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19 OCTOBER 2020: WEST Australian motorcycle enthusiasts were able to forget about the planet’s COVID-19 woes for a day and pretend the world was normal, with a glorious display of beautiful bikes in an all-Aussie location near Perth’s Swan River on Sunday.

ADVERTISEMENT. Custom Bike Electrics & Restorations, Perth WA.

The 2020 Moto Italiane Ovest, staged by the Ducati Owners Club of WA, put more than 150 bikes and over twice that many people under the shade of some monster eucalyptus trees in the Perth suburb of Ascot, providing a stunning show of Latin exotica.

High-performance sports bikes (mostly Ducatis) predictably dominated the wheel count. There were 101 Dukes registered for display, 39 of them dated pre-1985, along with 32 Moto Guzzis, seven MV Agustas and a handful from other marques including Aprilia, Laverda, Aermarchi, Cagiva, Moto Morini and Vespa.

But it was a stunning little 1952 Ducati 98TL that stole the show.

Brian Ritchie found the bike at a flea market in La Spezia, northern Italy, in 2006. It had just one previous owner who bought it new in 1952 but who had died in ’62. The bike then sat unused on the family’s farm until the owner’s grand-daughter put it up for sale.

“I paid 1200 Euro for it,” Brian told The Bike Shed Times.

“It wasn’t in great shape, but it was mostly all there and it started and ran.”

As it turned out, finding and buying the bike was the easy bit — getting it home again was another story all together.

“Under Italian regulations, you can’t get a bike out of the country unless you are the registered owner,” Brian said.

“And as far as the authorities were concerned, the original owner was still the owner — so I couldn’t bring it home!”

It would be another three years before Brian solved the problem.

“I flew back to Italy, pulled the bike apart and packed it into three boxes,” he said.

“It was then no longer a motorcycle. It was parts. I sent the parts to Australia, using three different shipping agents, then reassembled and restored it. I only finished the restoration yesterday, so this is it’s first day out.”

Brian’s attention to detail was impressive.

“It took me 12 years to find an original number plate lens,” he said. “I actually manufactured one myself and was quite happy with it, and then tracked down a genuine one.”

CAPTION: Brian Ritchie with his show-stopping Ducati 98TL. When the rebuild required felt washers, Brian went searching. He found the right felt at a repair shop for pool tables. That’s dedication to the task!

Brian’s bike won best bike dated 1940 – 1984, as well as best in show, but it was only one of many stunning bikes on the grass. We gave the old Nikon a workout to capture these pics.

CAPTION: Ducati’s 1985 750 F1 was for all intents and purposes a replica of the TT2 600 race bike. We reckon it’s one of the best-looking Dukes ever made.
CAPTION: These days, most people refer to the first Moto Guzzi LeMans as a Mk 1. But back in 1976, they were simply the 850 LeMans.
CAPTION: Ducati released the Mike Hailwood Replica to honour Mike The Bike’s unforgettable comeback ride at the Isle of Man in 1978. He’d not raced a big-time event for 11 years and, at age 38, was generally considered past his prime. He won. The whole world cheered. The MHRs sound as good as they look, which is magnifico.
CAPTION: And then in 2001, Ducati released the MHe .. the ‘e’ for evolution as a kind of reimagining of the MHR. Ducati initially offered the MH900e for sale via the company’s website, purportedly selling the first 1,000 bikes in half an hour. Only 2,000 were made.

CAPTION: It wasn’t all Ducati and Guzzi. Paul Astill’s 1990 Aprilia RSV Mille was superb. It won trophies, too — best bike dated 2000-2020 and runner-up to best in show.
CAPTION: Sam won a trophy for his ‘most interesting bike’ — a 1991 Cagiva CX125. “It’s a two stroke, and it’s fast,” Sam told us. Styling is funky, with a single fork up front and single-arm suspension out back.
CAPTION: No Italian bike show is complete without a green-frame Ducati 750SS. Have you ever noticed how people lower their voices when they talk about them? Sacred metal.


CAPTION: A Ducati 853. Er, say what? We asked owner Martin how he made an 853 engine, and why. “You take a 748 and give it 916 cylinders, special pistons and the correct chip,” he says. As to why: “To push the motor past 100hp! The 748 needs big revs to really perform, but not the 853.” So now you know.
CAPTION: Chrispy Pearce is a DOCWA stalwart and was the event’s coordinator. He brought along a few bikes, including this hot 900SS which saw duty as a race bike at Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway back in the day with the motor built by Ducati whisperer Brook Henry. “I actually bought one of these brand new,” Chrispy told us. “It wouldn’t have gone like this one though.”
CAPTION: Speaking of Brook Henry … this Vee Two Alchemy looks to be still earning its supper as a ride-bike. Great stuff.


CAPTION: Custom Monster was a work of art and won ‘Best Custom Bike’ for owner Geoff Rossi.
CAPTION: Not every bike was addicted to Autosol. This 750GT proudly wore appropriate patina.
CAPTION: “How come this one’s not red?”

CAPTION: We could tell you a very funny tale about The Bike Shed Times Editor Peter Terlick running out of fuel on the way to the event on his yellow 996. But we won’t.


Moto Italiano Ovest 2020 People’s Choice Results

Category T/M*


Best Motorcycle 1940-1984 T Brian Ritchie 1952 Ducati 98
M Dave Skinner 1981 Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica
Best Motorcycle 1985-1999 T Ron McIntosh 1994 Ducati 916
M Geoff Rossi 1993 Ducati Monster
Best Motorcycle 2000-2020 T Paul Astill 2000 Aprilia RSV Mille
M Mark Venosi Moto Guzzi Audace 1400
Best Collection T Lex Harris
M Mal Craig
Best Original Motorcycle T Mal Craig 1974 Ducati 750 GT
M Brian Ritchie 1952 Ducati 98
Best Custom Motorcycle T Geoff Rossi 1993 Ducati Monster
M Chris Pearce 1978 Ducati 900 GTS
Most Interesting Motorcycle T Salvatore Toti 1989 Gilera CX125
M Dave Lunn 1980 Ducati SSD900
Best Motorcycle in Show T Brian Ritchie 1952 Ducati 98
M Paul Astill 2000 Aprilia RSV Mille



*T=Trophy (Winner) M=Medallion (Runner Up)

The Postman

3 thoughts on “COVID-19 be damned — celebrating the joy of Italian motorcycles, under a gum tree by the river

  1. Great photos of the magnificent display of stunning motorcycles. Great day out!

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