Sunday, 23 January 2011

Single again

Digging deep for Benzina #4 (out in two weeks!) I realise how little is written about Italian racing singles unless they're a Ducati. Yet Morini's 250 single nearly beat Honda's 250/4 to the World title (despite competing in fewer rounds) and Gilera had fantastic success with the pushrod Saturno. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if the obsession with the Gilera/MV fours (which weren't even designed in house - see Benzina#1 is justified

Raymond Ainscoe's written knowledgably in his self-published books on the Gilera singles, but every other marque seems to be ignored. Most mysteriously there's little or nothing on MV Agusta's fabulous racing singles that took (I think) 10 of their world titles, starting with Sanford's 1952 125 championship. Something to do with our current passion for the Motogiro bikes of that era, perhaps?

Er, no - because Venturi came third on an MV in the first (1953) Motogiro, and won the final giro for the Count in 1957 (with team-mate Milani in second). So maybe it's just my plain ignorance. But then I can't believe I didn't know about Gary Kohl's fabulous MV museum in the US either, although I did know of Bill Irwin's virtual museum down in NZ. I guess you now know both...

There's more too - thanks to Jack Silverman  for the link to a fab video of a MV exhibition


  1. Nice writeup. I too lament the lack of coverage and interest in the non-Ducati little bikes. I think people are just drawn to what they know. And then that same thing effects the press and is self multiplying! Frankly, it is one of my few criticism of Benzina... too much Ducati stuff!

  2. You're right Carl, and I need to sort it. Ivar (who sources our period photos) has had a brilliant idea: we find Italian manufacturers who achieved greatness (like the Garelli piece he wrote in #3, and the Bianchi story that'll appear in #4) but just say a few words and use a fab photo. And try and dig stories that magazines with a monthly deadline can't cover - like bikes that raced in the Targa Florio (where Alfa have such a proud history)