Ivano Beggio, who built Aprilia into a motorcycling giant, has passed away aged 73. He died last night following an illness.
Beggio’s career at Aprilia began when he took the reins from his father in the late 1960s, pursuing his passion for competition to build it into a dominant force on the track. After starting a race department in 1975, he took Aprilia to two Italian motocross titles – 125cc and 250cc – in 1977.
In the mid 1980s Aprilia turned its attention to GP racing, making its world championship debut in the 250 class in 1985. It would go on to take 294 victories in the world championship during the years to come. The careers of Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi, Loris Capirossi, Casey Stoner, Marco Simoncelli and Marco Melandri all relied heavily on Aprilia machinery.
On the street, Beggio’s decision to go into engine manufacturing in 1980 led to the firm’s scooter range, notably the Scarabeo in 1991. Its success went on to finance much of the firm’s expansion during the 1990s. By the end of the decade Aprilia, under Beggio, had gone into superbike production with the RSV Mille and made a full-scale entry to WSB competition.
In 2000, the firm was on the crest of a wave and bought Moto Guzzi and Laverda. However, the new millennium also brought a slump in scooter sales that would eventually lead to Piaggio buying Aprilia and its subsidiaries in 2004.
Roberto Colaninno, CEO and Managing Director of the Piaggio Group:
“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.”
Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Sport Director:
“You need to think about the champions that Aprilia has groomed and the victories it has collected to understand the importance of Ivano Beggio’s project. Thinking about challenging the Japanese on the track, going up against the largest manufacturers in the world starting from zero and in the end winning means putting mind and soul together. Great management skills and a lot of love for our world.”
“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.”