Though it is known better for its exploits on race tracks, many two-wheeled enthusiasts should know that Ducati’s history extends well into the sand dunes of the Dakar Rally.
Nestled in the Ducati Museum in Borgo Panigale, there is proof of Ducati’s racing history in the Dakar Rally. And while the bike says “Cagiva” on the outside, it was an air-cooled Ducati engine that powered Edi Orioli and his Elefant to two Dakar Rally wins (1990 & 1994).
That machine was painted in one of the most iconic paint schemes ever to grace a racing motorcycle: the Lucky Strike cigarette company’s red, white, black, and gold livery.
So, to pay homage to Ducati’s off-road racing history, the folks at the MotoCorsa Ducati dealership have taken the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro and linked it to its racing pedigree, creating a unique motorcycle in the process.
The effect is a handsome motorcycle that remembers when the Dakar Rally actually traced a route from Paris to Dakar, and when the Ducati brand was thriving in the golden era of motorcycle racing – oddly enough, due to the massive support that tobacco companies were pouring into motorsport racing at the time.
Primarily a visual exercise, the “Lucky Explorer” features a few bits and bobs from the Ducati Performance catalog, and what is available in the aftermarket for the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro. Of note are the period-specific decals for Agip fluids, Michelin tires, and the Cagiva brand (check the windshield).
While Ducati doesn’t have anything that is race legal under the Dakar Rally’s now 450cc displacement requirement, it is interesting that Bologna hasn’t made a bigger link between the Multistrada lineup and its past rally raid racing escapades.
The lone Cagiva Elefant 900 in the Ducati Museum is about the only reference you will see to this chapter of the company’s history, which is unfortunate. It’s good to see that some people remember when Ducati was part of the original ADV bike movement.