Massive stand-up wheelies and wild motocross style? Falappa's the man
Giancarlo Falappa stormed onto the WSB scene in 1989 on his Bimota before joining Ducati the following year.
The 'Lion of Jesi' was renowned for his wild, motocross-derived, fairing-bashing style that landed him either in the gravel or on the top spot of the podium. And he was the first racer to mark his race wins with massive stand-up wheelies. But a horrific crash during testing in 1994 cut his career dead.
You may well have spotted his motorhome at various shows and race meetings in the UK and Europe. Falappa said: "I have a Mercedes motorhome. On the side it has a picture of me riding my 916 in my last race, and on the back is a big lion's head. In just 25 months I did 254,000km in it and with that kind of mileage, it's my home.
"When I'm not travelling I stay in Bologna near the Ducati factory. There are several petrol stations and hotels round there that let me plug my motorhome into their electricity supply. Then when Ducati Owners Clubs or other organisations around the world invite me to their events, I drive there. They pay my expenses as I'd need a boatload of money to live like this off my own back. I've been to Switzerland, Norway, Finland, England, Germany, Spain, Portugal... Once I was in Oslo and the Ducati Owners Club in Greece invited me over, so I travelled 3200km in three days!
"I travel to race meetings too. I miss racing but I know my time has passed. My favourite memory is Brands Hatch, 1993. I won both races and, as I stood on the podium, a spectator lay naked in the rain at my feet! I did stand up wheelies to give the public an added show. The spectators were my first sponsors - they paid, travelled, stood under the sun and the rain just to watch the races, so I wanted to give them something back.
"My last race was on 29 May 1994 at Misano. I was leading the championship and my team mate Carl Fogarty was fourth. We were in Albacete for the next round when Ducati asked me to test an electronic gear change there - since my huge crash in Austria in 1990 I couldn't bend my left knee, hence the new system.
"During the test I beat the Albacete lap record by 1.8 seconds. But then the system got stuck between second and third gear and I came off. I was in a coma for 30 days. In 1997 I tried to get back on a bike, but my brain shut down. It can't take the stress of riding anymore."
Posted: 14/08/2008 at 00:41
He works for Ducati. I agree the guy was a legend. No-one tried harder - a win it or bin it rider.
Posted: 14/08/2008 at 07:16
Posted: 15/08/2008 at 21:28
Posted: 15/08/2008 at 22:07
You can find Giancarlo at any European WSB round.
Doesn't look terribly well mostly, and conversation with him can be stilted, but he's there, he's out and about, driving his camper from round to round with 'Il Leone de Jessi' plastered down the sides.
And he always has loads of girlys chasing around after him...
Posted: 18/08/2008 at 04:39
Posted: 05/07/2009 at 18:07
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