for Maestro Spaggiari could be that we share the same birthday. However, the reason for my fondness is more than that. The more books that I bought on the Ducati history of motorcycling and racing, the more information I found on his contributions to the brand. When I discovered photos of the Spaggiari racing bevel drives in the Yellow or Ochre, I was smitten. I decided that I needed to build a copy of the Spaggiari racer to have a connection to that history.
When I sold the Domi Racer- provided Ducati 750 ss to a dealer on the US east coast, I needed to build up another Bevel Drive race bike. Coincidentally on one of my trips to St Petersburg, Florida, I got the opportunity to see Malcolme Tunstall's Ducati race bike in yellow as seen below at speed. As a result, the first Spaggiari replica was conceived and work began on the build. The frame for this project is from a 1977 900 ss that I found. The engine was donated from a 1974 Ducati Sport and Malcolme was very instrumental in the performance of that engine. The Imola tank came from Europe and the rest of the bodywork came from Syd's Cycles. My fixation with Ducti Yellow or the Ochre colour is in evidence in a photo from a number of years ago just below. Pictured is 1972 Sport that was featured in Mick Walker's book, Miller's Classic Motorcycles 2002, the Ducti 748 rs and the 1973 Spaggiari 750 Sport racer. The "dye had been cast" if not an Ochre one!It is my belief that the build of the first Spaggiari replica was a success. Originally, I had a Ducati decal on the tank but it did not look right in that color scheme. Then I met a gent who made the decal of the Spaggiari Corse which he made from a picture that I had. I believe that the result is a brilliant copy of the original.
This yellow Spaggiari 750 Sport and the 748 rs were the corner stone of the bikes that I raced primarily in AHRMA events such as Formula 750 and BOTT, Battle of the Twins. Both race bikes were very competent performers on the race track as discussed in an earlier blog post. The evolution of the Spaggiari special continues to this day as I have the bike pulled apart and am going to paint the frame and the bodywork the same Sport Ochre color to look like the Spaggiari Scuderia Corse team racer that is on display in the Ducati factory museum in Bologna, Italy.
The current look of the bike before disassembly has the Sport engine but with Desmo heads and black engine covers. Again, the Yellow and Black of the early Ducait bevel drive Sports is beyond distinctive but striking as very few color schemes are. (in my opinion). Added to the frame is a required belly pan and a box-section swingarm that Rich at DesmoPro was able to fashion. Also this engine is plumbed for an oil cooler and there are now lines that go directly into the cam supports. I now run mag wheels as a personal preference.
In addition to the frame and bodywork being repainted in the Ducati Sport Ochre (Yellow), I will be adding a VeeTwo dry clutch kit that it has taken me years to source and is the epitome of Classic Ducati Bevel Drive Racing. To me, this motorcycle has become the soul of my little parts and restoration business, ItalianIron Classics, LLC and the soul of everything that I love about Ducati Bevel Drive Racers. These exotic bevel drive pieces of engineering mastery, like a Swiss watch, helped to shape the company's future successes in Superbike and MotoGP racing. It all started here with professionals such as Il Maestro Spaggiari, Franco Farne and of course, Dr. "T" Taglioni.
Therefore, this story does not end here. My respect and admiration for Signore Spaggiari only continues to grow as does the next upgrade to my Spaggiari 750 Desmo racer. I will share on one of my future blogs, the story of the build of my Spaggiari 750 Desmo for the street that is in the garage of an enthusiast and collector in Australia who actually does ride these beautiful bikes and is as smitten as I am with the color scheme of the Spaggiari Scuderia Corse Ducati's!!
However, the end of this blog would not be complete without sharing a photo from my last visit to Italy. My wife and I made the pilgrimage to Bologna to visit the Ducati factory and of course, their outstanding Ducati Museum. And there she was, the real Spaggiari Scuderia Corse Ducati. Hopefully, on our next visit to Italy, we can meet Signore Spaggiari. I have a friend in Verona who knows the Maestro. Perhaps we can meet over a glass of wine or an espresso!! His choice! Thank you, Maestro!