I had read quite a lot about the belt-driven camshaft Ducatis. They sounded like a more efficient design and their racing successes were self-evident. I decided that an original 500 Pantah would be a good entry point. I asked my friend in Sydney to have a look for a deserving candidate. He found one fairly quickly and airfreighted it to NZ for me. My first look at it was when I went to the airport to collect it.

I was travelling in my work Bedford van which had plenty room to accommodate the bike, but no tie-downs. As I had my apprentice with me, I simply got him to sit on the bike and keep the brakes on all the way home.

It sure was a sweet little bike.

I had a plan for it. The BEARS Sound of Thunder meet was coming up and I figured I should have a crack at racing. I went out to practice on a wet Saturday. At some stage the oil light came on. In the Pits I borrowed a spanner and loosened the switch several turns. Fired it up and oil oozed out around the loose threads. I figured it had oil pressure and removed the wire for the oil light.

Rode back out on the Sunday ready to go. A couple of mates were racing so we combined forces - and tools.

The bike performed faultlessly, although it was way overgeared for the track. I had only had the bike 2 weeks so had no time to mess with it.

I soon found out who I was most matched with as far as our lap times went, and the races became just them and me. Great fun.

The main problem I had during the event was that I could not hear my bike. I had a standard road-legal exhaust which was drowned out by all the rest of the machines in the field with their unrestricted systems. This meant I could only make gearchanges by watching the tacho, and that meant taking my eyes off what was really going on. Rather difficult.

I stripped a pair of tyres in 3 races. I decided that racing was probably a bit out of my budget. Another problem arose in the form of a relationship split-up. The Ducati had to be turned into revenue.

That was the end of this threesome.