After Honda and Casey Stoner wrapped up both the rider, team and constructor world titles in 2011, HRC’s Communication & Marketing Director Livio Suppo decided that he deserved a little gift. To get this gift, Suppo would have to take a slight trip back in time, figuratively anyway.
Long before he was an executive for Benetton Honda, Ducati and then HRC, Suppo raced off-road—motocross and enduro—in Italy. Along the way he raced a Camel Trophy Bike at Baja in California, a locale which remains one of his favorite places in the world. While his job and passion is now MotoGP, Suppo still enjoys a good desert race and wanted a bike that spoke “old school” to him in this regard.
Enter the European-spec 1988 Honda Dominator. What is a Dominator, you ask? Think Honda XR650L with more of a “Dakar” racer look. Suppo started with the Dominator as his basis for his “gift bike” and enlisted the help of Italian designer Angel Lussiana, who specializes in custom bikes and is known for a certain style of the widely defined cafe racer.
Lussiana and Suppo started with a 1988 Honda Dominator Camel Trophy Bike. All of the original cosmetics were abandoned, after which Lussiana hand made a retro aluminum fuel tank and fenders, and had a custom seat made for it as well.
The fuel tank is graced with an official Honda championship decal, the same kind that sat on Stoner’s Honda this season.
The standard Dominator wheels were powder-coated black and an Ohlins rear shock was slipped in where the original was mounted.
As for the engine, Suppo would be riding his present to himself on the street and wanted a bike that worked well in that environment. Thus he decided to keep the engine mostly stock, with the addition of a high-compresison piston, K&N filter and a custom made Termignoni exhaust. “It sounds lovely,” says Suppo.
How to define Suppo’s custom Honda bike? How about equal parts Honda CL72 Scrambler, Steve McQueen and any machine you’d see on the starting line for the 1973 Baja 500?