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Digital Subscriptions >  Blog > Johnny come lately! Riding the Cagiva V593!

Johnny come lately! Riding the Cagiva V593!
Classic Motorcycle Mechanics

Johnny come lately! Riding the Cagiva V593!

Posted Tuesday, 5 February 2019   |   94 views   |   Aviation & Transport   |   Comments (0) Jeff Ware rides the most beautiful two-stroke race machine ever, but it cost an arm and a leg! Find out about his historic Cagiva V593, plus a preview of some fantastic features on Japanese classics!

“I won’t tell you what it cost me but it wasn’t cheap. More than my house! Anyway, what price can you put on a piece of history like this? It is a very rare and beautiful machine. Don’t fall off it!”

This Cagiva V593 belonged to huge motorcycle fan and avid collector Steve Byrne when I rode it. The bike held a spot at Steve’s bar with Andrew Pitt’s world-title winning ZX-6RR. Steve’s other 18 bikes live in the garage.

Like I said, Steve is a bike nut.

When he heard that the then-MV Agusta Aussie importer and distributor Paul Feeney was selling the V593 that John Kocinski won the Australian GP on in 1994, Steve just had to have it. Naturally, when Steve offered me a ride and a private day to do it at Queensland Raceway, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes!

I think this is the first time I’ve felt true fear from a motorcycle. And I mean trouser-filling fear!


The bike is invaluable and has a lot of important history. Cagiva entered Grand Prix racing in the late 1970s and was fighting the ultra-rich Japanese manufacturers that had seemingly unlimited budgets. To compete, Cagiva often had to copy what the Japs had built (officially, they received help from Yamaha in the late 1980s) and had to get riders who were perhaps a bit past their best or young up-and-comers. Rumour has it Barry Sheene was approached in the early 1980s; they employed the likes of Alex Barros (young) and Ron Haslam (old) in 1990, but perhaps their most famous riders were Randy Mamola (who took their first podium finish at Spa in 1988) and Eddie Lawson who rode in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


Eddie gave Cagiva their debut victory on a drying track in the 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix before he retired. Then, in came some younger guns, the likes of Aussie Mat Mladin and Doug Chandler for 1993, but at the end of that year, the Italian factory managed to get hold of John Kocinski, who had

been dumped by Suzuki’s 250cc GP squad.


He took Cagiva’s first dry-weather win at his home circuit of Laguna Seca.

Things looked good at the start of 1994, too. Johnny K won at Eastern Creek at the season opener and backed this up with pole position and second at the next round at Shah Alam, Malaysia. At the end of the season on the updated V594, Kocinski finished the 1994 championship in third position but sadly that was the end of the line for Cagiva in the series, apart from a one-off return by Pier-Francesco Chili at Mugello in 1995. The firm – which was owned by Claudio and Gianfranco Castiglioni – also owned Ducati and by the mid-1990s they were ploughing more money into the World Superbike series, where they were winning races and championships.


But let’s get back to the bike…

I’m pacing around nervously as the bike gets warmed up by the legendary Dick Smart (he’s a former Grand Prix mechanic) and the even more legendary Daryl Beattie (former 500cc star, race winner and series runner-up) obviously picked up on this!


"Just stay relaxed and ride it normally,” he says.


 “It’ll just feel like a superbike, only faster and lighter. And watch those carbon brakes until they’re up to temperature!” 

Daryl is along for the day and having a spin with us. He’s trying to reassure me in that weird way a surgeon who knows his stuff reassures you before cutting your chest open with a hacksaw. “Keep an eye on the temperature too and watch the powervalves, they seem to be jamming up a little at 9500rpm.”


Oh Jesus…

What else is in February's must-have edition?

Yamaha XSR900LC | John Nutting tries his luck at re-living his youth by riding a modern conversion based on a XSR900 triple. The 900LC truly captures the look of the legendary two-stroke twin, aided by the super design work by Surrey-based Hag Hughes. Find out just how the 900LC captures the feel of the original 1980 bike with this superb feature!

Throwback to a Christmas cracker! | We salute a great reader and his restoration! Given that with our magazine, the average age of the reader is 50-something, everyone at CMM applauds Jack Watts, the 16-year-old who is getting his hands dirty with this restoration of his 1976 Honda XR75. He's extremely pleased with how it all turned out, and so are we! A stunning shape, a beautiful paint job and so good that Jack says he'll never part with it.

Satan's Stinger | Negotiating an agreeable BRexit that suits the needs of both the 52% and the 48% would have been easier and taken less time than it has taken for Scoop's Suzuki T125 to hit the road! Perhaps we're exaggerating a little... 

Steve Cooper's obsession with Stingers dates back to when he was at college, more than 40 years ago. But what's the buzz about the Stinger? Find out in Scoop's fantastic read!

For more great articles like this get the 376 February 2019 issue of Classic Motorcycle Mechanics below or subscribe and save.

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Dedicated to the later classics and Japanese machines, Classic Motorcycle Mechanics has it all. Every issue is packed with pages of road tests, rebuild guides, 'Street Specials' reviews, news and events.

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