Finding the biography of Luigi Taveri is very easy on the internet, as we know he was a Swiss former motorcycle road racer, furthermore he was one of the greatest racing motorcyclists of all the time. And here are some of his great achievements, and some stories that I got directly from him.
Luigi´s racing career started in the late 1940-ies, first as sidecar passenger of his brother Hans, and soon as a solo racer. His first world championship start was at the 1954 French GP. He became an MV Agusta factory rider in 1955. He won several GP in the 1950-ies and became vice-world champion in the 125 ccm class in 1955 and 1957 and in the 250 ccm class in 1956, but he is most remembered for his time at Honda, where he became world champion three times in 1962, 1964 and 1966. He was an important part of the legendary 1960-ies Honda factory team, and he became a lifetime friend with Hondas founder Soichiro Honda. With his small stature he was Hondas specialist for the small classes and when Honda decided to build the ultimate bike for the 125 ccm class, the engineers always kept him in mind. So he won his last world championship title on the famous five cylinder 125, for most specialist the mechanically most advanced motorcycle of all times. He stopped racing at the end of 1966, as an undefeated world champion. It was even close to being double world champion in his final year, but as Honda decided not to race at the last round of the world championship at Fuji due to arguments with the Japanese federation, he lost the 50 ccm title to Suzukis Hans Georg Anscheidt.
He finished his world championship career with 3 world titles, 5 vice-world championships, 7 3rd places in the final world championship standings, 30 GP wins, and 89 world championship podiums. But beside that he is the only man in the history of the world championship who scored world championship points in all 6 classes: in 50 ccm, 125 ccm, 250 ccm, 350 ccm, 500 ccm and sidecars!
With all his achievement and all the passion to motorsports we can say that he is deserved the title of a living legend of this sport. But it were not his sportive achievements alone, that made him a legend, but his friendly and straight nature, his love to the fans and his wife Tilde, who followed him for all his world championship career. To have a chance knowing him from very close, it was a really wonderful and unforgettable moment for me.
When I visited Switzerland at the end of May 2014, I had the chance meet him directly and we had a short touring bike trip together. At first, to be honest, I couldn’t imagine a rider who was born on 19 September 1929, which means he was almost 85 years old. But when he is sitting on the bike wearing his helmet and the engine is turned on, you will never imagine that he is that old. Especially because the way he rode on the road of the Sattelegg, a small mountain pass near his hometown of Samstagern. On this road with a lot of ups and downs and also sharp corners following the mountain side, he really showed me the talent he has.
|Luigi Taveri and Me take some rest after the lovely bike trip|
Me: “I really enjoy feeling with you, riding your bike and also I knew you from an article on the internet that you are very expert in riding. What do you think, was it more difficult and fun being a rider in your time or to be rider on today?”
Luigi: "hmmm (with very wise face) …To be honest… (smiling), we can’t compare that because in every era they are different kind of the difficulties and different kind of fun. At my time, we din’t have good safe tracks, almost all tracks we used were made of public roads what means the safety factor is very small. We also didn’t have so fast bikes with such a lot of electronics, so all we did was riding with our skills and capability to be fast and to be safe. Today as we can see safety of riders is more guaranteed because they are wearing good leather suits and ride on the safe tracks. But at present riders need to have high skills and talent to control the bikes that have higher speeds and some parts are controlled by electronics. So like I said before the difficulties and the fun are very different and all must be very special because we ride our bike with love, feel and passion” (smiles and he looks like imagining the time he rode long time ago)
Me:”Ahh...I see, I understand and thank you for explaining me very clear and in detail” (I replied amazed and with an awesome feeling)
Later we talked about the things he was doing after he announced his retirement from professional bike racing. He opened a car body repair and paint workshop that became the best address of this trade in the Zürich area. He explained that now he is retired, but he is still busy with his house and garden and he is still restoring old bikes.
|Luigi, Me and Tilde, spending happy time at their home|
|Honda rc149 125cc 5 cylinder & Mv Agusta 125 single cylinder|
|Luigi and Me in front of his trophy collection|
His wife Tilde is the most lovable and humble person I ever met, she told me a lot of very happy memories of her and Luigi. And it’s really touching to hear and to realize how big the love still is between both of them. How sincere support they give to each other. Even now I still can feel very clearly how beautiful relation they have.
Sometime we wonder when we meet people who can live very happy with their love of life. And the lessons that I can take from the visit are when you love something and you do all of that sincerely and full of heart, whatever trouble you find in the middle of that, very sure you can pass it in an easy way. And when we love someone and decided to be together we don’t need to make two people be one, because it will be impossible. It is better to keep it being two persons but always support each other to find the happiness from both sides. That’s the love you can work for.
Special Thanks for #IP as his kindness to make this lovable moment happened