Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The MEET managed to pack in the MidAmerica auction, the MotoConcorso, the MotoGP, and the MotoGiro into a week of motorcycling events. Unfortunately, the MotoConcorso was scheduled simultaneously with the auction; they both finished about the same time, so it was one or the other for me, although I did manage a few shots before the gems were packed in their velvet cases.
The MotoConcorso primarily celebrated the motorcycles of the MotoGiro, and most of the participating machines were lined up, plus a few stunning Works racers on plinths, which unfortunately wouldn't be seen on the roads of CA during the week - more's the pity!

John Goldman was generous to bring several of his racing machines, including the lovely ca 1952 Mondial sohc 125cc production racer in the top photo, plus an ex-works dohc 125cc racer. When this bike came on the racing scene, all the other Italian factories scrambled to produce something similar, as it completely dominated its class, being so much more sophisticated than the little pushrod and two-stroke roadsters which had been the mainstay of 125cc racing. Although Mondial made production racers for sale (top pic), the dohc machines were always reserved for the Factory riders or works-supported teams. They were only sold on when the race dep't closed its doors in 1957, when most other European racing teams were disbanded in a mutual concord (a black year - the industry was in crisis, and most of the smaller factories would soon be shuttered). The two machines here illustrate some of the development work from Mondial's earliest to latest racers; the near machine has plunger rear suspension and a blade-type girder front fork (similar to a Vincent Girdraulic...but predating it). The later machine (from 1955) has a miniature double-loop frame with full hydraulic suspension front and rear. This late racer will rev to 13,000rpm, and hit 110mph with a dustbin fairing; many World and Italian championships fell to these beauties.

Another amazing Factory racer is this Ducati F1 125cc dohc machine; I didn't catch the owner, perhaps the Ducati factory retains it, as it was very close to their large semi-truck!
Note the double-sided magnesium brakes with large airscoops, and the essentially standard look of the crankcases. One might be fooled into thinking that this machine shares components with a Mach 1/Mark3/Diana, but these crankcases are sand cast, the cylinder head is unique with that large cambox, and the frame is completely different from the roadster, having a full cradle beneath the engine, rather than using the engine as a stressed member. Ducati singles can be so very pretty, but this one looks mean.

That's the big Ducati trailer; quite a few new models were on display. Ducati is a major sponsor of both the MotoConcorso and the MotoGiro. The Italian Tourism Ministry is also a big sponsor of the MotoGiro, and I do believe that both of these organizations share a board member... There is of course a big Ducati presence at the MotoGP as well, which happens at the tail end of the MotoGiro, so it's a good tactical move to keep their events close together; less transport cost for their staff, and that big truck.

Hey! What's Daniel Delfour's Norton AlaVerde doing here? I suppose the Italian name and flair helped to sneak it on the grounds - actually it's a Franco-Anglo hybrid; Glen Bator, pictured, is caring for the machine while it's in the States. I think it's for sale, actually - check his website. The AlaVerde was displayed at the Legends last May; it's a beautiful machine, and if I were to recommend an updated Commando, this would be the one.

Mike Harper-Smith brought quite a few machines from LA to show and sell, including MV's, a Maserati, and a Ferrari. Most of the bikes in this lineup are his - the Disco Volante (flying saucer) MV is especially well done. There used to be a well-regarded restaurant in San Francisco called Disco Volante; the chef was a hothead who occasionally flung plates at his staff; flying saucers indeed ! (true story)

Back at the Goldman Garage (because he has the best stuff); this Rumi Gobbetto has styling which is an acquired taste, but you have to love those ultra-short megaphones. John fired the bike up - the noise was deafening. 125cc two-stroke twin, plunger rear suspension, leading link front; very classy, as are all Rumis.

I've thought of a new logo for a long-defunct German company; Gimme an Imme! The Imme 'power egg' was an exercise in ecomical production and clever lateral thinking. With a very simple 125cc two-stroke single cyl engine in a neatly styled unit, the rest of the chassis is totally unique and presages many modern developments. The front fork is a single -sided tube with stub axle, the swingarm moves in unit with the engine and also is single-sided...and doubles as the exhaust pipe! The front and rear wheels are interchangeable, and this machine has a spare wheel attached to the 'free' side. The concept was a machine which was very light and economical with materials as well as fuel.

The gentleman on the left in the lower photo wasn't the owner, and had never heard of the marque before, but quickly learned the machine's fascinating details, was converted, and spent the afternoon explaining the machine to all comers. Where was such enthusiasm when the factory was around? Very clever; with gas at $5/gal, perhaps we should revisit the Imme.


Themodrockermocker said...

Nice event coverage & entertaining blog. I just realized that we spoke at length at Friday's auction preview about the, ummm, merits of the "restored in Germany" BMW single. Funny to find that in your Soquel Vintage show blog that you know Bill Charmin as well! Keep up the good work , and I'll keep reading.

vintagent said...

Anonymous wrote:
"I am sitting here in Sweden and follow your
blog almost every day. I find it full of interesting stories and
pictures. I really do enjoy to follow it.
But, may I make an unpopular statement about the pictured, very
beautyful Mondial with number 24 in the report from the Motoconcorso
The owner of the Mondial might verydisapointed, but the fact is that
this Mondial is NOT a works racer from 1948!
It is a single ohc production racer from 1952 -53, as sold to the
The works racer of 1948 was painted red and had, as you state a dohc
But the owner of this beautyful maschine might have another Mondial
with dohc.
Please, please, do not get angry with me, but I feel I have to put
things right.
Thanks for the good work and please continue telling us about your