Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Gentleman’s Racer

The 1946 Moto Guzzi Dondolino featured here is one of a series of “Gentleman’s Racers” produced to satisfy privateers who wanted to compete effectively in circuit races and other endurance events that were immensely popular in Italy.1946 was the first year of production for the Dondolino. That year, a Dondolino piloted by Enrico Lorenzetti won the Swiss Grand Prix at Berne. A Dondolino also won the 1946 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, with Nando Balzarotti riding. Dondolinos also won the second-division Italian Championships in 1946, 1948, 1950, 1951 and 1954, as well as third division titles in 1947 and 1948. They won the first division French Championships in 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951 and the Swiss titles in 1950 and 1951.Although there were numerous victories in circuit races, the Dondolino really proved itself in such marathon events as the Milan-Taranto race. This event was one of many great Italian long-distance road races extremely popular in the post-war years. While the Dondolino often competed in these events against more powerful machines with greater outright top speed, the Guzzi’s ruggedness and reliability afforded it stellar success in these grueling tests of rider stamina and mechanical stoutness.

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