Eleven of the most beautiful Grand Prix racing motorcycles of the 500cc era will be brought together at this year’s Carole Nash Classic Mechanics show, held at the Stafford Showground on the weekend of October 13-14, with a special display paying tribute to the 40 year history of Cagiva.
The small Italian factory appeared in 500cc Grands Prix in the late 1970s and was a perennial underdog throughout the 1980s. Cagiva shocked the racing world in 1991, when they secured the services of four-time champion Eddie Lawson to race for them, and the American was a regular top six finisher and took two podium finishes as he gave the factory a best ever sixth in the standings. In 1992 ‘Steady Eddie’ slipped back to ninth in the championship, despite scoring the factory’s first ever international win when he made an inspired choice of slick tyres on a wet-but-drying track at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Despite the mediocre results, the Cagivas were always hugely popular due to their stunning good looks and the fact that they were the sole opposition to the big Japanese factory efforts. Painted in traditional Italian racing red and without gaudy tobacco sponsors, the Cagivas stood out against the Hondas, Suzukis and Yamahas on the grid.
Cagiva’s last hurrah came in 1994, when John Kocinski finished third in the world championship on the stunningly beautiful C594. The mercurial American had joined the squad towards the end of the 1993 season, when he won the final race of the year, and he took another win in the opening race of 1994 – the Australian Grand Prix at Eastern Creek.
That would be Cagiva’s last victory, but a string of steady results saw the former 250cc world champ end the year third in the standings, just two points behind vice champion Luca Cadalora.
With Cagiva focusing on the Ducati brand in world superbikes, it pulled out of Grand Prix racing at the end of 1994. Superbike rider Pierfrancesco Chili made a one-off appearance at the 1995 Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, where he finished 10th, but with that the racing history of Cagiva was finished.
In total 11 Cagivas will make it to Stafford, including the race winning bikes of Lawson and Kocinski. Father and son collectors Martyn and Dean Simpkins own the bikes, and their entire collection is being shown together in public for the first time.
As well as the bikes, two world champion riders from Cagiva history will be in attendance as guests of honour. Jon Ekerold, a factory Cagiva rider in 1982, and Pier Paolo Bianchi, a Cagiva racer in 1988, will be reunited with their old machines for the weekend and will be interviewed on stage by compere Steve Plater.
The Carole Nash Classic Mechanics Show at Stafford is the biggest classic bike show in the world of its kind, thousands of classic bikes on display.
Discounted advance tickets for the show are now on sale, with a one-day adult pass costing priced £12, a £2 saving on the gate price.
Visit http://www.classicbikeshows.com/event/carole-nash-classic-motorcycle-mechanics-show/ for further information and to book your ticket.
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