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9th May 2005

Ace Café Italian Day

Ancient and modern Latin Lovelies rub stylish shoulders at the Ace's celebration of Italian Motorcycling. Real Classic's Moto Morini riding Martin Gelder was there. On a Yamaha...

If there one thing that always makes the Ace Café's annual Italian Day fascinating, it's the contrast between ancient and modern. "Italian" is such a catch-all category that you're likely to find a thirty year old MV Agusta America parked alongside a three month old MV Agusta Brutale, or a bacon-slicer Guzzi single facing up to a pair of svelte nineties Bimotas (Bimoti?).

More red paint than you can shake a stick at. Check out the German Cagiva, too.

The other aspect of the Ace Café that is worthy of mention is the quality of the food. It would be easy enough for the Ace to fall back on its greasy spoon heritage and serve up gristly sausages, grim chips and grey tea, but a breakfast there is always a treat. Other biking venues in the UK could learn a thing or two from boss Mark Wilsmore. Just make sure you get there early if you want a seat.

Funny old thing, fashion. All of these were cutting edge in their time.

Two Aprilias, two Morinis, and a Moto Guzzi. Are there any Italian bikes that aren't classics in their owners' eyes, at least?

Note the Morini owners studiously ignoring the MV Agusta while discussing fork oil weights and individual cylinder timing. Probably.

Brown suede seat? It must be the seventies. MV Agusta 750 America mixed razor sharp styling, cast wheels, triples discs and double overhead cams with… a shaft final drive. How very Italian.

Footboards. Cool.

White "buddy" seat? It must be the seventies. If you were looking for a RealClassic capable of long distance two-up trips, this Moto Guzzi 850 T3 California would be a good place to start.

Random Guzzis on

Can you tell what it is yet?

Those Bimotas. I didn't make a note of there model numbers, but one was a yellow one, and the other was red, white and green.

Radial fins *never* look right.

Had there been an award for having the most sticky-out gubbins on show, this 50's Guzzi Falcone (I think) would have taken first place.

T3, Le Mans and Spada. Three of the best.

It would be an Italian bike do if there wasn't at least one bike with its side-panels off, its wiring hanging out, and a cluster of enthusiasts on hand to offer 'helpful' advice.

'There once was an ugly duckling...'

Ducati London even went to the trouble of providing an artic trailer to help owners of that fine marque get home in the event of mechanical mishaps or a particularly heavy rain shower (joke). Being a hardy all-weather Morini rider, I had no need of such services; my bike conveniently broke its brake lever *before* leaving home…

There's something on at the Ace Café every weekend, and most week nights. I can heartily recommend the big breakfast.


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