Words by: JPS
There's something about the red and blue Martini Racing livery, rivalled perhaps only by the equally gonad-grabbing blue and orange Gulf Oil colors
that can instantly make any vehicle their painted on look infinitely cooler. Of course it doesn't hurt that the iconic stripes have adorned some of the most successful racing machines ever to leave rubber on tarmac (or dirt).Of course over the years they've inspired a host of homages, with various degrees of success (Martini Racing speedboat: yes. Go-kart, not so much.) And at this remove, it's sometimes hard to tell which of the many striped speed machines can lay legitimate claim to the colours.
Originally, according to a 1987 book called Martini Racing Story, the Italian vermouth company's sponsorship was limited to Porsche and Lancia rallying and endurance racing, Brabham and Lotus F1 cars, and a few offshore powerboats. Martini-liveried motorcycles seem mostly to be tributes to the cars, which is all well and good when executed with taste and style, like the Ducati 1098 some years back. Others like a Harley XL883R dont quite cut it. But a BMW Motorcycle dealer in Toulouse, France did all right with its own homage recently, based on the BMW R NineT, itself a tribute to BMW's 90 years of building motorbikes. The R NineT Martini is alright by us; we'd love to take it for a spin up the coast. Any coast.
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