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22nd June 2012

Moto Morini Riders Club Trackday - 30 Years at Cadwell Park
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Dozens of lightweight sporty Italian classics on track at the same time. What could possibly go wrong? Martin Gelder very nearly finds out...

Eight and a half thousand, nine thousand, nine and a half thousand...

I'm so entranced by watching the sweep of the needle round the tachometer that for a moment I forget where I am and what I'm doing.

Eight and a half thousand, nine thousand, nine and a half thousand...Kerb!

Glimpsing grass - a lot of grass - out of the corner of my right eye brings me back to earth with a bump. Very nearly an impressive, expensive bump, given that I'm cranked over at full lean round Cadwell Park's Chris curve and about to clip the curb. Gulp.

I'm struck by the thought - which always better than being struck by the ground - that there can't be many other classic motorcycles that could take such a concerted pounding as that being handed out on this sunny morning in June. I'm running my thirty year old bike up to and through the redline in this corner on every lap, and it's shrugging it off, willing me to push harder. The bike seems to know that if I fluff a gear or back the throttle off for an instant, another Morini or two will come past. "Just keep the throttle pinned" it screams at me, "we can catch that 500 in another lap".

Getting air over the mountain... Paul the Destroyer (orange helmet) failed to destroy his Morini

Welcome to the 30th Morini Riders Club Trackday. Fridays don't get any better than this.

Nearly forty Morinis, another sixty or so classic or sporty bikes, a dry track, and one of the best atmospheres you're likely to encounter at a track day; perfect. The Morinis ranged from early singles to the latest watercooled behemoths, with every shade of 72 degree vee-twin in between. 350s with drums and discs, spoked wheels and cast, Sports and Stradas, Darts and Kanguros.

Like herding cats 1... Inside, they're all quaking

The non-Morinis on track encompassed the whole spectrum of motorcycling, from girder forks to traction control and from exposed valves to ride by wire throttles.

When I was 16 I wanted one of these, a Guzzi Le Mans or a Morini If you don't have a Morini, I suppose this is the next best thing

There were riders who were ex-racers and riders who were trackday virgins and, my opening paragraphs apart, conduct on the track was always gentlemanly despite things also getting as competitive as you'd expect when everyone is riding bikes with very similar performance.

Fridays don't get any better than this It looks serene, but that engine is screaming

Even the weather was on the Morini riders' side; the storm that lashed at the campsite on Thursday night abated for Friday's track sessions before returning with a vengeance after Saturday morning's ride-out, just in time to interrupt discussions during the club AGM. The rain didn't stop the concours judging, and it failed to dampen the barbecue on Saturday evening.

Like herding cats 2 Morini riders gather for Saturday's ride-out. Note that every single bike is pointing in a different direction

No Morinis were harmed during the course of the weekend - although I understand the club chairman's bike developed a stutter - and no Morini Riders came to grief.

Sidestand Roulette 1 I bet you never knew there were so many different shades of red
Morinis on now...

A magazine couldn't organise an event like this; they'd try too hard to 'theme' it somehow. And a commercial trackday company couldn't do it; they'd look at the number of Morinis on the road in the UK and decide it wasn't worth the effort. Only be a one-make motorcycle club could pull together something so damned good. Only the Morini Riders Club seem able to do it successfully year after year for thirty years.

Sidestand Roulette 2 Judging the Beauty Contest. Somehow my hacked about and neglected 350K won 'most original bike'. There's more than one meaning to 'original'

One-make motorcycle clubs like the Morini Riders Club need - no, deserve - your support. Join one now if you haven't already.

Words: Martin Gelder
Photos: Flat Tel, Martin Gelder


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