This weekend at Monza, Infront Motor Sports, WSB promoter and organizer, will roll out a party celebrating 25 Years of World Superbike: “25 exciting years”
It’s going to be a great weekend with photo opportunity’s at every turn. A large lineup of legendary world champions will be on hand that for us literally lead from the past, with Doug Polen on the 851 to the future, with Troy Bayliss’s development of the 1199 Panigale. For a Ducatisti, a photo of Doug Polen, Giancarlo Fallapa, Carl Fogerty, Troy Bayliss, and Carlos Checa – multi generations of Ducati champions responsible for a huge chunk of Ducati history (and retail sales) has likely never happened before. It’s going to be something really special to see.
25 years is a long time and even the methods used to take this trio into history have changed. From pro photographers using film and pricey equipment, to DSLR’s to iPhone’s, at Monza, this lineup of Ducati hero’s will be Facebook’d, tagged, Instagram’d and spread across the web, as if a gathering like this happens every day. And to do this at Monza, well, that’s just perfect too. Straight from the SBK press release – “The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is one of the historic venues of the production-based series and due to its tradition and fascination there could not be a better place to host an event of this kind.” We completely agree.
Add to that a temporary museum exhibit that no one person could ever afford (or be lucky enough even if you did have the $$) to collect – on Thursday at 1 pm Infront will unveil the exhibition “SBK 25 Years: the Top Bikes”, with around thirty of the most representative machines ever to grace the World Superbike racing stage, including amongst others the Honda RC30 with which Californian Fred Merkel won the first world title in 1988. There will also be all the most important models from Aprilia, Bimota, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha and also the Petronas FP1, which together with Benelli, is the only three-cylinder machine to have raced in Superbike. The only way this could be better is if Frankie Chili showed up in his bathrobe.
In 25 years what’s worth reflecting on is just how far SBK has come in the quest for our entertainment dollars. Once considered a second tier series to MotoGP, that’s an opinion that would be hard to support now. While MotoGP might be the pricier circus, SBK has and continues to deliver consistently great racing. And they do it twice every race Sunday, with a full field of brands and riders from all over the world. And by all accounts they manage to do it while maintaining a paddock atmosphere described by all as “family”. No walls in the garages and bicycle gangs of rider and team kids racing thru the paddock. To maintain this level of competitiveness without the traditional animosity and drama found in most other sports speaks for just how unique this series continues to be. The most interesting thing about SBK is the racing.
It’s a remarkable achievement well worth the celebration. We wish we were going…. So many memories, so much great racing. Quite an accomplishment. Thanks SBK.