AT AGE NINE, I was in love with a Ducati Silverstone Super.
Forget being a cowboy out on the range or a Spitfire pilot battling the Nazi hoards, I went to bed every night dreaming of riding a Ducati in the TT.
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The reason was simple. Pre-Japanese lightweight motorcycles were dull, dull, dull.
Little bikes were for beginner riders, or the poor, or stupid, or those with no taste. Real men rode BSA Gold Stars and Velocette Venoms and Triumph T110s. Bikes which went grrrr and bared their teeth if you looked at them the wrong way.
Yet, in Italy, lightweights were anything but boring or mundane, partly because of the Italians’ love of racing, and a very interesting slice of postwar history.
Read more in January’s edition of CBG