In 1972, the first edition of the 200 Miglia di Imola was held on April 23. Launched at the initiative of Francesco “Checco” Costa, father of doctor Claudio Costa, the true creator of the Imola circuit in the early ‘50s and a great admirer of the Daytona event which inspired him to introduce the same formula in Europe, this race would quickly become a great classic. This first race was won by British rider Paul Smart, riding a 750 Ducati, ahead of Italian Bruno Spaggiari, also on a Ducati. Giacomo Agostni (who was riding the road-built 750 MV Agusta for the first time) dropped out following a mechanical failure. This win would mark the kick-off of a legendary boom for the world-renowned Bologna-based Italian brand, but also for the 200 Miles of Imola, which would be organised until 1985.
Forty years later, the 200 Miglia di Imola Revival celebrated this anniversary in great style, with the presence, among other well-known riders, of the winner of 1972, Paul Smart in person, very much at ease on a 750 Ducati of that time. The third edition of this event, organised by DGSport on the Racetrack Enzo and Dino Ferrari, gave this anniversary a unique flavour by offering the public an exhibition of Ducati racing machines in one of the circuit’s pits.
An endurance race, the “4 Hours of Imola Classic”, was also organised on Saturday at the end of afternoon, with no less than 43 teams on the starting grid. At the chequered flag, the British team Sweatshop Phase One – one of its riders was none other than former Endurance World Champion Peter Linden, from Sweden, - won the race.
For the GP and the 200 Miglia parades, the organisers secured the presence of several big names in terms of both competition riders and machines: alongside Paul Smart, Luca Cadalora (Italy), Jean Francois Baldé (France), Gianfranco Bonera (Italy), Roland Freymond (Switzerland), Fausto Ricci, Alex Gramigni, Marcellino Lucchi and many others, took to the track, as well as Loris Capirossi, who rode his former MotoGP Desmosedici Ducati, whereas Luca Cadalora was aboard a Yamaha YZR-M1 belonging to Jorge Lorenzo,
The Ducati parade allowed the owners of the beautiful Italian machines to experience the 200 Miglia di Imola Revival in a very special and close-up way. And by way of a nod to our “four-wheel” cousins, the public also had the chance to admire more than 250 vintage cars that took part in the Nuvolari GP and the “Prize for Passion” awards ceremony.
Text & photos M. Petrier