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Another bike gets into the Morbidelli collection. It is one of the three 250cc built by the Benelli factory in 1959, on the occasion of the return to the races and after the withdrawal decided for the death of the driver Dario Ambrosini occurred on the French circuit of Albi in 1951.
The first participation of this bike to a official race was at the famous “Shell Gold Cup” on Imola circuit; the two exemplars participating were respectively driven by the young Silvio Grassetti from Pesaro, who made his absolute début in the Formula Grand Prix, and by the English Dickie Dale. The race gave good results to the Benelli team. Grassetti finished at fifth place, in spite of a pit stop in the box for ignition problems, whereas Dale was second after the winner Emilio Mendogni on Morini.
About 20 years ago, this bike was recovered by Giancarlo Morbidelli in England, with the important mediation of John Surtees, the 7 times World Champion of Motorcycling and 1 time Formula 1 World Champion. After the acquisition by Morbidelli, the bike remained in his workshop for several years , with some missing parts, such as the tank, the front brake and the fairing. The tank was recovered by Mr Imperiali of Rome, an old Motobi bikes seller and racing preparer; the front brake was donated by Mr Fernando Bruscoli, ex driver from Pesaro, who, in his turn, had received it from Mr Marco Benelli, one of the Benelli factory’s owner; the fairing was at last rebuilt by Mr Attilio Donzelli, an old coachbuilder, always from Pesaro.
All the other job was personally made and completed by Giancarlo Morbidelli, using the original Benelli documentation with great and scrupulous attention.
In the image on the left we can see Silvio Grassetti on the bike together with Giancarlo Morbidelli, after the end of the restore.
Grassetti was one of the 9 drivers who raced with this Benelli during the 3 years of “competitive life” of the bike (until 1962). We would also remember, together with Grassetti, John Cooper, Bruno Spaggiari, Paolo Campanelli, Mike Hailwood, Ralph Bryans, Geoff Duke, Tarquino Provini and the before mentioned Dackie Dale.
Just Silvio Grassetti tries to briefly describe some good characteristics and some defects of this bike: “The 6 speed gearbox was not able to distribute the power of the engine in the best way, and also the clutch of the various gears was not easy for the poor agility of the system; as compensation, the bike had a good stability and this aspect allowed me to make some laps on the Monza circuit at the average speed of 175 km/h. With this bike I won in Argentina, in Salzburg, Abbazia and two other climb races in Italy”.
The coming of the Benelli 250 4 Cylinders, which was presented to the world press for the first time in 1960, slackened the development of the Benelli Single-Cylinder to the new bike’s advantage.

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