Jack's Pack: Riding the Ducati dream garage

We head to West Sussex to test Jack Gratton's collection of Ducati's. How did we get on?

By John Cantlie on Thu, 23 Sep 2010 - 04:09

Meet Jack Gratton. Entrepreneur, businessman and petrol-head of epic proportions, he has a penchant for a certain Italian marque. And not just the usual old knackers, either – Jack likes SP and R-models only. We joined him for the mother of all Breakfast Club runs…

If you can't wait, click to see Jack Gratton's dream Ducati Collection.

Jack Gratton’s involvement was typical of him; in for a penny, in for a pound. He’s always loved motorcycles, horsepower, speed and cars (in that order). One of my favourite Jack moments was taking a pair of Mitsubishi Evos to a test-track, driving around completely sideways at impossible speeds, until Jack slammed into a concrete kerb and smashed both wheels clean off his car.

“Bugger!” he leapt out, laughing. “How the devil am I going to get home now?” He’s a huge man, both in stature and character, with the attention span of an 8 year-old who cannot tolerate anything remotely boring and laughs long and hard. Think Rubeus Hagrid in beaten-up leathers losing the front at 150mph while riding round the outside of everyone down Craner Curves; that’s Mr Gratton.

Some of his bikes came from Wales, one from Scotland, while the Ducati SP3 is the most special of the lot. “I found it in Italy,” grins Jack. “Brand new and never ridden, it’s got 7km on the clock and cost 20,000 Euros.” It’s the only non-runner of the lot. The bikes live in Jack’s house next to the potted plants and, bizarrely, stacks of expensive china plates. Manoeuvring 200 kilo motorcycles around such delicate surroundings is not easy in leathers.

Getting 10 people to ride 10 rare motorcycles owned by a person who’s much bigger and stronger than you is a considered process. All £145,000-worth of bikes were covered under our insurance, but our insurance had no idea what I’d planned and making a claim was not a situation I was keen to entertain. So, with the exception of our 23 year-old intern Ian who didn’t know what a Ducati 888 was, our Breakfast Clubbers consisted of older people who were unlikely to launch one of Jack’s Ducatis into a tree.

Continue reading the Ducati dream garage 2/4.

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