My participation in Europe for the works Gilera team was a boy’s dream come true. Back in 1957, when I was 17, I accompanied my father, Salvador, who was racing a 500cc Gilera Piuma in the Argentinian championship races. At the end of the season, the Buenos Aires circuit played host to the Argentinian GP, and the locals were joined by the newly-crowned world champion, Libero Liberati, and his team-mate Alfredo Milani, with a brace of the celebrated 500cc Gilera ‘quattro’ fire engines.
In the pits I had my first experience of witnessing the activity of an Italian factory team, as the mechanics Giovanni Fumagalli and Luigi Colombo tended to their charges. I was shaking with enthusiasm throughout the training and qualifying, and I can never forget the sound as the two mighty ‘fours’ passed along the main straight at a sensational speed never before seen. Of course, certain memories of the race day stand out: I recall how the mechanics pushed the bikes to the starting grid, while the two Italian champions walked alongside them, like bullfighters.
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