I managed my first full day at the show today. After all the newsletters (if you don’t get them there’s a link to sign up on this page somewhere) and the social media spin cycle, I arrived feeling like I’d already been, which was no bad thing. Working at the show gives it a completely different feel to when you’re a paying customer. It’s no bad thing, you just approach things differently. I made my excuses and snuck off from the SuperBike bar to take everything in. My plan was to find something that stood head and shoulders above the rest of the show and I found it after a couple of laps of the halls.
The Ducati 1199 Panigale Superleggera is indeed a thing of beauty. Of the 500 produced, all are sold out. Granted not all of them have been in the UK (the 30 that we got went out the door within weeks), but this is a £52,000 bike that has barely graced garage walls, sold out before the first bike has even left the production line. Ducati UK had a fully stripped down Panigale on the stand, it offered a fantastic opportunity to see exactly what’s going on underneath the panels. To be honest, it had us transfixed each time it rotated past. I’ve taken the liberty of including a very bad photograph that I took myself, if you want to see more, click here and take a look at this bike in much more detail.
The amount of new metal was a welcome sight. As was the welcome return of the buzz that I felt at this show last year. If you attended this show seven or eight years ago, you’ll remember it starting to feel a little bit, well, shit. The show shrugged off that feeling last year, when it felt like the effort of the show organisers had finally been matched by the enthusiasm of the paying customers.
Nobody is forcing me to keep banging on about the show. If you don’t know how good its become in the last few years, you really are missing out. I couldn’t help but laugh when I read on a forum last night that people don’t want to waste £17 to get in. Yes, you’ll end up buying some lunch, but it won’t be the first time you’ve encountered a meal in the middle of the day. Make a packed lunch and book a ticket, it’s a proper day out.