Laverda started producing the 750S in 1995, with fully adjustable USD forks, Brembo goldline brakes, and a 4 valve water cooled motor, it was Laverda’s best attempt to match Ducati’s 748 and the Japanese 600s of the time.
In reality, although the chasis and brakes were more than a match, the engine was not up to the same standard. The 750S was a big bored, and water jacketed, version of the existing 668 air cooled parallel twin … already a big bore redesign of the earlier 500cc monjuic engine from the 70’s.
The result is a slightly underpowered, but otherwise race ready motorbike. That is until you work out that there isn’t a race series that will allow the sort of engine tuning required to get the motor up to a competitive spec.
With factory backing Three Cross Motorcycles (the then importer) paid for 2 years of racing in 1998 and 1999. In 1998 they raced mildly tuned bikes in British Superstock, but could not get past the top10. However in 1999 they tried again in the much more liberal New Era Supertwins series, and regularly beat the Ducati 916’s of the time.
We arrived in the Supertwin series two years later, after the Laverda factory had gone bust, and World Superbike rules had caused Honda and Aprillia to make newly designed litre V-Twins. Even Ducatis had got bigger.
A hard task had now turned into a gargantuan one. However repeated top ten finishes proved that the Laverda’s handling was still one of the best around. Beating 748’s was pleasing, but beating 996s, Milles, and SP2s was more so.
After shedding nearly 40 kilos in weight, from an already light bike, and tuning the power of the bike perfectly to the chasis, we managed to come home top 750cc in the championship. However coming top ten was not good enough for us. We wanted to win.
For 2003 we had rebadged as Alto Performance Laverda Racing. After the factory had gone bust, we had been forced in manufacturing our own components, and this had come to the advantage of other Laverda Owners. Performance parts developed for our race bike could now be purchased by the Laverdisti.
Shedding further weight was getting far to expensive, with weight reduction coming in grammes rather than kilos. However we had gone down a blind alley in trying to unleash more horsepower and had hit a ceiling.
Then old British Superbike Ducatis started to filter down into the series, and suddenly it didn’t matter how well we handled, or how light we were. Even at mallory the short straight was enough to loose 10 meters. Suddenly 7th became 17th’s and the Laverda project was mothballed …
… except we weren’t finished. The blind alley we had gone down bugged us, and we kept developing the bike in our spare time. So we were glad when someone came up with a series we could race in again.
The bike chasis is fundamentally the same as it was in 2003, except there is a now a considerable amount of engine work underneath it.