Tuesday, 17 December 2013

When GI met Valentino Rossi 2

Ever since I heard about Rossi building a riding ranch in his home town of Tavullia I wanted to ride it. And going to prove it's not what you know, but who you know, in early September this year I managed, being the first journalist in the world to do a lap of Rossi's private test track.
It was all down to my connections with Rolling Stone Italy, for whom I write a monthly column on motorcycle culture.
It was ten years since Rossi was on their cover, dressed as Elvis and the editor, Michele Lupi, wanted to catch up and chose me to write the exclusive interview. The feature was even mentioned on the national 8pm news.
It's out in Rolling Stone Italy, December issue (with Ligabue on the cover). GI
I was invited to do the interview, but I asked if I could ride the track while I was there. It was no problem, Rossi's right-hand man, Albi said, and rustled up a bunch of gear for me to borrow. Our old friend Marco Belli loaned me his 450 that was on wrecked, bald tyres. I rode like a wet lettuce, uncomfortable on the tyres and the surface is very, very loose, but I'm glad I did it. I'd have been happier on my own bike, though.
 Valentino, Gary, Marco
The original steel-frame Zaeta belonging to Graziano Rossi. The old man did more laps than anyone in the blazing heat and dust.
Above: Leathers hung up in the Rossi Pizzeria in Tavullia. It's a stylish place with just enough memorabilia to feel special, but not cluttered. In the courtyard is a well-stocked gift shop full of 46 paraphernalia.
 The Rossi Fan Club HQ.
To see when GI interviewed Rossi before (but it wasn't for the first time), click here.


Dan Yoder said...

Dude...youre a damn rockstar!

Dan said...

Nice work, GI

#48 Ronald said...

Shame about the tyres and the banana suit :) but i would have worn that to be there

Nick said...

Good one Gary

dudemeister said...

Immense mate!
Is that the boy Martin in the pictures with you?
I suppose you don't want to name drop more than once in a post!
What next,hanging out with Brad & Jo:)

Sideburn Magazine said...

Dudemeister, No, not Guy, it's the photographer, Carlo. G