The first characters to mark their time in Brazilian motorcycling history.
Original article published in issue 234 of Motociclismo Magazine – By Motostory – Carlãozinho Coachman
Today is the result of what we did yesterday … Tomorrow, the consequence of what we do now! How to ignore the story? Curious is the mission to search history for the origins of Brazilian motorcycling, motorcycles and characters who built the fifth largest motorcycle market in the world. It is an interesting way to unveil the past, the paths that brought us to 2017, and to remember who were the people and their
Motorcycles, that have traveled this trip of more than a century of history.
Valuing the history and its characters has always been the first purpose of Motostory – the History of the Motorcycle in Brazil. Since the idea emerged, still in 2004 (see more in motostory.com.br), our goal has always been to keep alive the memory of the people who built our market. What we had hoped was to discover new characters and their stories. What we did not expect was to receive such support from these characters and their families and descendants. So, after 10 years that I left the command of the magazine MOTOCICLISMO, return to these pages with a space called Collection, by Motostory, to share with you the results of years of work and dedication in the search for our origins, their characters, their stories And of course, their motorcycles.
Dealing with history is something liberating. When I left school, the smallest known particle in the universe was the atom … today we know that the thing goes much further, or much more within. For this reason, as far as we know, the first reference of a “motocycleta” in Brazil appears in a classified ad in the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo in 1904. The “Motocycleta Peugeot 2.5 HP, in good condition. “Incidentally, between 1904 and 1909, the ads appear only in the classified section and the only brand identified is Peugeot. The other ads only make reference to the bike, its state of conservation and the power, described in horse power. They did not talk about the displacement as we do today. The few notes report only a few episodes with bikes in other countries.
In the following decade the first official importers and other brands appear on the scene. Harley-Davidson, Indian, Henderson, Cleveland, Excelcior, Wanderer, plus companies like Paul J Christoph Co., Antonio do Santos, A. Dias Carneiro, Auto Geral and AutoSport are some of the importers at that time.
The value of family collections
Between the years 1910 and the end of the following decade, the documents and characters that we recognize to this day begin to emerge. The motorcycle was imported at that time and arrived in Brazil through its two main ports, in Rio de Janeiro, then national capital, and through Santos, SP, just 60 km from the most important city of the Brazilian economy, São Paulo. These more remote documents came to us through three families, the Ceccarelli, from Campinas, Edgard Soares, from São Paulo, who also brought us the album of a character previously unknown to us, Antonio Lage, and the Bezzi, from Santos. Certainly, the reason for preserving this incredible documents collection has to do with the fact that motorcycling permeated these families in the early 20th century and continues through decades with their descendants. Many of them are motorcyclists involved with the sport or the business, others “just” motorcyclists. Other more recent collections, no less important, have been with us for work, digitization and research since the first days of our project. With great patience, Denisio Casarini, Edmar Ferreira, Gilmar Vidal, Aguinaldo Fonseca, Alex Barros, the Tognocchi family, Santo Feltrin, Antonio Jorge Neto, entrusted us with their originals. Many more regularly send us digital files and tips that help us put together this true patchwork. Collectors, clubs, event organizers and gatherers, fans of “history and old motorcycles” have helped daily. Thanks again!
What we know so far
The first documents of the decades of 1910 and 1920 show some names that dominated the first races in Brazil. Antonio Lage, a character brought to us by Edgard Soares, was “the guy” of the first motorcycle races (and many car races too). He and his Harley-Davidson, or his automobile Manon, were protagonists for years, but not the first winners. In a newspaper clip, whose hand-written date shows April 17, 1921, the publication, written in Italian, portrays Antonio Lage’s victory in the “Campionato Motociclistico Paulistano – Stabilendo un meraviglioso record.” The report still brings ” The book D’oro del Campionato “with the following results:
• 1915 – Alessandro Grazzini, N.S.U, 3, 1/2 HP, Moto Club Italia – 3:55
• 1916 – Adolfo Lupatelli, Triumph, 3, ½ HP, Soc. Sportiva Paulista – 4:15
• 1917 – Non disputato • 1918 João Gual, Harley-Davidson, 8 HP, S. S. Paulista, 3:43
• 1919 – Guglielmo Spera, Triumph 2, ¼ HP, Tourig Club, 4:20 3”
• 1920 – Antonio Lage, Harley Davidson, S. S. Paulista, 3:35 14 1/5
That year, Antonio Lage won the three laps race on the Circuit of Itapecerica, totaling 210 km, with a record time of “3 Ore and 35 14 1/5.” The list of subscribers, who left at three-minute intervals, included: Guglielmo Spera, F. Piza, Luigi Zanetti, Alessandro Paiva and Antonio Lage. Soon on Lage’s album of relics, two other names that marked the time appeared in the reports.
Constante Ceccarelli and his B.S.A., from Campinas, the great-grandfather of friend and rider Gustavo Ceccarelli, were shipwrecked in the flooded sands of Praia Grande in Santos, as well as the Santista Luiz Bezzi and his Guzzi, both with problems in their motorcycles. Once again, Lage’s victory.
Analyzing many other materials that came to us, such as that given by the Ceccarelli family, we discovered many other names besides the victories of Constante that happened in the same period, becoming an idol in the region of Campinas in the mid-1920s. Some decades latter, in which father and son, Luiz and Franco Bezzi, dominated races in Brazil and Latin America along with so many icons in our history. But these and other characters will still be unveiled throughout our publications.
Stay with us and thank you for the privilege of once again being here with you!
-Text: Carlãozinho Coachman
By Motostory: to share with you the results of years of work and dedication in the search for our origins, their characters, their stories and, of course, their motorcycles.