ASI Motocross Show 2014

Once again Luciano Costa and company hosted a fabulous event in Imola Italy honoring the Italian Grand Prix that was held in Imola from 1948 through 1965. The event is absolutely first class and is held every two years. The Italians are noted for their passion for motorsports and the town of Imola is actually involved in sponsoring this event. One of the cool features we like is all the famous riders gear up and ride through the town of Imola on their historic machines. This year the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham England allowed Les Archer's famous 1956 Championship Manx Norton to attend the event. Check out the fabulous photos that Luciano sent us. We hope this event continues for years to come and that others like it follow. Congratulations to all involved in the 2014 ASI Motocross Show!

Special Thanks to ASI (Automotoclub Storico Italiano), the main sponsor of the event.

ASI MOTOCROSS SHOW can exist thanks ASI, that pays the most part of the budget. ASI is the main Italian Federation of Motoring Clubs of age, and has more than 200 thousand members throughout Italy. ASI supports all the events that deal with the conservation of historic vehicles of all types: automobiles, motorcycles, agricultural machinery, military vehicles, etc.. unlimited field. Motocross has been incorporated by the ASI from the first edition of the ASI SHOW MOTOCROSS 2012, and the Federal Council praised our work, guaranteeing future support of the event that will be repeated every two years.


The roots of motocross' Golden Era are in perfect health - by Luciano Costa

It is widely known that an American aviator, in 1949, had the good fortune to find in Egypt a handful of seeds of that ancient cereal called Kamut that seemed permanently extinguished. Today, after thousands of years, some wise farmers have accomplished the miracle of giving life to this valuable food resource and its products, with high dietary properties are available on the shelves of all the bakers.

Something similar has happened last weekend in the city of Imola, in fact also our great and beloved Francesco Checco Costa as a Doctor in Agriculture was an expert in cereals and seeds. And how many seeds indeed he planted! One in particular was his dearest: the one he planted in the Mineral Waters Park at Imola in 1948 and today, after 66 years, it has been brought back to life enlightening the spirits of our proud city still in love with a deep passion in motorsport. The ASI SHOW MOTOCROSS, a re-enactment of the Motocross World Championships, which has taken place on the 16th, 17th and 18th of May this year, was a test of the capacity of the City of Imola of preserving its memory, if not much more. All those attending to the ceremony in Piazza Gramsci on Sunday the 18th could see a multitude of eyes and faces full of enthusiasm, those of the great champions of Motocross, of the '40s, '50s and '60s, who were able to set on fire in those years with their deeds, the minds of thousands of fans perched on the slopes of Castellaccio Mount. And there were also the eyes of an audience stunned by the intensity of a passion now more alive than ever. We saw ladies and children get off the sidewalks to applaud with enthusiasm the legendary knights riding their roaring bikes with clawed wheels. A beautiful spring sunshine lit the colors of the nations reflecting the sparkling chrome in the eyes of the public, who has the chance to witness this extraordinary event.

