What’s Happening in Our World | MC M.C.

God Rides a Cagiva

Claudio Castiglioni was the most passionate motorcyclist I’ve ever met. And one of the worst businessmen. Or, arguably, the best: How many other presidents have been able to buy back their companies for pennies on the dollar?

Castiglioni, 64, left this world on August 17th after a bout with cancer. I was fortunate to be invited to dinner at his house twice. The first time was an ignoble occasion, as Claudio’s son Giovanni—shown here with his father, whose shoes he's now filling at MV Agusta—had just torn a corner off his dad’s car. Plenty of sons have done that, but not to a Ferrari F40!

The second time, loosened up from a few glasses of his favorite sparkling wine, Claudio took us downstairs to show us his personal collection of motorcycles: every Cagiva 500cc Grand Prix and 125cc motocross bike that had ever won a race or championship, plus the Ferrari-designed F4 prototype, a few Paris-Dakar racers and a World Superbike Ducati or three.

At the time I was racing Cagivas in supermoto and vintage motocross, and had amassed an impressive collection myself—in terms of numbers, if not significance. "The best way to keep one Cagiva running is to have two—or two dozen," I told Claudio, tongue-in-cheek. Even he thought that was funny.—Brian Catterson

Blowing Off (Anchor) Steam

File this one under Time Flies When You’re Having Fun: Mr. & Mrs. Tim Carrithers celebrated their third wedding anniversary in September with a long weekend at San Francisco’s nuevo/retro Hotel Adagio—two blocks from Union Square—and a Giants game, complete with cold Anchor Steam beers and hot Gilroy garlic fries. The 2010 World Champions beat Colorado 3-1 that night, finishing the season 86-78. Not good enough to make the playoffs this time around, but they’ll be back next year, and so will the Carrithers. Meanwhile, take what comfort you can from the gnocchi and beer on tap at Sodini’s, 510 Green Street between Bannam and Grant in North Beach.

Learning to Fly

"Do I need my helmet?" Aaron Frank asked Grayout Aerosports owner Billy Werth. "The helmet's not important," the pilot replied. "You will want this parachute, though—just in case." Frank skipped qualifying at the Indianapolis MotoGP to ride shotgun in the Pitts SC2 stunt biplane, and Werth's routine of hammerhead stalls, tailspins and 4G Cuban Eight loops made dragging knee at 180 mph seem pretty tame (view gut-twisting video at _www.grayout.com_ to see for yourself). Now Frank owes Werth—an avid Kawasaki Z1000 rider—a track day.


Somewhere between the racetrack and the airstrip, Aaron Frank made time for a straight-razor shave and a haircut at Indianapolis’s Moto Cuts GP—the nation’s only motorcycle-themed barbershop. With owner Danny Minaya’s Yamaha YZF-R1 parked in the lobby and bike videos playing on the flat screen, it sure beat Supercuts!

Mama Mia!

Through little skill or cunning on his part, contributing editor John L. Stein (not pictured) found himself an entrant at this year’s swanky Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where his ex-Paul Smart 1972 Ducati 750 racer shared the 18th fairway at the famous golf links with about $1 billion in classic Stutzs, Ferraris and Hispano-Suizas. How, you might wonder, does one transport an irreplaceable Imola warhorse? In the back of a rented Dodge Caravan, of course!

Mutha Russia

We were just past Big Pine Flats, somewhere between Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead, when we stumbled upon the Ural Gear-Up sidecar rig abandoned beside Forest Road 3N11. All was not well on the Eastern Front: The handlebar was twisted like a bristlecone pine and the front wheel was punched clear back to the engine courtesy of the adjacent tree stump. “Know whose bike that is?” the guy in the Toyota 4Runner with the caved-in roof asked. “It’s been sitting there for almost a week.”

Closer inspection revealed the low-mileage rig belonged to Irbit Motorworks of America and was supposedly in the care of one Wes Siler—blogger-in-chief at _www.hellforleather.com_. Apparently the transplanted Brooklyn hipster forgot the first rule of Sidecarring 101: Don't go anywhere without either a) a passenger or b) a 75-lb. sack of kitty litter for ballast in the chair. An ejection over the (very) high side necessitated an impromptu evac, and the Ural—decidedly unsecured aside from its camouflage paint—was left behind.

After Googling up a painfully embellished account of the rig's demise ("18 miles into the desert, hours from a hospital," uh-huh), we briefly considered distributing its remains around the forest and tacking the GPS coordinates to a stick for a fun backcountry treasure hunt. But on second thought, we figured Siler had enough to worry about, what with his severely displaced wrist and all. We're thoughtful like that.—Aaron Frank

Jap Bikes

When the guys from the car magazines down the hall asked if _Motorcyclist _had any old motorcycles to display at the 7th annual Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, California, we were happy to oblige. That’s Ari Henning’s 1968 Honda CB350 vintage roadracer in the foreground and Publisher Marty Estes’ 1974 Kawasaki H2 parked alongside the 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 from the cover of our June 2011 issue in the background. This was the first year the JCCS opened the gates to bikes, and there were more than 30 classic Japanese motorcycles on display. Put it on your calendar for next year!

Free Falling

While Aaron Frank was spiraling through the sky in a Pitts biplane, Ari Henning and Sport Rider Associate Editor Bradley Adams were doing some soaring of their own. The pair road-tripped to Mammoth Lakes, California, to enjoy some fresh air and chairlift-assisted gravity runs on their mountain bikes. Ari swears cycling skills carry over to motorcycling. We just hope this stunt doesn't give him any ideas for future photo shoots!