FIRE IT UP IS THE MOST TRUSTED PURCHASER IN SA! WE PAY INSTANTLY, WE COLLECT, WE COME TO YOU! www.fireitup.co.za Though, the crowning moment of the 996 was this, the SPS Pista with an increase in horsepower from 112 to 123, lighter five-spoke wheels, Öhlins suspension and a seat at the head of every table. The bike on Fire It Up’s! floor sits among a gaggle of legendary Ducatis all awaiting a re-templement. Even among with the likes of the Superveloce – MV Agusta’s latest soul-catcher – in its company, it holds the throne like a battle-hardened king daring his cowering subjects to try defying him. Journalistic obligations dictate that the bike needs to be ridden and this might be arrangeable – Fire It Up could chat to the owner who might appreciate his bike being paraded for all to see, but journalistic obligation can go to hell! Peasants! Mere mortals! Do they not know what it is we are dealing with? Would they lick their fingers while paging through the Book of Kell? Would they wipe down the Mona Lisa with a kitchen rag? Would they use the Holy Grail as a flower vase? The insolence! Besides, there's a personal reason for never swinging a leg over the 998/996/916 range. I was just 12 when the 916 was unveiled, and it was this point that my undying love for superbikes was truly awakened. I would stand outside the Ducati dealership in my school shorts gazing with growing eyes through the window at the machine that would grace my bedroom posters and my dreams for years before any such insipid thing as girls would ever get a look-in. Through my journalist years, I have ridden heavenly machines of every shape and style but never a Ducati 998/996/916. And I never will. I'm told that even by today's enormous standards, these models pull their weight admirably but, sadly, they will never live up to the standards I have set for them in my overworked imagination. No motorcycle, past or present, will ever be able to meet such miraculous proportions. Let them stay gods in my mind. This unit is both pristine and has just 14,400km on the clock, and it has no price tag hanging from its mirror, and nor should there be. If you, reading these words now, have a bank balance with many many zeros on the end of it and you don't buy it for whatever Fire It Up is asking, we can never be friends. www.fireitup.co.za Blast From The Past Ducati 996 SPS Pista – Motorcycle Religion. Story: Donovan Fourie Pics: Meghan McCabe Bow, heathens! You are not worthy! Gracing the hallowed floors of Fire It Up! Motorcycles is a creature that transcended the realms of mere motorcycling and assumed the role of a deity. Spawned from fires within the temples of Bologna, under the watchful gaze of the Prophet Tamburini, the 996 SPS Pista grew millions of loyal subject throughout the world, each gazing upon its splendour and knowing in their hearts that they are living in the time of greatness. Of course, it began in 1994 with the Odin of all motorcycling – the 916. For many, this momentous occasion represents Year Zero in motorcycling and everything since is nothing but a desperate attempt to replicate this glory. That single-sided swing-arm freeing that beautiful, three-spoke wheel, the monstrous twin cans under the stinging tailpiece, the sultry waist and the predator face with dual eyes sussing their next victim. Growling life into it was a 916cc, 90º V-twin with a divine desmodromic system negating the need for such peasantry items as valve springs. In 1998, the 996 inherited all the family traits, except the cylinders were drilled further to increase the firebreathing to 996cc. Accompanying the bigger pistons were bigger valves and a stronger crank.