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.
The original steel-frame Zaeta belonging to Graziano Rossi. The old man did more laps than anyone in the blazing heat and dust.
To see when GI interviewed Rossi before (but it wasn't for the first time), click here.