Review: Ducati a Photographic Tribute

Ducati has a brand awareness and identity that far outstrips its actual size in the world of motorcycles. Whether it is at a bike night, a Starbucks or the latest Hollywood movie. it seems Ducati is everywhere these days. Everywhere that is, except in print.

There are remarkably few books on Ducati, so Ducatisti always have a cause for celebration when one is released. Today Ducati News reviews the new book, Ducati a Photographic Tribute from Ducati fan and professional photographer, Phil Aynsley.

Phil Aynsley has only ever owned Ducatis and it is clear from the first photo in the book, a shot of a 1962 125 Sport motor that features on the cover, that his passion for the brand has been well combined with his profession of photographer. Phil set out to make a photo book and has remained true to his word. There are only 5 pages of text, the forward from 3 time World Superbike Champion and fellow Australian, Troy Bayliss, an introduction from Phil and 3 pages from Ducati guru, Ian Gowanloch.

Gowanloch acts to introduce the 3 major sections of the book which highlight ‘The Race Bikes’. ‘The Road Bikes’ and Ducati before motorcycles simply entitled ‘The Rest’.

The racers section covers the obvious such as Troy Bayliss and Casey Stoner on the factory World Superbike and MotoGP team machines but also the not so obvious. How about Gary McCoy in 1996 on a Ducati 748SP! Or the gorgeous 1955 Gran Sport, the first model designed by Fabio Taglioni after he was lured away from Mondial.

The rest, of course, was history.

A favorite of mine are the shots of Raymond Roche astride the booming Ducati 888 at the penultimate round of the 1989 World Superbike championship at Oran Park in Sydney Australia. It is reminiscent of a different time, early in the series when it was hard to believe that a twin could beat the Japanese multis. A time when it was okay to race a World series on a track lined with concrete walls.

Oran Park has recently been closed.

The road bikes section illustrates how close Ducati roadsters were to the models which were raced, especially in the early days. Perhaps the modern epitome of this is the halo model, the Ducati Desmosedici RR. However the book is strewn with other examples from the 851 to the humble 500 pantah.

Of course the 750SS is included, and not just any 750SS but the one the author owned for 30 years.

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The beauty of Tamburini’s 916 is well represented, along with some of the more humble machines including a 100 Mountaineer. Tamburini’s other (failed) gem, the Paso is also here in its ultimate 907 I.E form. Such is Aynsley’s skill with the lens and passion for his subject that the book transitions from mere photography to motorcycle art. One of my favorites in this section is a series of 3 photos of the failed Ducati 500GTV parallel twin.

Phil highlights the mini Darmah styling beautifully.

Perhaps the most surprising part of the book is left to last. ‘The Rest’ is dedicated to Ducati products that pre-date the company’s interest in motorcycles. Here, we can clearly see the beginning of the famous Ducati style whether it be in the 1940 Dufono intercom or the various radios that are highlighted. There is the 1960 V8, F1 engine, shavers, drawings and even out board motors!

It is only fitting the final photograph is a profile of Fabio Taglioni from his 80th birthday celebrations in 2000. The engineer died shortly afterwards making Phil’s photograph likely the last professional shot of the great man.

I’ll leave the last words to Phil Aynsley himself.

“Ever since buying my first Ducati in 1972 I’ve been taking photos of them. How could you not?”

Ducati – A Photographic Tribute is a must have for any true Ducatista or admirer of photographic art alike. It is available in the USA from AMS Ducati for $99 and in the UK from Disco Volante for £65.00. You can check out sample of photos from the book on Phil’s site .

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