2018 Festival of Italian Motorcycles
The annual Festival of Italian Motorcycles was held in the Piazza Italia just off Lygon St, Carlton.
Unlike some previous years, Melbourne turned on a magnificent spring day, reflected in the number of bikes and spectators who attended. There were the regulars, those who were returning after a short absence, and a number of bikes making their first appearance. Amongst these were three classic MV Agustas. A well restored 150 GT from the fifties, a 50cc Liberty sport and the 83kg, 83cc Ottantatre which is 83 in Italian. The gold & burgundy colour scheme of the Ottantatre was a factory option. Another classic MV on display was the relatively rare scrambler. Another bike making its first appearance was the 5-speed Motobi Imperiale Sport with its ‘egg shell’ shaped engine. The MVs and Motobi weren’t the only small capacity Italians on show. A couple of Gileras and a small capacity Laverda prominently parked. There were the usual 750cc and 1000cc Laverdas including the DAM race bike but also a couple of the now desirable Laverdas from the ‘nineties in the shape of a 668 and 750S. Moto Morini was represented by the 350 Sport, 350 GT and the 500cc Camel which might be considered Morini’s foray into adventure biking before adventure biking existed. As well as some modern Aprilias there was a 250cc 2 stroke on display which was once the bike of choice for many a boy racer. As might be expected, Ducati and Moto Guzzi were there in force with the Ducatis allocated to the street adjacent to the piazza, something which was introduced the previous year as the piazza was too small to cater for all the bikes on show. The Ducatis ranged from singles from the ‘sixties right through the various eras to the modern bikes of today. Amongst the bikes were Sports, GTs and SSs from the ‘seventies including an SS with clear coated carbon body work. The ‘eighties had a very tidy 750 Sport along with a number of 851/888s which were the precursor to the 916 era of Ducati superbikes. Moto Guzzi had a similar array of bikes spanning the decades including a few Mk I Le Mans, a bike which is hard to come by.
Whilst the bikes are the centre of attention, the Festival is also an opportunity to catch up with friends, something which can be a little distracting when trying to view, and in my case, photograph, all the bikes. Finally, being Remembrance Day, Jeff Jackson from ANZAC House reminded all present of those who had served and the sacrifices made so we could enjoy the life we have today before a minute’s silence was observed at 11.00 am.
ABOVE LEFT Something you don’t see every day, a Motobi Imperiale. ABOVE RIGHT Classic lines in this little Laverda 100 Sport from 1958. Teo Lamers’ pre-war Moto Guzzi Falcone. The bike! Look at the bike! Petrol tank of the MV Agusta Ottanatre displaying conquests.