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Bruno Spaggiari's Imola Bike in Australia

Posted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:46 pm
by aussieracer
Can anybody tell me who imported Bruno Spaggiari's Imola bike into Australia.
I remember it being imported but always thought Jack Walters bought it to Australia. He was a major sponsor of riders from at least 1949 through to at least the 1970/80's when he sponsored a number of riders on RG500s.
I read now that it was Ron Angel. I knew Ron Angel had it at one stage but thought Jak Walters was behind the importation. Anyone with knowledge on this??
I also recall Bruno's bike being advertised here in Australa for $4000, but I was a Uni student at the time and couldn't scrap up the funds. What would it be worth now!!!!

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:05 pm
by aussieracer
Well after a bit more research I found a photo of Kenny Blake on Bruno's bike with Ron Angel Tuning written on the fairing.

But I also found a 1976 photo of Kenny Blake on a Suzuki RG500 with Ron Angel Tuned written on the fairing, but it also has "Jack Walters Suzuki" written on it.
Further in the caption it is called the Ron Angel RG500 Suzuki.

So is Jack Walters behind the importation of Bruno's bike or was it Ron Angel??

Posted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:26 pm
by machten
As I understand it Ron got the bike almost immediately after Imola 1972, but I'll check with a mate of mine who is the rider in this pic. He bought it from Ron. ... php?t=2924


Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:23 am
by Steve Foster
I just got out my January 1973 Issue of Two Wheels with a picture of Spagiari's bike on the cover. The cover screams "Italy's Ace 750 Racers!" and it is also graced by a smaller picture of a Laverda SF-C.

The article is titled "Ducati's Imola Ace - the bike Bruno rode". The bike has a number "6", "RON ANGEL TUNING" and "Ken Blake" on the fairing.

Some excerpts from the article:

For some reason - he can't think how - Ron got into the racing department and became involved with the development of a new racer. "They've got a bloke over there, Fabio Taglioni his name is; bloody brilliant. I've never met a man who knows so much about bikes."

The morning after, Ducati had announced that they had made a gift of the winning bike to Paul Smart, so Ron, realising he could just be lucky and pick up one of the racers, decided to approach the managing director to buy Spagiari's bike while he was in a good mood.

This is where our interview with Ron Angel went a bit flat. No amount of prompting could make him even talk about the way in which he bought the bike - let alone how much he paid for it. All we can guess is that he must have paid quite a few bucks, as when we approached the subject for the first time we noticed an expression on his wife Evelyn's face, the kind that gives away a hint that however much it cost, she was (or had been) annoyed by the whole deal.

When landed, it caused quite a stir. An Imola Ducati is no small catch and practically every motorcyclist in Melbourne rolled up at his shop wanting to have a look.

In the same issue in an article titled "Top Test Bikes of '72", the "Ducati GT750" is named as the "Top 750". "The big V-twin gets our award as the top superbike ...".


Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:00 pm
by Macdesmo
I remember a magazine article saying that Ron was in trouble from his wife for what he paid for the bike. I also saw the advert for the bike and I have that magazine somewhere. The bike was very cheap for what it was. I always thought it went to England but I see that it is in a private collection in America now.

Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:13 pm
by aussieracer
Thanks for that Steve,

I would probably have that magazine stored away somewhere.

After a bit more research I found this on Phil Hall's site: The Kenny Blake Memorial Site.

It is an interview with Ron Angel about Kenny Blake and among other things how he obtained Bruno's bike.
He says:
Around about this time, Ron was the Ducati importer for Australia and he went to Imola in 1972 to watch the famous “200″ race. It was won by Paul Smart on the 750 Ducati but only after Bruno Spaggiari had led for most of the way and began to have fuel starvation problems on the last lap. He eventually finished 2nd. “I had a deal with Ducati that I could buy any one of the 7 bikes that they had at the track that weekend, but, when I went back to the factory the day after the race, the team manager was most upset because the factory, unbeknown to him, had already give the winning bike to Paul Smart.” (ED: Paul Smart is the father of current BSB competitor and BBC commentator, Scott. And Scott was Barry Sheene’s brother-in-law having married Barry’s sister). “However,” Ron went on, “It didn’t worry me because the Spaggiari bike was a better one that Paul’s and that was the one that I ended up buying and bringing back to Australia for Ken to ride.”
It gives a slightly different story as to how Ron obtained the bike but essentially that he bought it.

I do not know why I thought Jack Walters imported it, then after reading some more I thought it may have been a combined effort between Ron and Jack, but Ron does not mention Jack Walters at all in either interview so I suppose for all these years I have just been mistaken.

I hope machten does catch up with his mate about this and then I will have a third source.

Thanks again for looking up this info. Much appreciated.

machten: Please let me know what your mate has to say on this.



Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:46 pm
by machten
Spoke to my mate last night. I need to correct something. I always thought he'd bought it from Ron Angel. In fact, he bought it from Bob Brown who had it after Ron Angel (although he's not clear if there was someone else in between).

However, as he understands it, the circumstances of Ron Angel getting the bike are the same as in the Kenny Blake article. There was an agreement already in place for him to have his pick of the bikes (including Paul Smart's) after the race.

Certainly hadn't heard any mention of Jack Walters having any involvement in it.


Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:37 am
by aussieracer
Ok. Thats 3 for Ron Angel and none for Jack Walters.

Thanks Guys

Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:04 pm
by mgh1955
Jack Walters was one of Ron Angel's sponsors


Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:58 pm
by aussieracer
Thanks mgh1955,
So I am not sure what this means for the Imola bike.
Do you mean he sponsored Ron Angel to buy bikes, or that he was one of a number of people who gave Ron money to help cover the costs of running a bike
Could it be that Jack Walters contributed financially to the purchase of the Imola bike? I just don't know where I got the association of Jack Walters and the Imola bike, perhaps it had to do with Kenny Blake on the Imola bike and the RG500s that Jack Walters sponsored as well as Ron Angel being involved with both.