Monday, October 29, 2007

If there is anything that evokes eroticism in a motorcycle then there is only one manufacturer, Italian of course, not Ducati though it's MV Agusta. I remember back around '81 some friends and I were just settling down to a pint in a pub at Swarkestone Bridge in Derbyshire, England following a glorious motorcycle ride. (For interest and those of Scottish descent this bridge was the farthest south Bonnie Prince Charlie got to before being stopped by the English. Pretty impressive when you think Swarkestone is about 200 miles south of the Scottish border). As we sipped the gorgeous Burton Ale we heard this sound like we had never heard before. Down went the pints and we all ran outside. There in front of our very eyes three MV Agusta Americas thundered past. Oh Lord what was there to do, three of the most rarest and expensive bikes ever made going past us - we must have crashed and gone to heaven without noticing. No we looked at each other, our jaws touching our chests and in total disbelief, we were still alive.

Twenty four years and forty bikes later something unexplainable happened. I chanced across an article that compared three Italian Superbikes, the Ducati 999R, Aprilia Mille R and the MV Agusta SPR. I read it, read it again and then once again. The SPR just did things to me, therein the article referred to the seventies MV Americas and how collectable they are now, never mind then and that the SPR would be following the same path. (That day at Swarkestone Bridge reappeared crystal clear like it was only the day before!) I need one, I have to have one, emotion took over. The next few months I scouted for the bike of my dreams then, low and behold, a brand new SPR, #250 of only 300 made, became available at a dealership, Corse Superbikes, in Wisconsin. This was it, a few calls and within a day a deal was struck and arrangements made to collect the machine. Of course living in Michigan at the time, February by the way, arrangements needed to be made - no riding this baby home! So a friend offered to drive me in his truck to pick 'her' up. We drove the seven hours from Charlevoix and visited our close friends in Chicago on the Sunday as I had arranged to pick 'her' up first thing Monday morning.

#250 of only 300 ever made in 2004 - two of them were used in the Movie 'I Robot'

Monday morning came and we're at Corse Motorcycles. There it was getting PDI'd it was everything I expected and some - they were sorry to see it go. We loaded it onto the truck and then began 8 hours of hell. We decided to drive back through Michigan's UP and I must say that probably 7 of those 8 hours was spent with me looking backwards as I was so worried that 'she' would fall over. Not in a month of Sundays of course would she fall because the way I had tied her down a full grown African elephant couldn't have moved!

So we got home, unloaded 'her' and the family all came out to view the beauty, and boy oh boy, was she a beauty, all agreed. The following weekend came and the roads were cleared of snow, well I thought so, on with the Aerostich and off I went. After 20 miles, frozen solid I came back safe and mesmerized. During the ride it became apparent that the four underseat silencers not only looked like organ pipes but created a sound that an 18th century church organ would be proud of making. Not only does she look beautiful she sounds beautiful - I that juncture I will refrain from any further references to 'her' and 'beauty' before I get myself into trouble, it's SPR from here on in.

Well the months passed summer came, I rode the SPR when and were I could, until I shipped it down to South Carolina just over a year after I bought 'her', sorry 'it'. I registered it in SC and rode around like a Cheshire cat where and when I could. Heaven, good smooth roads, warm, and sights never before seen what else was there for 'An Englishman in New York'?

Then it happened. The nightmare you would only have in the darkest of your slumbers. Sunday afternoon, I'm with some friends and believe it or believe it not one of them is the friend who drove me to pick the SPR up in the first instance who I had not seen since that trip. We were travelling to take a boat ride when I got a call saying that one of my bikes had been stolen and recovered but smashed. Please no, please let it be the FZ1, maybe the Monster but not the SPR. We spun the car around and drove to the location where I thought I securely parked my bikes. The closer we got the more I panicked and hoped that the SPR was untouched. We pulled into the parking lot and I jumped out to look through the wire mesh 8' high fence that was about 60' away from where the three motorcycles where parked. I looked and looked, the 'organ pipes' I could see instead of being horizontal and in a beautiful line two of them were vertical! The police were called, the insurance man turned up and eventually off she was taken - for good.

That was it, I never looked at it again for three weeks between the theft until it was taken away. I just couldn't bring myself to look at it. My friends and colleagues would bring one of my other bikes out to me when I needed to ride I just couldn't bring myself to look at it. The thief and the story that goes with this appalling incident does not warrant me wasting anytime here writing or you reading what I write let's just say the law stinks and the good suffer to allow the bad to continue to get badder - it opened my eyes believe you me. The pictures below show the aftermath taken by a friend.

Yes that is skin and do I feel sorry - no!

You can imagine what he looked like, no leathers and no helmet.

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