The Motogiro of Italy, as written by the famous journalist of the 50’s, Silvio Ottolenghi, is “one of the most fascinating races that have been performed since when the man got tired of pedaling.” I want to mention a few sentences of his article published on the brochure of the Motogiro of Italy in the year 1955.
“Here we are. I hate big words; I bring awe. I do not know how to spend those: even for selling fake stuff you have to be cut for it. Yet when you get to this point and the flag is raised freezing all the noise, I always feel something inside me – a mixture of excitement and panic – that I could describe only by big words and because of failure to use them, it remains in my body for long time, as a weight on my stomach.
It’s like dropping a coin in an automatic machine: the gear all of a sudden is set into motion, the ride began. Even for us, driving along with it.
The Alfa pounced on the still wet asphalt and soon exceeds the first riders. While passing I might touch them, simply by sticking my hand out of the car window.
They keep their chests on the fuel tank, their chins sunk into the rubber bearing, the legs stretched out backward. The thin wheels bounce on the road’s potholes and their bodies swing back and forth. I look at the speedometer: they run like hell, small groups of three or four.”
Even after of all these years, no other story for me is more alive. It is the exact description of what I feel at every start of the event. Also the feeling, described in another passage of the article of Silvio Ottolenghi, is the same.
“The air is scented wood; meadows, glades, in the thickets of plants that are losing the winter stiffness – are dark green with the edges sparkling with dew. I could think of a touristic journey if it was not for the fact that often I have to hold myself onto the car’s door.
Braking on curves and then launching again on the straights, the uphill runners proceed in fits and starts, like raindrops on the windows. This is the fun of the most beautiful and treacherous of racing.”
“ If I were not afraid to bring you boredom I would smile at the idea of drafting a sort of tourist route – an emotional one, which takes into account, following step by step the race from the patrician Venetian villas that are reflected in channels transparent as sheets of glass, the ecstatic Acropolis in the lands of Marche and Abruzzo surrounded by wings of scattered olive woods; the blue lakes, incumbent on the almond and carob trees of the mythical and sophistical South; the roads and gentle ups and downs of Umbria always draped in green on which Christianity became aware, earlier than elsewhere, he had defeated forever the pagan dragon..
But now there is no more room for sentimentalism, and so I’m satisfied with closing by imagining the surprise that would feel, as spectators of Mototour, the first centaurs and the first car drivers of this century. Beginning with the Duke Onorato who demanded “Landaulets” so high as to enable him to sit upright with his bust, without its cylinder touching the roof of the car.”
On the wave of emotion aroused by readings these articles’ excerpts and through a careful historical research of the original paths, we have traced the routes of the Motogiro, that contain in their unfolding throughout the streets of Italy, the beautiful feelings described above, taking into account the link between the past and the present, to keep always alive and green this great reality of our motorcyclism which is the Motogiro of Italy.
GLOSSARY OF MOTOGIRO
(Taken from the brochure of the Motogiro of Italy in 1956, written by the journalist Silvio Ottolenghi.)
RACER: A flag puts him in the saddle, another stops him, between the two flags hundreds of kilometers. He runs with his chest pressed on the tank, his hands clinging to the controls, eyes wide open inside the orbit of the lens. Immense. The road rises, falls, cuts the plain and again unrolls. Thousand, ten thousand bumps that break bones. The wheels rustle on the asphalt boiling under the sun, sizzle in puddles. The powder mixes with the sweat, the rain like pearls on the greasy skin of the black uniforms. And the engine beating in his ears, beats, beats, until the eardrums refuse to vibrate and the rumble becomes a bearable hum.
Then a profound stillness appears in the brain of the runner. Orgasm has burned in the throat leaving dry lips and a tremendous thirst, but the sense of oppression, as a burden on the stomach, has disappeared. And the heart beats calm. For today, he will make it again. The road climbs, descends, become lost in the villages of white houses, borders on the sea. The right side has in hand the elastic softness of speed, the feet press on the levers with natural automatism. Now driving it is easy. A checkered flag is lowered to close the horizon that another flag, raising, had opened a century ago.
He made it.
STAGE: two cities 50 kilometers away from each other according to the Touring paper; 48 km according to the map of the State Railways; 450 km according to the itinerary of the Motogiro.
(Taken from the brochure of the Motogiro of Italy in 1957 at the end of the article written by Alfeo Biagi)
The script perfectly represents what we, the organizers, feel.
“It’s evening, the last evening of the Motogiro. When they arrived, we were at the table, occupied in passing on to the press the first printing services of our colleagues.
So we did not see anything. There has been feast; clapping, speeches, radio interviews, filming of the TV, or at least they told us that there was all that stuff. For us “those who remain”, the Mototour ends like this: Chierici (The then Editor of the Stadio magazine, organizer of the Motogiro 1950, together with the FMI and the Moto Club Stadio), arrives and greets. He says we are “wretched” because there was an error in the classification of the third stage, regarding the 72nd place. Then comes a very shy young man, black leather suit, with his helmet on his head and a white sheet in his hand. He says he wants to enroll in the next Mototour.
We can then go to sleep. The Motogiro is really over. ”
I have dwelt in this overview of articles and thoughts taken from the brochures of Mototours of Italy of the 50’s, they gave me the same emotions that I feel in organizing and equally felt by the participating pilots.
The exaltation of what just recounted, is definitely the pleasure of those who still shares with us these moments, and is an invitation to sign up to personally feel the thrill of being actors and protagonists of this unique event in the world.