how were the 'mosquitoes'
of the 50's class
Now it seems unbelievable that you could race with those little tires and bend at 180 mph. And yet, from 1962 to 1983, the "smallest displacement" gave spectacle with beautiful races, great champions and refined technical solutions. At Monza I tested Lazzarini's Garelli, vice world champion. Here's how it went
In the sixties, Suzuki and Honda dominated with their two- and four-stroke single- and twin-cylinder 50s: mechanical jewels that exceeded 300 horsepower/liter and 20,000 revolutions. Before a less permissive FIM regulation stopped it, Suzuki even had a three-cylinder 90° V engine ready... Imagine the music.
Angel Nieto was the king of this category when the Japanese were replaced by the Spanish Derbi and Bultaco, but many were the champions who rode them. The category opened every Sunday program, and in Italy it was with the small 50 that the youngest started to race on the track and in the uphill races, with simplicity and with reduced budgets.
I happened to try in the early eighties the Garelli of Eugenio Lazzarini, vice world champion: in Monza, despite the rain and the wet asphalt, I discovered a fabulous bike, stable and with a lot of feeling. It was not easy to start from a standstill, however, and the next tester burned the clutch...