Finally my Morbidelli DVD has arrived - with English subtitles – and, my-oh-my, was it worth the wait and the meagre £15 it cost (including postage!). The cover’s a bit uninspiring – a sketch of a racer that’s nice enough, but where’s the trademark Morbidelli pale blue? – but you don’t buy DVDs to look at the box.
What you get is an hour-and-a-half of something that feels like the BBC4 Timeshift documentary on old Brit bikes and the Rocker culture but of far more interest to anyone with a love of racing, Italian passion or even just the 1970s. Like the BBC4 series there’s a slightly whacky soundtrack and a lot of talking heads: but unlike the BBC4's talking head’s you’ll have heard of this lot; long interviews with World Champs Mario Lega and Pier Paolo Bianchi, plus Graziano Rossi and the old man himself, the incomparable Giancarlo Morbidelli. Many more contributors share tall tales of mechanics laying in front of the grid to delay the start until their rider could join the fray, and other insights into the 1970s Continental Circus. Of course it’s all in Italian with English subtitles, and there sometimes seem to be as many stills as period action – especially of the monocoque 500 we wrote of in Benzina #12 – but that’s the nature of trying to relate a history too many have already forgotten.
Producer Jeffery Zani has not only tracked down great archive material, but most of all has got people to speak eloquently, and in detail, of Morbidelli’s achievements. Having been lucky enough to meet Snr Morbidelli I find it remarkable this quiet, modest man took on the Japanese and won. He only quit when his son got a drive in F1 racing, and travelled the world to support his boy’s own quest for glory. But even now Giancarlo’s first love is motorcycles, as his wonderful museum and three world championships testify. This is a must-own DVD, and I’d love to see a reference book to partner it.
If you’re still not convinced I’m trying to arrange a screening in the UK next Spring alongside a pop up Benzina live show. But in the meantime, if you’re wondering how to get you biking fix when Winter comes, here’s the answer.