Forty riders, among them on the first row, the ten strongest world champions who made the history of international motocross, took off on the bikes, perfectly restored by expert Italian and foreign collectors. Piazza Gramsci, via Mazzini, Viale Dante, via Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, Mineral Waters Park have been the location of a memorable show. Opening the parade, as usual, the two-time world champion Sten Lundin, who dominated in Imola winning four races between 1955 and 1960. Beside him the world champion in 1956 Les Archer, born in 1929, riding his Norton Manx especially brought for the occasion from the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. At his venerable age, Les Archer has driven thousands of kilometers behind the wheel of his car, coming from the deep south of Spain, where he has been living for twenty years, to rejoin his glorious pièce de resistance. Far away from Sri Lanka is back again the three-time world champion Rolf Tibblin, nom de guerre "Iron Man", riding the Hedlund Metisse 500 which was the last bike of his career. His name still echoes in the ears of those who saw him cut the finish line victorious in the Grand Prix at Imola in 1962, '63 and '65. Absolute novelty of ASI SHOW MOTOCROSS 2014 was the participation of the five-time world champion Belgian Roger De Coster. The living legend of the less elder generations who has come to Imola far away from California. De Coster has managed to find the time to come in spite of his intense activities of top manager in KTM Team Cross America. Maybe he thought to find a nice meeting among veterans, but he had to change his mind! The champions made him wear the vintage motocross outfit given by a collector, to ride a CZ 250 twin-pipe like the one used in the 1964 Grand Prix at Imola at his debut in the motocross world. During the parade also the four-time world champion Torsten Hallman sported the colors of Sweden riding a Husqvarna 250 which took him to victory in Imola 1964 Grand Prix. Jeff Smith, a real steamroller of the world tracks and the world champion of 1964 and 65 class 500, has ridden a BSA 441 Victor with which he fought against Rolf Tibblin in the last Imola Grand Prix in 1965. Riding the Triumph Metisse of their manufactury, the stainless English brothers Derek and Donald Rickman paraded along with brothers Triss and Brian Sharp, both their friends and stars of the Grand Prix at Imola in 1957. The roaring parade led by a patrol of the city police, has also seen the German champion Otto Walz, longtime friend of the city of Imola. Otto could not but riding his WaBeHa manufactured by himself. The two-time Italian champion Giuseppe Cavallero nickname "Crazy Horse" who won two Italian titles with Husqvarna, and the pilot of Faenza Golden Flames Gianni Altafini with his glorious Gilera Saturno amaranth, which led the race in the Grand Prix at Imola in 1958, honored the flag of Italy. In the memory of their fathers, who are no longer with us, they wanted to keep alive their memory: the son of world champion Bill Nilsson, the Belgian René Baeten and Aldino Liverani from Faenza. This last with the 500 Rudge that during the grand prix of 1952, '53 and '54, rode the track of Castellaccio with Francesco Liverani, historical mechanic and rider from Faenza. The Rudge was miraculously set in motion by its owner Benito Battilani and by Liverani after more than thirty years in complete silence.

Also this year, the awarding of the champions has taken place before the parade. The ceremony was dedicated to the Swedish world champion Bill Nilsson who passed last year in August. His son Jeff, also world champion enduro 1990-91, has got the award in the memory of his father. This moment has been particulary touching and a long, touching applause has echoed in the square.

As a reminder of the Flying Dutchman Hendrik Rietman, winner of the first international motocross on May the 23rd in 1948, his nephew Peter Rietman has come to Imola. This event has been the opportunity to witness the story of his uncle who began his career when Peter was a lively child always following the five-time champion of the Netherlands in races. With him, the circle is closed and the entire history of motocross in Imola was represented.

The event showed the unexpected presence of a large audience especially on Sunday and this was the best reward for the champions that deeply wanted to come to Imola from so far away. They thanked ASI, the City of Imola, the organizers and the entire audience.

The space IMOLA WATERS, was once again made available by the manager Valentino Boschi, who provided his collaboration in the spirit of the event.

Under the large marquee of WATER IMOLA more than 50 pre '65 Motocross bikes of great value were on display. In addition to a Norton Archer, also a Triumph Rickman Metisse Mark II like the one used by the English brothers in the Grand Prix at Imola in 1960, a Matchless Rickman Metisse and a BSA belonged to Jeff Smith came from the National Museum of the Motorcycle Birmingham. The English collector Peter Lockwood, in addition to these four bikes, has also brought a Monark 500 like the one that the Swedish champion Ove Lundell used in the Grand Prix at Imola in 1962. Always coming from England, a very rare 1958 BSA 650 twin, owned by the collector John Preston. Other gems came from the collection of Gian Pio Ottone off road MUSEUM of Varese: we refer to the revolutionary Guzzi 500 Gamba and Dolza with engine “Dondolino” and oblique frame Müller, the Greeves 250 25SA with twin-cylinder engine and a 500 Official ESO 1964. Several Husqvarna, Greeves and CZ 250, 360, and 400 and 250 cross Parilla Parilla registry. There were also various Rickman Metisse 500 equipped with different engines. Coming from Belgium, two rare and beautiful Hedlund Metisse. Also on exhibition the Gilera Saturno cross, the Velocette and the BSA Gold Star 500. Extremely rare even the Jawa 360 with frame "banana" which was used by the pilots of the former Czechoslovakia.

