Ducati Manchester runs an annual trip into Italy, alternating between the WDW (World Ducati Week) event and MotoGP Mugello.
This year saw the return of the extremely popular Mugello trip. We delivered the 26 customer bikes to our transport company the week before and we flew out of Manchester.
The flight is only a two-hours so before you know it you arrive at Pisa airport. No hanging around for luggage as we send all our bags over with the bikes, so it’s a swift exit on to the coach for the hour drive to meet the bikes.
Within two hours of arriving the whole group is ready to commence riding in the lovely 23 degree Italian sunshine!
A nice ride out in the Tuscan countryside followed with a brief lunch stop in a lovely market town with Italian ice cream for desert.
The faster riders in the group then set off like a MotoGP race start in order to secure the best rooms at the hotel (little did they know we’d already finished the room allocations).
Everyone arrived before 6pm for a quick check in, shower and back out for the welcome meal - nice food, couple of glasses of the local wine then in bed early ready for a big ride out with all bikes parked safely in the hotel underground car park with a very secure gate covering the only entrance.
Saturday morning arrived and we departed at 9am prompt and headed up into the Italian hills for an all day’s epic ride before an early night to prepare start for the highlight of the trip – MotoGP Mugello.
We departed at 6.30am and had a glorious ride up to Mugello, temperature was a lovely 24 degrees and we arrived at the track for 7.30am (if we had departed any later we would have suffered the horrendous traffic Mugello is famous for.
The Ducati Grandstand tickets also include secure VIP Ducati-only parking (gated compound with security guards) with a cloakroom for your riding kit – very useful being able to leave your kit safe and secure.
Race day was just brilliant, very exciting Moto3 and Moto2 races but then the crowds start to gather, the smoke flares are lit, the music volume increases, the Italian crowd start to rev all the two-stroke lawnmower engines and the party commences.
A fantastic race, which had 100,000 fans on their feet, was won by Danilo Petrucci, his first ever MotoGP win, so the champagne corks were popping in the Ducati pit.
At 6pm, after the crowds had jammed the exits, we wandered back to the VIP parking compound, collected our riding kit and had a nice hour ride back to the hotel for dinner.
Monday saw the group split into two, half the group had visited the Ducati factory the previous year and wanted to visit the coast roads, the other half, myself included wanted to visit the factory and museum.
We arrived at Bologna for the factory tour; the highlight for me is always the Ducati Museum. I always try and spend at least two hours looking at the museum, my personal favourite being the bike Paul Smart won at Imola in 1971.
The trip back to the hotel involved the Futa Pass, this road used to connect Bologna to Pisa in bygone times and to say it’s worth riding is an understatement, if you’re ever in the area you must ride it!
We stopped off at the Futa Pass café on the top of the Pass, which is a very popular meeting place for local bikers – we met a lot of friendly locals who actually thanked us for visiting their country.
Tuesday saw a two-hour ride to the iconic Imola race circuit and the weather was 25 degrees. Our guide for the day was a lovely enthusiastic young lady called Emma, who explained the itinerary for the day.
We had a full presentation on the history of this famous racetrack, followed by my personal highlight, which was three laps of the circuit.
Now don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a track day, just a chance to ride this iconic circuit and experience the inclines and descents, which only a ride can provide.
We then had the chance to do a parade lap which involved being able to stop at the famous corners for photos and a visit to the Ayrton Senna memorial at Tamburello Curve.
We had great ride back to the hotel for the final evening farewell dinner at a remote farmhouse high in the Tuscan hills - so remote the coach almost got stuck on a goat track, but that’s another story.
All-in-all another memorable trip, we saw so much, rode 1500 miles, had access to lots of things the general public wouldn’t see, experienced some fantastic roads, enjoyed great food and wine, met new friends and of Danilo’s first ever MotoGP win was pretty special.
You should join us in 2020 so for more information about touring with Ducati Manchester or want to book on for next year, give Martin Bridgehouse a call on 0161 973 9572.