I raced a Magni Guzzi at Daytona last week and thought members might be interested in the story.
Scuderia Giannini races Magni Guzzi at Daytona. I was on the phone with Jimmy Segal of Cosmopolitan Motors (our main sponsor) back in December and he says, "Mike, do you want to race an eight-valve Magni Guzzi Sfida at Daytona this March?" What would you say!? Of course I said, "Yes!"
The bike was on the west coast being reviewed by Cycle World magazine, but it would be shipped to the shop, and we would have a chance to race prep it. I wanted to get my hands on it as soon as I could in order to strip off as much of the street stuff as possible. But the bike had to look good for the Indy Show (big motorcycle industry show in February), so I had only a small window of time after the show to prep it.
We set up Saturday, February 26th, and as it turned out I was sick as a dog that day and couldn't make it. No problem, I figured we would have one day at Daytona for AHRMA tech, and I could prep it then. So we get to Daytona, and the bike has already been safety wired, although since AHRMA is quite picky about safety wire, I did a few more things. The taillight, mirrors and side stand had been removed, but the headlight and horn were still in place. The bike had a Termignoni carbon fiber exhaust and a race chip for the fuel injection. The U.S. Importer (Chris Garville of Commerce Overseas Corporation) was a little concerned about damage, so I decided not to remove any other items. As it turns out I should have removed the side cover, because I raced all day with the tool kit still in it!
The first day of racing at Daytona was vintage only, so there was no Twins practice, but on the second day I had three practice sessions and three races. I knew this would be tough and I would have to pace myself after a long winter layoff, even though I had been working out and dieting, losing 20 pounds on a low carbohydrate diet.
The bike had the original street tires that had been flogged by the magazine testers, and since Jimmy had gotten us a tire deal with Pirelli, we installed a pair of new Dragons during our off day on Monday. I ran all three practice sessions, and got a little concerned about the rear tire's ability to make it through three races, so we had the great guys at Pirelli fit another new rear tire. The bike was handling great. The only adjustment I made was to bump the rear preload (via a knob) up two clicks in order to get more ground clearance. I was grinding a header pipe on the left side and a foot peg on the right.
The bike would do about 150 mph down the front straight, which wasn't too bad, and the Brembo four-piston full floaters were superb. As it turns out I was most competitive in my second race and I knew I would be competitive, so I used the first race to scrub the tires and get warmed up. In the second race (Formula II Twins) I managed a pretty good hole shot from the fifth row, and of course the race was red flagged, so I had to do it again. By the end of the first lap I was in sixth place and had managed to pass a few bikes and get passed by a few during the race. I found myself in sixth coming out of the chicane on the last lap. The bike in front of me was a short distance ahead, but I had always heard about the draft, so I tried my best to make myself as small as possible and to ride in the dirty air the rider ahead was leaving.
As we approached the tri-oval and the finish line, I didn't think I could make it. Then all of a sudden I felt the bike start to accelerate like it had been shot out of a cannon, and I passed into fifth place just a few feet before the finish line. I got a trophy, and Chris asked if I would sign it so he could send it to Arturo and Giovanni Magni in Italy. I said, "No problem!" I hope some day I can make it to their factory and say. "Hey my name is on the back of that trophy!"