Travel: Even The Swiss Race Vintage Motorcycles

Even The Swiss Race Vintage Motorcycles

By Jacopo Villa
October 23, 2015
3 comments

Photography by Federico Bajetti

I once heard a motorcycle rider say, “they cannot expect us to begin collecting old stamps,” in reference to retiring riders and vintage machines from racing. He was right, of course: riding motorcycles makes one feel alive, and that feeling is awfully contagious, even if you’re just watching—as the small Swiss border town of Chiasso showed me.

Watching more than 120 bikes from 1928 to 1990 racing freely for a historical reenactment of the Chiasso-Pedrinate hillclimb is addicting. No one today would think of organizing a vintage motorcycle race through city tunnels, where the sound of an already loud exhaust becomes deafening. But on the day, the motorcycles started from the town centre of Chiasso, with blue smoke and high decibels filled everyone’s schedule from sunrise to sunset.

The paddock was a pure spectacle as it boasted rare gems like the Moto Guzzi 250 Compressore, Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans, Ducati 900 SS, BMW R80/90, a Velocette TT, and a Motosacoche 350 Competition.

Even if it was for just one day, the sound reverberating across the walls was intoxicating, the racing was loud, and nobody thought to bring their stamp collection. 

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ilija ivanovski
ilija ivanovski

Great photos, and we need more event like this one.

Stephan P
Stephan P

Great photos.
I could take offense to the title however. Why do you say “Even the Swiss”?
Switzerland has a storied racing history, especially when it come to hill climbs. Both cars and bikes.

Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson

I love the smell of Castrol in the morning 😉
I would dearly love to find again one or more of my old two stroke racing bikes . Perhaps my first a TZ250 Yamaha, then later on the beast that tried to kill me , my TZ750 Yamaha . There is always a soft spot in my heart for my RZ350LC , Kenny Roberts edition street /track bike.
Ah yes, those were the days!!