In February 1972 a handful of Italian top men from the motorcycling industry and race organizers flew to Florida to see what was all that fuss about regarding the Daytona 200. Among others, the group included legendary Ducati CPE Fabio Taglioni and Francesco "Checco" Costa, father of Dr. Claudio Costa and at the time president of one of the most prominent moto clubs in Italy, Moto Club Santerno of Imola. The two were very good friends and they joined forces to duplicate the 200-mile race on the magic Imola circuit, having realized what a fantastic race the Daytona 200 was—both as an impressive motorsport event and a very attractive racing formula.

Checco Costa (center) in his glory days, with Geoff Duke and a very young Giacomo Agostini.Claudio Ghini

The 1972 Imola 200 will remain in history as one of the most emotional and iconic motorcycle races ever held on a European circuit. The Imola 200 Miglia was raced 13 times, then the “Greens” applied pressure on the Imola administration to have all motorsports event banned from the Imola circuit. The quarrel went on until just a few races would be allowed at the circuit, including the Superbike World Series events, provided the bikes had some sort of muffled exhaust system.

Six Ducati 750 SS Desmos ready to go before the 1972 Imola 200. Paul Smart would go on to win on the Number 16.Ducati
Briton Paul Smart on his way to winning the 1972 Imola 200 on his Ducati 750 SS Desmo.Ducati

What will take place May 3 through 5 will be a revival with former champions parading on their old racebikes. During its fifth year, the public will be allowed on the track to meet their heroes and collect autographs from them. Among the big names, Virginio Ferrari, Phil Read, Mick Doohan, Troy Bayliss, Steve Baker, Johnny Cecotto, and Kork Ballington have confirmed their presence. It’s an excellent opportunity to get close to racing heroes and their machines at a historic venue.