Monday, 16 August 2010

Ducati's inspiration?

This is Omobono Tenni racing a Moto Guzzi Bicilindrica at the 1948 TT. He's in the lead and setting the fastest lap of the race, but mechanical problems meant he finished ninth. Tenni was nicknamed the Black Devil, one story says because after a TT crash he remounted and finished covered in dirt. He'd already used the Bicilindrica ("two cylinder") 500 to win the Milano Taranto, twice as detailed in Benzina #1, where you can see this photo in glorious high resolution. I was lucky enough to see a real Bicilindrica paraded by Sammy Miller at his Italian day, and he thinks the bike was Fabio Taglioni's inspiration for the bevel twins. And why not? Taglioni admitted being influenced by Guzzi's horizontal racing singles when he created the 750SS, admiring the way the design ensured plenty of cooling air and a low centre of gravity. Carlo Guzzi created the Bicilindrica by doubling up two 250 singles, and maybe if Taglioni had admitted to admiring the Bicilindrica rather than Guzzi's singles (when his 750 bevel was effectively two 350 singles) he might have been accused of plagiarism rather than genius.

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