For my last motorcycle column of 2018, (My ski column runs from October til March)
I’d like to bring some attention to the Ducati marque. My editor wanted a Halloween
theme so the devilish red of this great brand is the closest I could get!
Firstly, I give you a local rider feature on the one and only Sam Helsel owner of the Paramus,
NJ Retro Fitness and a lifelong motorcyclist. I’ve actually known Sam since he went by
“Sandy” back in our high school days when we played together in a band called Prophecy.
For years he and I rode various Japanese sportbikes but eventually Sam got into Ducati’s. A year
ago he traded in his Ducati ST2 for the bike you see here: a 2017 Ducati Super Sport “S”. When Sam purchased his
ST2 back in 2000, they also offered an “S” version It had more power and an upgraded suspension. He kicked
himself for not spending the additional money back then for the S model but that is water under the Desmo
bridge so to speak. His current S model only offers an upgraded suspension but it is a sick bike none-the-less.
I was able to put about 100 miles on it myself recently and it absolutely blew me away. As Sam puts it, “The bike is
plenty fast and comfortable and does everything a motorcycle should do and does it well.” The upgraded
suspension helps a lot when Sam lugs around his kids in the pillion seat. As far as upgrades, it needed very little
but Sam added some useful Ducati semi-hard bags, a carbon pipe and he also wired it up for his Valentine 1
radar detector, heated gear and battery tender. Next on his hit list will be heated grips, a GPS setup, windscreen and possibly a trunk and a performance chip/airbox combo. What a sweet moto this is. Enjoy it Sammy!
Ducati itself has had a great 2018 logging some of it’s best stats in MotoGP racing as well as World Superbike.
Back in July the brand had a record turnout of Ducatisti for their 10th edition of World Ducati Week, the international
gathering that brings the worldwide Ducati community together every two years. There were 91,596 attendees at the Misano
World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, exceeding the previous record of 81,000 attendees set in 2016 by 13%. 249 activities
took place over the course of three days but one of the most exciting moments occurred on Saturday with the
“Race of Champions”.
It was preceded by a spectacular flyover of the Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team. (see pic) The race featured 12 Ducati
MotoGP and SBK Champions competing on the Misano circuit riding the Panigale V4 S, specially prepared
with racing configuration and customized liveries. This ultra unique race was won by Michele Pirro, followed by Rabat, Forés,
Miller, Melandri, Rinaldi, then Dovizioso. Siméon, Petrucci, Lorenzo, Abraham and Bayliss completed this one of
a kind line-up.
Ducati also gave fans all over the world the chance to buy the 13 Panigale V4 S bikes from the “Race Of Champions”
(including the one prepared for Chaz Davies who was unable to participate due to a training accident, and
therefore replaced by Xavier Siméon) through a public auction on eBay. Now that is customer service to the
absolute maximum. Viva Ducati!