Saturday, July 15, 2023

More fun with two wheels

 Museo Agusta

As regular blog readers know Zio Lorenzo's a fan of most things on two wheels. Back-in-the-day he had a sponsor for his brief Superbike roadracing effort, a guy maybe as crazy about Italian motos as he was...but he also had more money. 

Zio helped him buy and transport an MV Agusta 750 America from northern California and got to ride it a time or two, most famously for a Cycle News cover story as shown above.

The Museo Agusta's not far from the Malpensa airport but Zio had never found the time to visit until recently. His flight back to Sicily (and Heather had already flown off to Greece) was in the afternoon so why not stop by?

Their website said they'd be open at 2 PM so off Zio went with a plan to have some lunch on the way or perhaps there was a cool osteria full of MV memorabilia nearby? No luck on that count, the so-called trattoria in the tiny village of Cascina Costa could only come up with a sandwich or salad. Oh well, he had time to kill and an appetite.

2 PM finally rolled around and the doors were opened. Maurizio (shown above) is a volunteer here. He took a liking to Zio right away, perhaps after seeing a photo of him aboard his old sponsor's MV? Or maybe the one of him at Laguna Seca's famous corkscrew on a superbike? He suggested I look around as much as I wanted and if I had any questions (in my still-terrible Italian) to ask away. He reminded me not to touch any of the motos and for sure not to sit on any!

I DID ask a question. "Would it be OK if I climbed up onto the display to get a better photo?" "Ma certo!" (but of course) was the reply as he came over, then insisted I not only touch, but sit on this one while he snapped the photo! Probably didn't hurt that I was the only visitor in the place?

The displays aren't super fancy compared to the Ducati museum, but someone cares about these motorcycles! You can feel the passion here and almost hear Agostini's 500-4 GP moto revving up.

After snapping my photo on the bike Maurizio says "Come with me" and takes me into a locked room. Inside (above) he shows me what he says is the last-ever MV racing machine!

Next to it is what he claims is the last MV street machine ever made, just back "home" from a collector in Japan. Looks a lot like the one Zio rode back-in-the-day. WOW!

There are a lot of panels like these honoring the riders, mechanics, engineers, etc.involved with the famous machines along with a few other things like...helicopters.

WTF? Agusta started making helicopters in the 1950's under license from the American Bell Helicopter company. The motos became not much more than a passion thing eventually as road-going moto sales were nothing compared to the money being made with the 'copters, especially when Agusta started making their own design. Their now-iconic A109 model really put them on the map when it came to success in the 'copter biz.

Those things sticking up behind the museum sign (top photo) are rotor blades from the various 'copter models made nearby.

Zio asked Maurizio to pose with this one that brought back memories of when he worked for his father part-time during high-school.. Dad's American Rotorcraft refinished the rotor blades on these Korean War era Bell 'copters used for spraying agricultural crops and Zio's job was to strip off the paint, fiberglass cover, etc. so the wooden structure inside the blade could be inspected for cracks or other damage. Maybe a topic for a future blog post?

Grazie mille Maurizio & Co!

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