Centopassi

I woke up this morning, all pumped up about writing about the Centopassi, a motorcycle rally we participated to a few years back, only to discover that the Centopassi does not longer exist… And that’s a real shame.

So how was it? In a nutshell: mental. Basically it was 3 days’ worth of 10 hours of non-stop, high paced riding amongst the twistiest open roads we’ve ever laid our tires on. Oh and some passages off-road too, didn’t matter if you had a sportsbike or not. The police would lead / trail the groups but aside from this, the roads were left untouched, cars, camping vans and all.

Riders were divided in three ability groups: fast, fast and very fast. We saw people quitting on the first day after 16 hours on the saddle trying to keep up. Crashes left, right and center (especially one afternoon when the rain showed up). I came across a 916 perched in a tree at one turn. Mechanical failures, human failures, wrists failure. And one the best ride we’ve ever done. Doing hundreds of hairpins everyday was like compressing what an average rider would go through over a 10 year period in just a few days. Full throttle, spot breaking zone, compress suspension, brake hard, downshift, throw the bike into the turn whilst letting go of the brakes, engage back brake whilst accelerating and full throttle again. Braking changes the geometry of the bike so you learn how to use that. You learn how to accelerate in a turn and use the back brake to balance the bike. You learn the line for different types of corners. You learn how to read the road, its grip, it’s surface. You learn how to ride on gravel. And you learn of your mistakes like double downshifting and locking the back wheel. All this on normal roads.

Yes, it’s a shame the Centopassi no longer exists.

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