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.