Ivano Beggio, the man who founded Aprilia motorcycles in 1975, passed away last night, aged 73.
Born in 1944, Beggio entered the family bicycle manufacturing business and established a motorcycle racing division in 1975. By 1977, the fledgling company had won the 125 and 250cc Italian motocross championships and, from 1980, was producing 50cc and 125cc production motorcycles for street use.
Aprilia became one of the most successful names in Grand Prix road racing in the latter part of the 20th century. From their debut in 1985 250cc world championship, the company went on to dominate the smaller classes, winning a total of 294 Grands Prix and 54 world titles, including seven in world superbikes. Riders to win championships with Aprilia include Loris Capirossi, Sylvain Guilntoli, Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi, who paid this tribute: “Ivano Beggio was part of my life as an athlete – a sort of father in racing to me. He gave me his trust and a competitive bike when, after winning the European championship, also on Aprilia, I was little more than a boy. His was a brave choice, but also intelligent. And these are the two aspects that I remember most clearly about Ivano Beggio – knowing how to place a lot of passion at the service of his skills in order to always find the strength and energy for an extra step. This was also instrumental in achieving my many wins with Aprilia.”
Roberto Colaninno, Chairman and CEO of the Piaggio Group (which has owned the Aprilia brand since 2004) added: “Ivano Beggio succeeded in combining the skills and courage of an entrepreneur with creativity and a genuine passion for motorcycles. He was a visionary ahead of his time and the extraordinary combination of these factors allowed him to create, practically from nothing, one of the most brilliant stories in the Italian motorcycle industry, making a dream come true. Continuing to race and improve the Aprilia brand around the world is the best way to honour his memory.”