" Ben Oliver on the road race that created Italian automotive passion in its own image You are a driver in the Mille Miglia in the 1950s. You have been racing for fourteen hours now, stopping only to take on fuel "
Ducati and Robert Dunlop
You’ve got to hand to Ducati. With a race bred heritage second to none and a cool design eye and ethos, they keep on coming out with classics.
This silver metalflaked neo caff-styled special was emanating its stylish presence on the corner of Valencia street down in the funky mission district of San Francisco this morning, and the cool bike twitch caught me again.
As far as we know this beautiful stylist (complete with the amazing sounding, exposed dry clutch) is only available to our American friends.
With this sort of classic coolness in mind, I am reminded that last weekend the good people of Ulster hosted a classic road race that rivals the Isle of Man TT in its knee dragging intensity. Unfortunately, though, tragedy struck when the event’s most successful ever competitor, the racing legend Robert Dunlop was killed in a crash in practice.
The Northwest 200 is staged every year round a couple of hundred miles of Irish tarmac and draws about every biker in the island into its maw, as well as a healthy coterie of riders from all over the world.
The event launched at Portrush, which is a buzzy little seaside town on the North coast just up the road from the giant’s causeway.
It’s a timely reminder that the inherent danger encoded in racing machines is at least part of their appeal, especially as Robert’s brother Joey was killed back in 2000 during a race in Estonia (see tribute below) Who after all, wants to live forever?
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