In the very early 1990's, I was doing quite well and it was at this point that my wife told me that "I needed a hobby and that it was not going to be her!". It was on that directive that I returned to my passion of motorcycle riding and racing. I started with a yellow Norton 750 Commando (originally black and gold) and a silver-gray BMW R90 S.
However, I was searching for something that fit me better and had significant performance. I then bought that first 1974 Ducati 750 GT (which unfortunately went ignored for almost a decade) and shortly thereafter, the 1974 Imola Replica 750 ss. From then on, I was "hooked".
The more that I learned about the history and the passion for racing that Ducati is famous for, the more I became smitten. I was drawn to the Sporting bikes with clip-on handle bars and right-side GP shift. Shift up to first and then hammer the lever down to up-shift. I do like the sound of a well tuned Harley Davidson and a 650 Triumph Bonneville with short pipes. However, I got that all with the Ducati and yet with the 750 ss Imola, I was able to take that bike to 8800 rpm without it blowing up like a Harley would at 4000 rpm. You have to love the old Iron!!Here is my 1974 Imola 750 ss and the first yellow Ducati, a 748 r at one of my favorite tracks, Grattan in Canada.It is a phenomenal venue. This racetack brings out the absolute best in both the modern as well as the vintage bikes. Additionally, the track is situated in a beautiful part of Canada.
While taking these two bikes to the track, I was concurrently working on the restoration of these two 1972 Ducati Sports.
Mick Walker was very instrumental in confirming the originality and authenticity of these two Sports before I purchased them. Through his research, the older Sport it was determined that the bike was originally titled in France while the other was titled in Switzerland. So confident in his authentication, that Mick featured the Swiss Sport in the book Miller's Classic Motorcycles 2002 when he was the General Editor. So confident that my Sports were genuine, he posted photos of the almost complete Sport in this book on page 39.You can see the wiring that comes out of the alternator, all rolled up on the top of the cover. It was such an honor to be featured in another one of Mick Walker's books. It is quite unique to look at the suggested "values" of these motorcycles in 2002 in comparison with what some 1972 Sports have sold for recently. It was also fun to be visiting my relatives in Edinburgh, Scotland, accompanying my cousin's spouse to a book store and to be able to pull this book off of the shelf and share the publication of the photos of my bike.
This photo is from the only day when both bikes were in my possession. My goal was always to build one for sale and the other to keep, thus trying to offset restoration costs or more accurately, to get additional funds for more projects!!I apologize for the dark photo, however, the sun was setting and it was time to take the older 1972 Sport with the half-fairing to the trailer to haul to Virginia while putting the un-faired Sport back to the warehouse to ride later.
The design of the 1972 "wide-frame" Ducati 750 Sport, in my opinion, must be one of if not THE most incredible designs penned by the Ducati factory. Such was that in evidence when our 72 Sport was invited to appear in the Ducati tent when Ducati was the featured marque at the Vintage Days/AHRMA event in 2005 at the Mid-Ohio racetrack complex. The orangey-yellow color pallet of the bodywork of this Sport is so deep and rich with the black pinstripes. It is just striking.
Not only was this a first class event, but we felt very honored that our Sport was worthy on inclusion in this event.
Despite the separation of these twin twins at birth, my love affair with the Ducati orangey-yellow had only just begun. By this time too, I was competing in AHRMA events with the a Ducati 750 ss and a Ducati 748 rs. Both of course were Ducati yellow. Featured in this photo is the first Ducati 750 ss that I campaigned and the venue is also Mid-Ohio which for quite some time was my "home track". Interesting that professional racer, Malcolme Tunstall, is dressed in yellow like his Ducati 750 bevel drive racer. Similarly, the modern (at the time) Ducati 748 rs was just as comfortable on a demanding course such as Mid-Ohio as the long legged bevel drive racer. It can be said about both the bevel drive and the modern 750 desmo's, that "they ride like they are on rails".
There is something very special about the racetrack at Mid-Ohio. It is my belief that until the Barber facilities opened up, that Mid-Ohio's racetrack resembled most closely European racetracks with multiple flowing corners, elevation changes and tricky off-camber turns to test the best skills of the racer. Ducati was made for such a track, as I have never been at speed on a machine that is so universally at home at a demanding and twisty racetrack.
In conclusion, the love affair with Ducati and the orangey-yellow color scheme continues to this day as evidenced by the photo that is of my next 750 desmo bevel drive and 748 rs racebikes. It has been the emblem of my hobby business for the longest time. It truly has been a "hobby business" for the past couple of decades as I have only been able to participate in around 6 races per year. However, that has satisfied my cravings for speed or "low level flying" and taking on the technical challenges of the racetrack. Some like to take on the topography of the outdoors with golf. Being Scottish, perhaps, I should. However, it is in my blood to prepare man and machine for the challenges of the racetrack to test who will be victorious. Isn't the phrase: "Win it or bin it?" This story is far from over. Hope that you like my blogs and if so, stay tuned. If you do not, please help with any commentary.