Today was a quiet day in Byron – mainly because it was raining for most of the day. I did get to the DesmoHQ on the outskirts of town just as the rain really started to come down. They have some tricked up bikes however they all went under cover when the water started falling!
I had a comment from Vince on yesterday’s post with some questions that needed answering with regards to this year’s Ducati Turismo.
Where do I start? On reflection (thanks to the questions) it was an unusual Turismo for a number of reasons. Firstly, there were only 60 bikes, in the past there have been upwards of 300. I’ve now been on 5 Turismo runs and this was by far the smallest considering it was held in a region where many riders could get to. Secondly, and this was probably due to “rule” changes, it was mostly a 1200 MultiStrada event with mix of Diavel, Monster and some superbikes making up the numbers. There was at least one if not two 1199 Superleggeras and a new Scrambler.
I think the average age would have been mid 50s as well, there were maybe less than 10 riders under 30 and there was a good vibe between the group. There were riders from up and down the east coast and the Scrambler came from Tassie! I enjoyed talking with the other riders, most of them being (very) long term Ducatisti.
The accomodation was good – well chosen and easy to get to the dinners in the evening which were in good venues. The Armidale Bowling Club had a separate dining room assigned to us and the Henry Parkes in Tenterfield was reserved excusively for the Turismo. The final gala dinner was at the Byron Beach Cafe which was very small compared to earlier events – probably because they only had 70 odd people to feed including the pillions. It felt quite low key, there was no band or grand finale.
I didn’t get many photos during the three day event, probably because I was leaving mid morning and getting in mid afternoon whilst I could hear some bikes leaving at 7 – 7:30am! This leads me to another oddity of this years Turismo – the length of each day. The longest day was really the first day with the other days being quite short in comparison to earlier events. I was surprised because in the past we would do 450 – 500 kms a day, this year it was well under 400 each day, even when I took some unofficial detours to lengthen the rides!
With only 60 bikes, there were large gaps between the groups unlike having 300 bikes and seeing some in every town or village en route. Some sections were quite quiet with more non Turismo riders for company.
The route chosen was “classical”: Thunderbolts, Waterfall & Nymboida, the Gwydir, Bruxner and Summerland Way with a smattering of side roads. All straight forward and not much consideration for other roads that are lesser known and more interesting.
Personally I think the decision to not allow the older bikes hurt the Turismo. I know that this was a marketing exercise to sell more new MultiStrada’s however, the older bikes attract more attention and get people talking about the brand, its heritage and racing programs. Most attendees had new-ish bikes and weren’t going to upgrade, so you could say that Ducati were preaching to the converted anyway.
Maybe the next one will be better – in 2017, I heard that the MultiStrada Experience will alternate annually with the Turismo. I hope that Ducati ask for feedback from the riders and take it on board.