Café Racer Season 3: The Ducatisti…and Breaking Ducati News!

04/19/2012

by Eileen Marable

There’s no better way to kick off Season Three of Café Racer than to talk about one of the biggest names in motorcycles – Ducatis. They are known as both superior racing bikes with a storied history of wins, and as high end rides that enthusiasts virtually slobber over.

You have to love a bike that has a name for its owners – the Ducatisti. That pretty much tells the tale doesn’t it? Once you own one you are now part of an elite club.

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Café Racer airs Thursdays at 8:00 and 8:30 PM, E/P on Velocity Network

No one knows about this passion for Ducatis more than the owners of Desmo Pro – a custom shop specializing in vintage Ducati repairs restorations and custom builds. Rich Lambrechts and Vicki Smith are Ducatisti. 

Rich Lambrechts is an engineer/designer that comes from a long line of master machinists and metal artists. Inspired by his Great-Grandfather and Grandfather – who both worked at Packard – Lambrects started out working on high performance open cars. His skills as a master metalworker (and just about everything else) made it easy to transition to the restoration of such high performance motorcycles as the Ducati. His ingrained love of the machine and the men who perfected the special style and performance of the Ducati is clear through his choice to specialize in these special restorations.

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Vicki Smith also got her start with cars – she was a race car driver for almost 20 years and discoverd her passion for speed easily translated to Ducatis. She dedicates her time to promoting the joys of ownership through maintaining Ducati.net and managing events she and Rich have founded to gather the Ducatisti to share their love of the special high-performance racer. Smith works with Ducati North America, and is also a noted photographer, historian and author. She can tell you what’s old and what’s new.

These are definitely the right folks to take us on a journey back to Ducati’s roots in Italy! 

In tonight’s 8:00pm E/P premiere of Café Racer Season Three, Lambrechts and Smith head to Italy’s leading racing shop to prep for a build. Now you know I can’t give away how their trip goes or what their build was like, but clearly these guys will show us what things are like in the beating heart of Ducati country! 

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One thing I can tell you that the timing of this episode featuring a Ducati build couldn’t be more interesting.

Just today Volkswagen’s Audi purchased Ducati Motor Holdings for a reported $1.1 billion dollars. VW’s Chairman had reportedly had his eye on the franchise for many years and only just lost out in bidding for the company in 2008.

The acquisition will make Ducati the 11th brand in the VW portfolio and it joins other Italian luxury and speed brands as Lamborghini and Bugatti.

The question remains, how will the purchase affect the production and design of Ducati as it rolls on into the 21st century? Ducati has certainly been no stranger to changes in corporate ownership over the years, but will purchase by an automaker powerhouse change the current focus of the company?

It’s hard to say, but likely not in the short term. Over the past few decades Ducati has been evolving as a lifestyle brand as much as it has focused on its racing bikes. In addition to the 42,000 high-end bikes it sold last year, Ducati has countless licensing and brand extensions that sweeten the company coffers, so why rock the boat?

The Ducati certainly has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a motor that attached to bicycles. First a motor, then winning racers to high-end super bikes. Who knows what's next? Just watch this space for any additional breaking Ducati news.

In the meantime to get you ready for tonight’s new episodes of Café Racer we are pleased to be able to bring you some personal photos from Desmo Pro.

We are grateful to the guys at Café Racer, and the builders and riders who take part in the show for sharing their photos with us. We’ll be posting more behind-the-scenes photos from the likes of Reverend Jim, Eric Bostrom and others as we get rolling through the season.

Drop by and leave us a note to tell us what you think of the bikes on the show and tell us about your own Café Racer!  We’ll be here with Café Racer every Thursday night at 8:00 and 8:30 pm E/P!

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Visit daily for posts about the shows and spirit of Velocity, an upscale male lifestyle network, featuring the best of the automotive, sports, adventure and travel genres.

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