PERTH’S best Italian bikes were on show at Whiteman Park today for the 2016 Moto Italiane Ovest.
The weather gods were kind as spectators mingled with exhibitors to ogle a truly wonderful collection of old, middle-aged and modern Latin lovelies.
Ducati was the dominant marque, as you’d expect, backed up by a good show from Moto Guzzi and a smattering of Laverda, MV Agusta, Aprilia, Benelli, and a solitary Parilla. (Parilla, you ask? Moto Parilla built bikes from the mid 1940s through to the mid-60s. The early bikes were Norton-based, followed by some two-stroke commuters, and then their signature “high-cam” models before they closed their doors. The example on show at the ovest was one of the latters, and a beauty.)
Our favourites on the day included an early 500 Ducati Pantah, a loverly Laverda Jota, a couple of Ducati Mike Hailwood Replicas including a later ‘Evolution’ variant, and a pair of first-generation Guzzi LeManses.
The Bike Shed Times ‘Bike Of The Show’ award went to a breath-taking 1973 Ducati 750 Sport that looked absolutely brand-spanking new.
Check out the close-up pics (click on each pic for a nice close-up sticky-beak) and you’ll see what we mean. Those 32mm Dellortos don’t look like they’ve even smelled petrol.
One of the proudest exhibitor couples at the Ovest was Julie and Bruce Davis with their very original Moto Guzzi LeMans 850. The bike is known to most of us as the Mark I LeMans, but it was just called the LeMans 850 when it was released in 1976. With 71 horsepower and a top speed of 130mph, it was a sensation back in the day. Bruce’s bike was bought new by Julie’s father, Bruce Williams, who used it to hoon around with one of his mates on his Ducati 900 Super Sport. In later years, Bruce the younger occasionally joined them on his GSX1100.
The old LeMans has become a family heirloom now and is still in fine fettle. Bruce says the bike loved a track day outing at Barbagallo Raceway, where its handling and linked brakes (the foot lever operates the single rear and one of the two front discs) worked a treat.