After staying up way too late during the course of our lengthy but incredibly delicious, multi-course dinner with Carl Fogarty, Marco Lucchinelli and Giacomo Agostini, we awoke on Day 3 in the resort town of Boario Terme. The plan of attack was to ride west past Lake Como to Oleggio Castello, the site of an old world castle. Joining in on this was Agostini, a 15-time GP world champion and one of the greatest motorbike racers off all-time.
The roads were still wet from an overnight shower when we saddled up Friday morning. Once again I was at the controls of the ’11 Honda VFR1200F with optional DCT fully-automated gearbox. With so many other great bikes available to ride part of me felt bad sticking with the same bike, but for this sort of tour you simply can’t find a better bike than the VFR. By no means is it the fastest (sadly, the Ducati Diavel is faster) it does offer incredible handling plus its one of the more comfortable sport-oriented motorcycles on the market. Factor in the convenience of the DCT tranny and you’d be a fool to want to find a better bike throughout the course of a three-day, couple hundred mile ride.
As soon as we rolled out of town we were on some great (but narrow) sections of curvy roadway. Speeds felt a little bit faster than the day before which could probably be accredited to Ago right on the tail of the group leader in an effort to speed him up.
(Top) Riding in Italy with Giacomo Agostini during the Dainese Italian Legendary Tour. (Below) Lake Como’s Aero Club where they literally deliver your plane into the lake so you can take off and land.
Even if you didn’t know Ago was 70-plus years old you’d think he was an excellent street rider. But when you consider his age and the fact that he barely rides anymore it’s literally incredible how well he was handling his MV Agusta F4RR. Not only can he still ride the hell out of a modern day liter bike but the guy is basically Jesus.
I’m not joking: every time we pulled off our AGV helmets there were multiple people, from the riders in our group, to men and woman that we’d run into that would always sheepishly ask for a picture or autograph. Ago would oblige with a smile. At first I didn’t think much of it but after witnessing him do that sort of thing maybe a thousand times throughout our 12-plus hour day together I have to admit the guy has some serious talent for being famous. Ago is the anti-thesis to the high-maintenance “too cool for school” Hollywood celebrity type. It’s cool to know that there are people like that still out there and makes me an even bigger fan.
After taking what seemed like a couple hundred left and right turns in rapid succession we gassed up our bikes and set out for Lake Como. Considering how large our group was it proved difficult to keep everyone together (the tour guides on this trip weren’t the most experienced and I even saw one of em’ drop a bike) so this time myself and another journalist from France got left behind as I took a leak in the bathroom. Normally I wouldn’t have much cause for concern but since my Verizon iPhone doesn’t work in Europe I had no way to navigate or communicate. Fortunately the cool thing about driving or riding in Italy is that road signs are plastered everywhere informing you which direction to head to get the the nearest big city. So I just kept hitting roundabout after roundabout making sure I headed in the direction of Como. After about a 20-minute high-speed ride we arrived in the city and literally stumbled right into the Lake Como Aero Club.
As the name implies the Aero Club is basically an FBO (pilot speak for airplane home base, fuel pump, maintenance, etc.) located right on water’s edge. Small aircraft are docked in the water on floats or a guy in a tractor lifts your plane in and out of the water and within a few minutes you’re in the air flying. I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere in the world and it immediately made me want to go buy a Piper Cub or a Cessna 152 so I can experience the thrill of piloting your own aircraft.
After eating a delicious Italian lunch heavy on thinly sliced meats and cheeses and watching women nearly pass out when meeting Jesus, er, Agostini, we veered north toward Switzerland for more cornering action. We finally arrived at our hotel for the night, an old world castle known as Oleggio Castello. After smashing around what seemed like a 1000 turns I was mentally exhausted and passed out with my head on the keyboard while everyone else dined at some crazy expensive restaurant on an island with San Carlo Honda MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli. Tune in tomorrow for our final riding saga in which we perform synchronized wheelies with Simoncelli, before visiting the Italian Air Force’s top-secret fighter jet hanger and running through stop lights with the police!