The following five collectors have won the Elegance Contest Winners: the award for best conservation was assigned to CZ 360 belonging to Leonardo Bernecoli; the prize for the best restoration was won by the Gilera Saturno Cross Golden Flames belonging to Giovanni Soncini; two motorcycles belonging to the Birmingham Museum, namely the Les Archer Norton Manx and the Rickman Metisse Mark II of the brothers in New Milton, respectively received the award "Best in Show" and the Innovation Award. The Rickman infact promoted the innovation for new design and lighter frames. All the collectors have received a beautiful plate in stainless steel foil depicting the silhouette of Bill Nilsson in motion during the Grand Prix in1961, as a reward for their precious work. Apart from the Golden Era motorcycles, three other bikes have also witnessed minor motocross. First, a Bianchi 203 manufactured at that time by the technician from Faenza Rino Taroni and perfectly restored by himself. This bike won with Vincenzo Caroli the second place in the National Competition Category FMI Cadets in 1961 at Imola. A rare example of the early days of motocross post-war was the military VL 1939 Benelli 500 four-stroke belonging to Carlo Roversi from Bondeno (Ferrara). Preserved until the impossible, this bike has a story to tell. That one of two young enthusiast motorcyclists from Bondeno that at the beginning of the '50s travelled to Imola on a Lambretta to attend one of the first international races of motocross. Striked by this experience, they decided to set up this military Benelli taking the example from Italian motocross riders like Albertazzi, Tancorre, Fenocchio, Di Sambuy etc., at the time, ran with the British military motorcycles home adapted. This Benelli was a training-ship for a group of aspiring motocross riders of that time who were able to gather crowds of people of all ages every Sunday in the floodplains of the river Panaro, to see their performances, incredible for those times. Even the parish priest had to complain because most of the boys deserted masses and processions on Sundays to go see motocross! The people attending the races even organized a collection in order to buy petrol and enjoy the show. The third bike, a Morini Corsaro 175 by Maruccio Gianluca Di Marco represented the cadet class of 1967-68. The owner had been given this bike from the manufacturer to participate to the Italian Championship. Its 12,500 rpm and the internal reinforcements of engine well explain the reason of a great performance and of good placings in races.

Next to the Golden Era exhibition, was a KTM historic exhibition with some examples from the seventies of the different capacities brought by collectors Carlo Roversi and Giorgio Battistini. This opening to the most recent period was another interesting feature of the ASI SHOW MOTOCROSS 2014, tending to approach the generations after the Golden Era. KTM, sponsor of the event, was present with the latest models of different cross capacities put at disposal by the manufacturer of Gorle (BG). On Sunday afternoon, these bikes were ridden by the world champion of 1999 Class 500 Open Andrea Bartolini and other KTM riders like Manuel Cavina (UISP FMI Regional Championship 250 class), Manuel Belperio (UISP Championship - Hobbies Cross) and the young Mattia Vincenti about to debut in the Regional Championship FMI Minicross Debutantes. They have run on the track arranged by the organizers next to the exhibition grounds. As had already happened in the edition of 2012, two worlds and two eras have been presented and compared to the public offering a truly unique and exciting show. The Golden Era bikes bariton roar was mingled with the more aggressive of the KTM last generation, pointing out the historical technical development in off-road. The present enduro world champion Alex Salvini has honored the event with his king and enthusastic participation.

