Benelli – The story of a legend
The origins of this outstanding company’s history are intrinsically tied to one family who built and operated out of Pesaro Italy from 1911. Widowed mother of six, Theresa Benelli invested in her sons futures by setting up a business to service guns, cars and motorcycles, and in 1919 established themselves as a motorcycle manufacturer. Each of the six concerned themselves with the business from engineering, designing and racing their special creations.
Racing was in the blood of one her sons Tonio, who forced the hand of his brothers to design more powerful bikes to race, so that by the late 1920s Benelli had become one of Italy’s formidable racing teams. Different engine mounting and better valve design saw an increase in reliability over the competition and was later by others. This wouldn’t be the last time competitors looked at Benelli for engineering inspiration as the 1930’s brought an enviable lineup of production motorcycles and entrants racing across Europe. Their first prestigious Isle of Man win came in 1939, as the world of motorcycles changed to reflect the more modern look of a motorcycle with new tank placement, rear suspension, engine mounting, supercharging and foot operated gears, through the war torn period of Europe in the 1940’s.
Post war, the Pesaro manufacturer returned from the ashes with the sons of the Benelli brothers in the lead to export their lineup to the rest of the world. The manufacturer flourished after introducing two stroke and four stroke engines with various trims to suit touring riders and off-pavement riders. The large US market afforded them a stronger financial position to return to racing and their dreams to win more GPs. From their first World Championships in 1950, through to their second in 1969, Benelli had not only secured many GP wins, but the hearts of people across the globe to make them one of Italy’s famous marques.