The Day Agostini Came To Town

Posted to the Aigor mailing list 15.2.99 by John Ferguson

Went down to Philip Island yesterday, along with perhaps two thirds of the known Guzzis in Victoria, to see Agostini and his MVs.

Ago was there as part of the "Island Classic" historic meet. It was simply amazing. They had four MVs, a 350 six, a 350 triple and a pair of 500s. Inside the pit garage there was just a simple rope barrier between us riff-raff and the bikes, which were just out of reaching range.

The camp followers were having a ball, signing stuff, putting kids on the bikes for photos etc. One cunning kid, all of six years old, managed an MV cap for the photo. After the photo he got off and ran for his life, complete with cap. Half team MV pursued and caught him. No freebies!

Before each of the "demo" runs, the bikes were wheeled into the pit lane. Every one stood around at a respectful and revential distance as if there were barriers, but there were none. After a while the crowd collectively realised that there was no need to stand back, and courageous souls began to snoop and peer at close range.

Ago and three other similar aged, round-bellied riders appeared and in a very matter of fact way they simply pushed off and rode. No girly warming up engines or anything like that, just turn it on, bump, and sink the boots as the hit the end of pit lane.

The demos were good. Very good. Demos, not parade laps. The four of them staged little dices for everyone's amusement, not least their own. Ago was running 2'13"s in the second demo, 15-20" outside the unlimited post classic record, so was being at least partly serious.

Words cannot describe the sound. For a start, there's a bloody lot of it. From along the straight you could hear every gear change on each bike right around the circuit, even coming out of Siberia. I stood at the concrete wall in pit lane for the first demo. Now I have heard ear-splitting noise. Particularly with the six, it hurt. It was perhaps 10' from me on the straight, at full song, but it hurt just the same.

After the 15 or 20 minutes of demo ride the bikes returned to the pit. Ago was mobbed for photos, autographs etc, and welcomed it. The whole entourage was having a very happy time, and it showed.

There had been a "meet Ago" session somewhere. Question of the night was put by "Jerry-can Jeff" of MGOCV, and he'll be long known as the man who asked Giacomo Agostini "What do I have to do to get a ride on the 350 six?"

Top day, it was. Anyone not there missed out.

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