Together with the '70s motorcycles riders, also other famous pilots of that period have made their entry in ASI SHOW MOTOCROSS. Among them, Italo Forni, Italian 500 cc champion in 1976, Beta Montesa rider, 1st Pilot Kawasaki 250 and 500 in Europe, 1st pilot 250 and Honda and 1st pilot Villa in motocross. From the nearby Faenza, where he moved, came Giovanni Sala from Bergamo, five-time enduro world champion in the '90s. In 1991, he joined the Team Farioli KTM taking part to 14 seasons in world championship and to 17 seasons in the Italian Championship, becoming the most successful enduro rider of Italy. In 1998 he made his debut in the deserts also participating to ten Paris-Dakar for austrian KTM factory team. Nowadays he is member of the security committee and KTM manager. From Ciglione Malpensa, where he directs the motocross and the Cross School for young drivers and the competitive improvement, Pietro Miccheli, one of the most representative of the Italian terrain of the '70s has reached Imola. Miccheli, champion of Juniores category and many times winner in international and cross Senior, was also able to win a gold medal in a Six-Day Regularity. In 73, with KTM, he was the pilot of the Group Golden Flames. From 1986 to '98 he was a technician and from '99 to 2004 a coach for FMI. With KTM could not fail Giovanni Collina, one of the few pilots from Bologna, if not the only one who managed to make his way in the gruelling enduro discipline up to win national championships 125 cc in 1967-1968 and six gold medals in the Six Days. Since 1970, his company "COLLINA MOTORI" exhibites, sells motorcycles, spare parts and clothing, and is an epitome of passion and experience which has given life to a special and an accomplished racing department.

Under three days of bright sunshine, ASI MOTOCROSS SHOW opened its doors with a walk in the historic Mineral Waters Park on the morning of Friday, May the 16th. Champions of Golden Era have been brought back on the glorious track invented by the genius of Francesco Checco Costa which made them the protagonists of extraordinary competitions in the '50s and '60s. The track has been mentioned by the distinguished guests as being the best in the history of motocross of those years. The conformation of the park and the river Santerno gave Checco Costa the opportunity to design a full track almost natural without substantial earthworks. A yellow ribbon arranged by the organizers marked the old track together with fifty large format photographs and led the group in search of the main passages of the path. Pictures and videos recorded this exciting event.

From the Mineral Waters Park to the Collection Benito Battilani. Under the invitation of the owner himself, the guests, along with a wide array of personalities in the motorsport admired a rare and sometimes unique collection of vintage motorcycles of great historical value dating back to a period between the beginning of the XXth century and 1970s.

A visit that we recommend to all lovers of motorsports. Benito Battilani will be happy to welcome all those who are interested in learning about this fascinating and exemplary witness of motorcycling period.

In the evening, the official opening of the event in the beautiful new CRAME headquarters, was the occasion to introduce the twenty-four champions to the audience. As usual, a commemoration tile produced by Cooperativa Ceramica Imola has been offered. It shows the poster of the new edition of ASI MOTOCROSS SHOW with the image of Sten Lundin Grand Prix winner of 1959. Present President of ASI, lawyer Roberto Loi, President and Vice-President of the CRAME, Bruno Brusa and Umberto Ciompi, the President of the Moto Club Santerno Checco Costa 's, lawyer Carlo Costa, the commissioner motorcycle event ASI, Benito Battilani, and finally the organizer Luciano Costa, father of the event. The bright steel sports journalist Paolo Conti has leaded the evening and followed the event for the whole week-end. Each champion wished to take the floor to express his own emotions and thanks.

An important recognition for all the work done has been attributed to Luciano Costa by Dott. Carlo Costa: a gold medal that his father, Dott. Francesco Checco Costa, created on the occasion of the Grand Prix 250 cc class in 1964. The moment was particularly moving and a sort of a handover in preserving the historical memory of the international motocross in Imola. A mission, which began with the production of the book "IMOLA MONDIALE - 1948-1965 - the roots of the Italian motocross" and continued with the ideation of the events of 2010 and 2012, and with the completion of a major photographic exhibition on the history of motocross Imola displayed on this occasion. But in addition, the work of recovering the memory has gone beyond, particularly in view of this new event. After months of contact with the operators of RAI Teche , it was possible to "bring to light" the films of the Grand Prix of Imola from 1954 (the first year of life RAI) to 1963. Their show during the gala dinner with the champions at IMOLA WATERS, created a warm and friendly atmosphere. These historical images till now unseen, have been a surprise to everyone and especially for the champions protagonists who, spurred on by the applause of the audience, felt themselves back on track. The public has recognized their old favorites heroes, some of them unfortunately no longer with us.

