Friday, July 4, 2014

It was 20 years ago today........

That I started on this Italian motorcycle adventure.  July 4, 1994.  I had been working on cars with a fellow named Rob (now the mechanical side of Guzzi Spares Australia) and he owned a 907.  He found himself working at Moto Italiano after taking the 907 in for a service and finding they were in need of a mechanic.  Then about a month after he started, the other mechanic left.  So he rang me to see if I wanted to try bikes.  I went and had a look and a chat and then got a call to say that there was a Ducati training course in a bit over a week and if I was interested I should really be there.  I was, and then I was.

The first day was an M900 service, and my introduction to 2V desmo.  I learnt some new stuff (which I promptly forgot).  Day two was a first service on an 888, back in the days when first service meant a full valve clearance service.  Actually, the only difference between a 1,000km service and a 20,000km service (1994 model, probably 15,000km for one year only) was a fork oil change, now that I think about it.  As we were pulling it apart, I opened the throttles, looked down the inlet ports and fell in love.  As an engine guy, it was a most wonderful sight.  I still service that bike.

The training course also coincided with the first 916 in Australia being at the dealership.  I had no idea what it was, but everyone else seemed to think it was pretty special.

Of course, by the first time I had to do valve clearances on a Ducati (a 2V, probably an SS) I stood there with a dopey look trying to remember what it was I was meant to do.  Funny, but I find 2V valve clearances almost therapeutic these days.

I think the first bike I rode after servicing it was a Moto Guzzi T3.  Probably a dark green one.  Compared to the Ducati, the Guzzi were pretty similar to a car in many ways so much of it made sense servicing wise.  But I hadn't done a lot of road riding at all up to that point, and when I got back to the workshop I asked Rob if he could go for a ride on it because there just had to be something wrong with it.  Nope, just a Guzzi.  I did come to love them.  Well, most of them.  Some anyway.

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