Cafe Desmo 2009

Pro Italia throws a bike show.

Photography By Joe Barnes

Cafe Desmo 2009 - Motorcycle Shows

Cafe Desmo 2009 - Motorcycle Shows

Like Ferrari's Tifosi, Ducati brand enthusiasts tend to be deeply passionate loyalists whose love for the marque extends into a broader state of Italophilia. They're more likely to drink espresso than drip, dream of riding the Dolomites than the Dakotas, and have an affinity for the color red that far exceeds that of most Honda riders. So when Southern California Ducati dealer Bill Nation throws his annual Café Desmo ride-in bike show, it attracts the finest machines in the area. And given that Ducati reps consider this area to be their biggest footprint in the U.S. market, it's no wonder there's such a wonderful turnout. Alphabetically, brands entered in the show included Aprilia, Benelli, Bianchi, Bimota, Ceccoto, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Moto Morini, Laverda, MV Agusta and Vespa.

Nearly a thousand people showed up at Pro Italia in Glendale to ogle the four classes of bikes: Vintage, Hooligan, Sport Classic and Superbike. The panel of judges included designer Miguel Galuzzi—he penned the original Monster for Ducati and now runs Piaggio's design center (Aprilia, Vespa, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio scooters and Derbi). Fellow designer John Keogh was in from the U.K. (remember the "Super Squalo"? That was his). When former Sex Pistol guitarist (and current SoCal radio personality) Steve Jones arrived to join the panel, he immediately began negotiating for a Hypermotard. Rounding out the team were comedian/real motorcyclist Alonzo Bodden and yours truly, representing the world of moto-journalism.

While not as stringent as true concours d'elegance scrutineers, we judges took the challenge seriously. Newer bikes displaying originality, creativity and best use of parts & processes rated higher than those "perfect" machines made solely of over-the-counter bolt-ons. Runners had a leg-up over trailer queens, and we did our best to account for the unaccountability of "taste."

A Bimota DB7 in muted orange-and-black carbon-fiber took Superbike honors, while a tricked-out Paul Smart replica garnered the first-place trophy among Sport Classics. Orange seemed to be a bell-ringer, as that was the color of the winning Monster in the Hooligan class. And winner of the Vintage class was also deemed to be Best in Show: Ted Henry's gorgeous Ducati 350. This striking red-and-silver Single was a near-basketcase less than a year ago, and is now not just concours-correct, but a truly fun bike to ride according to its restorer/owner. Throw us the key sometime, Ted, we'd love to see if a few miles in the red-piped saddle has us screaming "Viva Italia" in our helmets, too!

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

Cafe Desmo 2009

The winner of the Vintage class was also deemed to be Best in Show: Ted Henry's gorgeous Ducati 350.