Even The Swiss Race Vintage Motorcycles
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.