As in the first, also in this second edition of the ASI MOTOCROSS SHOW, everything has gone pretty well and and this is a good premise for the next edition. Because there will certainly be a next edition, despite skepticism reemerging from time to time among thoes who are the most pessimistic. For many reasons it will not be a mere replica of this great edition which has just ended and we will not let the memory slip away. The city of Imola and ASI today play a role of great responsibility in keeping alive the memory and the history of motocross world. By their presence and their support, you can present to the younger generations the keys to understand their own past, a history belonging to all of us and which is a duty to keep. A past where man and and machine were deeply linked one to the other. It will exist as long as men will be called to testify live their history, a task, which the machine alone cannot support. In Italy there are several other Clubs that keep the vintage motocross alive. In Pinerolo, Borgaro, Faenza, tracks and in many other places, motocross and the more recent Golden Era of the '70s and '80s can make their voices heard to fans. In those places competitions are still organized as there is the opportunity to have suitable tracks at disposal. Imola has lost his circuit in 1965, but has not lost its main role of preserving the memory of motocross Golden Era, a CULTURAL role coming before racing.

When a plant loses its roots it inevitably dies and the new plants grow with a different DNA unaware of their origins. Let each and everyone of us keep their role, then, and let's see us all again in Imola next time.

Guests ASI Motocross Show 2014

  1. Roger De Coster, (Belgium) world champion 500 class of 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976. De Coster debut in the world championships in the Grand Prix of Italy at Imola in 1964.

  2. Sten Lundin, (Sweden) world champion 500 class of 1959 and 1961, winner of four Grand Prix at Imola.

  3. Jeff Nilsson, (Sweden) world champion enduro 125 class of 1991 an 1992 with KTM, son of the world champion 500 class Bill Nilsson of 1957 and 1960, winner of three Grand Prix at Imola and recently passed.

  4. Rolf Tibblin, (Sweden) world champion 500 class of 1962 and 1963, winner of three Grand Prix at Imola and European champion 250 class of 1959.

  5. Torsten Hallman, (Sweden) world champion 250 class of 1962, 1963, 1966 and 1967, winner of the Grand Prix at Imola in 1964.

  6. Jeff Smith, (Great Britain) world champion 500 class of 1964 and 1965.

  7. Leslie Archer, (Great Britain) European champion 500 class of 1956. 8. Dave Bickers, (Great Britain) European champion 250 class of 1960 and 1961.

  8. Alan Clough, (Great Britain) English top rider 250 class.

  9. Derek and Donald Rickman (Great Britain) winners of many Motocross of Nations, with the Britannic national team and manufacturers of the famous trademark Rickman Metisse.

  10. René Baeten, (Belgium) son of the world champion 500 class René Baeten of 1958.

  11. Otto Walz, (Germany) German national champion 125 and 175 classes of 1957, 175 class of 1958, 175 and 350 classes of 1960 and 500 class of 1962. Manufacturer motorbikes WaBeHa.

  12. Triss and Brian Sharp, (Great Britain) Britannic top riders 250 and 500 classes.

  13. Jan Nemeček, (ex- Czechoslovakia) Czechoslovakian national champion 500 class.

  14. Karel Pilar, (ex-Czechoslovakia) Czechoslovakian national champion 500 class of 1963.

  15. Emilio Ostorero, (Italy) sixteen times Italian national champion 250 and 500 classes.

  16. Lanfranco Angelini, (Italy) seven times Italian national champion 250 and 500 classes, Golden Flames Group.

  17. Canzio Tosi, (Italy) five times Italian national champion 250 and 500 classes, Golden Flames Group.

  18. Giuseppe Cavallero, (Italy) Italian national champion 250 and 500 classes of 1971. 22. Carlo Caroli, (Italy) Italian top rider 500 class.

  19. Gianni Altafini, (Italy) Italian top rider 500 class.

  20. Gian Pio Ottone, (Italy) Italian rider Golden Flames Group 500 class.