A superb and rare photo, made from the original negative, of the great Fabio Taglioni, Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari celebrating their very historic and very famous 1-2 victory in the 200 miles race of Imola in 1972. This historic photo was taken on the 23rd of May 1972, moments after they were given the winners trophy! Note the finish flag on Paul Smart’s winning bike, this flag was actually used when he crossed the finish line as the winner!
On the Ducati with number 9 we see Bruno Spaggiari. In the middle, accepting the well deserved trophy, we see the famous designer of the winning Ducati: Fabio Taglioni. A man that needs no further introduction. Right, on the Ducati with the finish-flag draped over the fairing, we see racewinner Paul Smart.
That day a crowd of 70,000 people saw Paul Smart on Ducati win the heavily battled 200 miles race of Imola. Smart’s team mate Bruno Spaggiari finished 2nd. Both are pictured on the photo, as well as the designer of this an many more Ducati race- and roadbikes! It was the debut race of Ducati’s new 750 desmodromic V-twin, with its bevel driven overhead camshafts. Works riders Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari dominated the numerous factory teams in the race, finishing 1st and 2nd on modified race versions of the 750SS streetbike. It gave instant fame to Ducati’s V-twin sporting models –a fame that lasts still today! The photo was taken just after the race, when the two motorcycle legends celebrated their great performance in the traditional way.
The Ducati 750 Imola Desmo is one of the most famous bikes in the world. It is best known, and, of course named after, its victory with Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari in the 200 mile race at Imola in 1972 – one of the most spectacular in racing history. Much has been written about the fantastic final lap, which saw Smart and Spaggiari side by side almost all the way to the finishing line, but how this race changed the destiny of the Italian manufacturer has been relatively unexplored.
The win at Imola defined Ducati’s future approach to racing, with the manufacturer focusing its attention almost exclusively on production-derived machines. However, before explaining more about the importance of Paul Smart, Imola and the legendary “number 16 Ducati 750 Imola”, we must take a step back in time.
In 1972 Checco Costa bought the 200 Mile formula to Italy and Ducati prepared eight bikes to be ridden by Paul Smart, Bruno Spaggiari, Ermanno Giuliano, and Alan Dunscombe. The bikes had production frames and engines, but were prepared, as usual, in a very short time. Most of this work, however, probably still goes unnoticed, as it was concerned with the smallest details: wherever possible, each part of the bike was painstakingly filed down and lightened. In addition, new Dellorto carburetors with 40 mm choke tubes and accelerator pumps arrived just in time, providing a perfect supply of fuel for the big twin-cylinder, which delivered 80 hp at 8,500 rpm. At Imola, Spaggiari reached the finish line with his gas tank almost empty and so could not snatch the victory from Smart.
The Imola racers featured Ducati’s famous 4-stroke longitudinal split 90° V twin engine. The crankcase cylinder and cylinderheads were cast in light alloy; the cylinders had cast-iron liners. Bore and stroke was 80 x 74.4 mm. Cylinder capacity was 747.95 cc. The racers had a compression ratio of 10:1. Ducati was already famous for its desmodromic single overhead camshafts, driven by bevel-gears. It was also present on the Imola racing machines. Each head had two valves. The air cooled engine featured wet sump lubrication. Two Dell’orto PHF 40 carburetors with accelerator pump fed the fuel mixture in the combustion chambers. A twin-plug contact-breaker ignition system was present. The Imola racers had a five-speed gearbox and primary drive by gears, final drive was by chain. A wet multi-plate clutch was also present. The engine delivered a power output of 82 hp at 9,000 r.p.m. Enough for a topspeed of 156.25 mph (250 km/h)!
Underneath some more information on these incredible machines:
Frame - chassis: Duplex open-cradle tubular-steel frame
Front suspension: Marzocchi telescopic hydraulic front forks with raked pins
Rear suspension: Swinging-arm rear suspension with two Ceriani 310-mm shocks
Front brake: Twin 280-mm disks with Lockheed calipers
Rear brake: 229-mm disk with Lockheed caliper
Front tyre: Borrani light alloy rims, Dunlop KR Tires, 3.25 x 18
Rear tyre: Borrani light alloy rims, Dunlop KR Tires, 3.5 x 18
Fuel tank: Fiberglass fuel tank with 24 liters capacity
Length: 2,018 mm
Wheelbase: 1,530 mm
Rake: 60 mm
Weight: 360 pounds (163 kg)
Amazingly, these Ducati 750cc desmodromic V-twin machines were totally new, it was the first time they had their race outing. In a long battle Smart and Spaggiari beat the heavy competition of MV Agusta and Giacomo Agostini, three works Moto Guzzi’s, four works BSA and Triumph Triples, three works Norton’s and 2 works Honda’s… An astonishing feat for a new roadracer! It was an amazing day in Ducati history and it brought once again well deserved fame to Fabio Taglioni’s extraordinary desmo V-twin design!
The Ducati 750 ‘s were often used in production based racing on both sides of the Atlantic. In the early 1970’s, long distance racing was extremely popular in Europe, especially Italy. These events were responsible for the quick gaining popularity of the heavier sports motorcycle, like the Ducati 750 SS, the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, the Benelli 650 Tornado, the BMW R 90 S Daytona and the Laverda SFC 750; but also the Japanese sports motorcycles like the Kawasaki 350, 500 and 750 triples, but also heavy four strokes like the Honda CB 750 Four. Riders that would make world fame, like Franco Uncini and Marco Lucchinelli, all participated in these races before they made the steps to the Grand Prix World Championship racing scene.
Today, the Ducati Sport Classics models like the PaulSmart 1000, the Sport 1000 and the GT 1000, pay all directly tribute to the Imola era and the wonderful Ducati bikes that came from it!
The Imola 750 1-2 is regarded as the most classic victory Ducati ever scored. It is rare to obtain a photo like this, therefore it is printed in a nice large format of approx. 8" x 12" (20 x 30 cm). It is great the way it is, and would look gorgeous when framed.
We have more photos listed on Ebay of Paul Smart , Bruno Spaggiari , Dr. Fabio Taglioni , Ducati and other brands with various riders. Please check out our Ebay auctions and take advantage of our shipping discount! You can also always contact us with requests