The turnout of Italian and foreign Guzzi enthusiasts has been beyond all expectations for the three days celebration in Mandello del Lario to honor the 90th anniversary of Moto Guzzi, one of the best known motorcycle brands in the world with one of the richest histories.
In fact, on the three days of the ‘Giornate Mondiali Guzzi (Guzzi World Days) the crowd reached 20,000 registered participants, a significantly larger number than the previous edition held in 2007. The bikers in attendance, enthusiasts of the “Eagle brand” founded in 1921 by Emanuele Vittorio Parodi, his son Giorgio and friend Carlo Guzzi, which became part of the Piaggio Group at the end of 2004, make up a peaceful and colorful international army with 52 countries represented along the Lecco banks of Como Lake astride their modern and classic Moto Guzzi bikes.
40% of the Moto Guzzi bikers came from every Italian region and 60% from abroad, an extraordinary turnout which confirms just how well known and loved the brand from Mandello del Lario is around the world. Behind the immense platoon of Italian bikers, the country with the second most representatives by the lake has been France with more than 2,000 in attendance. Then came Germany, only about a hundred bikers behind, Holland with 1,200 and neighboring Switzerland with more than 1,000 enthusiasts. Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain and Austria follow with about 800 Guzzisti each. All of the European countries were present in Mandello del Lario – including San Marino, Montecarlo and Andorra – but a large number of bikers came from the North America, Asia and Oceania. In fact the non European country with the most participants is Australia, with forty Guzzisti, in front of the USA, Japan and Canada.
Established 90 years ago in the same plant which now houses GMG, Moto Guzzi is not just one of the world’s most famous motorcycle makers, with 14 world speed titles and 11 Tourist Trophies to its name, but also a vital chapter in the history of motorcycling, thanks to models like the legendary Galletto, the extraordinary Eight Cylinder and the twin-cylinder V7 Special, California and Le Mans, which established the international reputation of the unmistakable 90° V drive shaft engine featured on all current Moto Guzzi bikes, from the 750 to the 1200cc models. During the three day celebration on the Lecco banks of Como Lake the historic Moto Guzzi site at Via Parodi 57 has been opened to all visitors for a true full immersion in the Moto Guzzi world. A special route has been organised for visitors to learn about the work underway to renovate and requalify the historic factory of the “eagle brand” and the symbolic locations of the Guzzi legend, such as the monumental 1950 Wind Tunnel, the production shops and the Moto Guzzi Museum. GMG 2011 has been also the setting for the presentation of the California 90, a special 90th anniversary edition of the world’s best known Italian custom bike.
Friday afternoon’s opening of the new route inside one of the temples of world motorcycling was attended by the senior management of the Piaggio Group, led by Roberto Colaninno. Outlining the investments allocated to the new products for the Moto Guzzi brand – a total of more than 40 million Euros over the next 5 years, in addition to the investments in the Mandello del Lario plant – the Group Chairman and CEO also stressed the success of the Moto Guzzi range to date. Thanks to the new 2011 models like the Stelvio 1200 8v – also in an NTX version –, the Norge 1200 8v and the “special” little V7 Racer, in the first eight months of 2011 the Moto Guzzi brand sold more than 4,300 bikes worldwide. This reflects growth of 31% from 3,280 bikes in January-August 2010, and is particularly significant in view of trends on the European motorcycle market, which slackened by 8% in the first 8 months of 2011. The Piaggio Group – which Moto Guzzi joined in December 2004 – thanks to its European leadership and strong development in the Asian markets, is recording an overall constant growth in sales performance. In fact, in the first 8 months of 2011 the Piaggio Group reached the milestone of 453,000 units sold (compared to the 439,000 units sold in the first 8 months of the previous year).
Saturday the 17th of September, has been the big day, the pivotal moment of GMG 2011. The number of visitors from all over the world “invading” Mandello del Lario reached their peak. In keeping with tradition, awards were presented:
The Easy Rider award, for the Guzzista who travelled the farthest, went to Australian Tony Horn, from Melbourne.
The most experienced Guzzista was Mario Crippa, born in Monza in 1932. The youngest biker award went to Roberta Botta from Borgo Vercelli, born in 1991. The biker from farthest away was Heidi Rama, 36 years old from Nuppulinr Finland, with her Breva 750.
The youngest Guzzista of GMG 2011 was Stefano Maffezzini, born in 1992, who came from Senago.
The group awards included the trophy for the most numerous Italian Bike Club, awarded to Motorbike Guzzi Club from Senago which had 228 Guzzisti, also winning the award for the highest number in attendance on bikes (45). Club TLM from Holland with 229 members was the foreign Bike Club awarded. The Italian group which came from farthest away was the Guzzisti dell’Etna, having ridden 1,500 km.
The foreign group from farthest away was the Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria – Australia.
Special GMG Awards also went to Gianfranco Guareschi, Moto Guzzi rider in the RC Classic Cup trophy, and Mario Arosio, President of Moto Guzzi World Club.
The GMG compère for this evening has been Ringo, artistic director and Rider DJ of Virgin Radio. From the stage on the lakeside, directly from Ringo’s microphone, the bikers described their passion for their machines. The festivities continued into the night, with the awards for Guzzi bikers and clubs and the spectacular Moto Guzzi Rock Live concert. Sunday the 18th of September, the three days celebration of the “eagle brand” came to a close with the extraordinary historic parade through Mandello del Lario.