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Ducati 916

Discovery

(from our Travels with Guido series MT256 March 2012, revised June 2020)

by Guy 'Guido' Allen

Getting sprung with a new classic, and other shed disasters

Having just survived the 2012 Honda Broadford Bike Bonanza (or HBBB - a big annual track-based classic bike meet, for those not in the know), I have a tip for those of you wanting to keep a recent motorcycle purchase quiet: don’t publish it in a national magazine.


Let’s back up a little. Last issue of Motorcycle Trader mag, I announced the acquisition of Nina the 916 Ducati. Though looking like an elephant on a bicycle when in the saddle, I’m very happy with it.

The one blot in an otherwise sunny world was muggins hadn’t quite got around to telling spouse Ms M Snr. She’d only just got over the shock of Klaus the Clownfish (a red and yellow Bimmer K1) being added to the fleet, oh, and Sam the Super III Triumph. I figured there is such a thing as too much information.

Now the wonderful HBBB was coming up and we were going. The catch was Trader was taking 500 promotional copies of the mag and, despite asking nicely, I was not allowed to tear my column out of them. Hell, it was only one page – who’d notice? Publishers can be finicky buggers.

So I guessed Ms M just might find out about the Duke up at Broadford. Then again she might not. Yeah, right…

Broadford bike bonanza

We arrived and, seconds later, a reader popped over to say hello. Let’s call him Bob. Close behind was an old mate, Roger.

“How’s the 916 going?” enquired Bob, politely.

I blanched, and Ms M blurted, “What 916?

Roger chimed in, “Yeah, how is the 916? That’s a cute bike.”

“What bloody 916?!” Ms M enquired somewhat more insistently.

Now, all of a sudden I had two conversations to deal with. One was easy (the 916 is terrific, thanks) and one a little more tricky (oh, that 916).

Clearly Ms M felt she had priority. I knew this because she was shaking me by the lapels and looking me in the eye in a manner that was not entirely friendly.

The situation was exacerbated by another mate, Paul, who joined in and offered, “You really need a much bigger shed. I’ll give you a hand to build it.”

At least Bob went home with a story to tell: I was there when the marriage broke up.

Ms M had by now lapsed into repetition. “What bloody 916?”

A tricky few hours ensued. Fortunately there was a cloud of noisy, weird and wonderful machinery to distract her. I could have kissed John Gee of Antique Motorcycles for turning up at a critical moment with his stretched Kawasaki Z1300 four-seater. Though he already had two passengers, he cheerfully said, “Hop aboard!” It was a very tempting offer – don’t stop till we see Darwin...

Among the scores of people we tripped over during the day was another reader, who we’ll call Jed. (As you may have guessed by now, I’m hopeless with names.)

Not only is he a reader, he was the under-bidder on Klaus the Clownfish. Worried that he might have missed a bargain, he said, “Please tell me it turned out to be rubbish.”

“Sorry, mate,” I confessed. “It’s a peach.”

We got chatting and he revealed that he currently owns 42 motorcycles. I’m always delighted to meet someone I can use as a worse example when my own acquisitive behavior is called into question – which, even though the tally is somewhere around a measly 20, is getting harder.

“I get a laugh when you write about revealing the latest purchase to your Missus,” he offered, before unwrapping his own story.

He keeps half a dozen bikes in a garage near the house, which Ms Jedette Snr assumed was the entire fleet.

It all went pineapple-shaped when she was wandering down to the other end of the yard and he unthinkingly asked her to grab a set of boots out of the machinery shed. Apparently that’s where the other motorcycles are housed. Expecting to see the boots, the tools of his trade and maybe the odd tractor, she was a little surprised to discover 36 headlights staring back at her.

Without revealing the full details, he made it clear that neither party was happy with the ensuing exchange. The phrase “riot act” was used liberally.

If anyone out there has considered engineering a cloaking device for motorcycles, Jed and I have our credit cards ready…

 

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