“Labor Day is a holiday observed that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers, who sometimes use that power to give a good guy what he deserves” (loosely borrowed from Wikipedia)
Things weren’t working out the way he had planned. With a baby on the way, the due date looming, and no steady job in sight, Darin Fowler was facing some tough choices and it was pretty clear the only way out was to sell his Ducati Monster. He’d tried everything but when the local Ducati dealer offered to buy it outright he saw it was a favor he couldn’t pass up. The worst part was, like so many Ducati owners, the bike was a big part of his social life. He really loved being part of the Ducati family. Most of his friends were active in the local Ducati club, DesmOhio, and while it just wasn’t going to be the same without it, life was moving forward and maybe it was time to leave that part behind. So Darin man’d up, took the bike to Northern Ohio Ducati and tried hard not to look back. His friends weren’t helping much either, kept asking when he was getting another bike. Ninety days after he sold the Monster, now the proud father of a new baby daughter, the DesmOhio club President (and CycleCat owner), Chris Calovini, called him and said he’d found a cheap crashed 900 Supersport that had Darin’s name all over it and he had made a deal with the owner, who just wanted it out of his garage. Darin could pay him when he got the money. Darin couldn’t believe it. His reply? “Chris, I got laid off today”.
The thing about Darin is he’s a guy who rarely asks for help but who often gives it to others. We’ve all known guy’s like this. Proud, capable and down on their luck. But this time the story has a twist and the guy got help, a lot of help, that he didn’t ask for, or even know about. His friends, and it was a pretty big group, got together and put the crashed Supersport together. It started as “lets just get it some bodywork and a look over to make sure it’s safe” . But these are Ducati guys and that just didn’t seem, well, enough. Chris in particular was a guy who couldn’t leave things alone and that went for some of the other guys too, so the stock, crashed Supersport, inspired by a pair of good looking highly modified Ducati’s the group had seen on the Cafe Racer TV show, just kept evolving. One by one the Desmohio members contributed money, hours, parts, fabrication and ideas to the Supersport. Even Darin’s wife and father were in on it.
Keeping the secret took on epic proportions, at one point Darin was sitting right next to his half finished bike, but he had no idea. The club web forum had a nine page thread about the project but once again Darin had no clue, his email was locked out so he never even saw it. It went on for months. As the bike grew from a pile of parts to a restructured beauty, Darin was dealing with being a new father and settling in to the new job he had started. Things were looking up, maybe that light in the tunnel wasn’t a train after all.
When he heard the Northern Ohio Ducati dealer was having an open house he thought it might be a chance to test out a Panigale, at least get a little ride in, and hang with his Ducati friends for the day. He didn’t think much about the covered up bike in the middle of the showroom, something about it being a surprise for the dealers Dad. Which is how he found himself listening to Chris talking about this bike in the middle of the showroom, ( the uncovered Supersport, now a head turning custom) Chris not making a lot of sense, and then Chris putting a key on a lanyard on Darin’s neck and telling him “this is your bike”. It began to dawn on him when he looked at the faces of the people in the room, there must have been forty of them, all smiling, because in that room, on that day, he was the only one that wasn’t in on it. Everybody else in the room had kept the secret.
For Darin, it was all a dream. It took him hours to really grasp what they had accomplished and when it finally did, he broke down and cried. He thought about the bike, and the things they had done – the completely handmade custom exhaust, the hours they spent, and especially the pieces they had used inside the mufflers, recycled from a dearly missed club member’s final ride, so that the music he heard was what used to be Bill’s. None of it was lost on him, as the guy who usually did the doing he knew what it took. He wonders why they would do this for him. He wonders if he is worthy. He say’s the whole experience, even now, just boggles his mind. He sits in his garage and looks at his Ducati and all he can come up with is “wow”.
Darin’s questions never crossed the minds of Chris, the DesmOhio members or Carl and the folks at Northern Ohio Ducati as they worked together on a Ducati brotherhood version of “no man left behind”. They knew he was worthy. And they had covered all the bases, even the included complementary visit to Carl for a full service, safety check and dyno run. The mission complete, the Desmohio Ducati family was whole again, Darin wasn’t left behind. And in the end, who was the big winner? You would think it was Darin but it might have been his friends. This labor of love spread it’s wings and effected everybody involved. The proof is in the photos, see for yourself….
For the build photos click HERE
To see the video of the bike presentation to Darin, click HERE
UPDATE – For more build photos, click HERE