• Gilera 500cc four cylinder Geoff Duke 1954 Start Dutch TT MV Agusta Moto Guzzi

A superb and rare photo of the start of the 1954 500cc Grand Prix of the Netherlands, a.k.a. the Dutch T.T., which was ridden on July 10, 1954.   On this magnificent photograph we see the future winner of the race ánd the 500cc World Champion of that year, Geoff Duke on his works Gilera 500 four (nr. 1 – he also was the current 500cc World Champion when this photo was taken!). Geoff Duke would WIN the race with an average speed of 104.24 mph (167.76 km/h) AND he went on to become the 1954 World Champion with the photographed machine.   Also visible are the great Irishman Reg Armstrong (Gilera, nr. 3), Scotsman Fergus Anderson (Moto Guzzi, nr.4), Australian Ken Kavanagh (Moto Guzzi, nr. 7), Italian Carlo Bandirola (M.V. Agusta, nr. 8), Italian Nello Pagani with nr. 9 on M.V. Agusta) and Englishman D.G. Lashmar (B.S.A., nr. 19.).   Geoff Duke , OBE (born 29 March 1923 in St. Helens, Lancashire) was a British multi-time world champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. The name of Geoff Duke is synonymous with motor sports, for he dominated motorcycle racing in the 1950s, winning six world championships and five Isle of Man TT races. Duke came to prominence after winning the 1949 Senior Clubmans TT and the Senior Manx Grand Prix and was to become the very first post-war motorcycling 'superstar', popularly known amongst the racing fraternity simply as 'the Duke'. He was signed up to the Norton works team for the 1950 TT, finishing second in the Junior and breaking both lap and race records in the Senior. After winning three World Championships for Norton he surprised everybody by moving abroad to Italian motorcycle manufacturer, Gilera in 1953. With Gilera, he had a string of three consecutive 500cc world championships. His support for a rider's strike demanding more start money led the FIM to suspend him for six months, dashing any hopes for a fourth consecutive title. In 1955 he was declared the first rider to lap the Isle of Man TT course at 100 mph, though this was later corrected to 99.97. As a consequence the official first 100 mph lap is credited to Bob McIntyre, also on a Gilera, in 1957. Duke was a non-starter due to injury. His final race was the 1959 Junior when he finished fourth on a Norton. In 1963 formed Scuderia Duke with Gilera to race the 1957 Gileras against the might of MV Augusta. Duke cut a distinctive figure on racing circuits as he was the first rider to wear one-piece leathers - he had enlisted his local tailor, to make the first of his now famous one-piece race suits. He was named Sportsman of the Year in 1951, awarded the RAC Segrave Trophy and, in recognition of his services to motorcycling, was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1953. Highly honoured by the Isle of Man, where he made so many of his world record breaking rides, a point on the Mountain Course has been named after him. Three sharp bends at the 32nd Milestone between Brandywell and Windy Corner now carry the title 'Duke's'. The FIM named him a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2002.   Gilera was founded by Giuseppe Gilera in the Northern Italian town of Arcore, close to the city of Milan, in 1909. In 1935 Gilera acquired rights to the Rondine four-cylinder engine. This formed the basis for Gileras four cylinder racing machines nearly forty years. From the mid-thirties Gilera developed a range of four-stroke engine machines. The engines ranged from 100 to 500cc. The most famous of which was the 1939 Saturno. After World War II, Gilera dominated Grand Prix motorcycle racing, winning the 500cc road racing world championship 6 times in 8 years. Facing a downturn in motorcycle sales due to the increase in the popularity of automobiles after the war, Gilera made a gentleman's agreement with the other Italian motorcycle makers to quit Grand Prix racing after the 1957 season as a cost cutting measure. In 1969 the company was purchased by the Piaggio & Co. SpA -- which now holds six marques and is the world's fourth largest motorcycle manufacturer. In 1992, Gilera made a return to the Grand Prix arena and Piaggio continues to produce small-displacement motorcycles with the Gilera name. Gilera World Championships: 1950: 500cc with Umberto Masetti 1952: 500cc with Umberto Masetti 1953: 500cc with Geoff Duke 1954: 500cc with Geoff Duke (SEE PHOTO!) 1955: 500cc with Geoff Duke 1957: 500cc with Libero Liberati 2001: 125cc with Manuel Poggiali   M.V. Agusta began as an offshoot of the Agusta aviation company which was formed by Count Giovanni Agusta in 1923. The Count died in 1927, leaving the company in the hands of his wife and sons, Domenico (on the photo), Vincenzo, Mario and Corrado. Count Vincenzo Agusta together with his brother Domenico formed MV Agusta (the MV stood for Meccanica Verghera) at the end of the Second World War as a means to save the jobs of employees of the Agusta firm and also to fill the post-war need for cheap, efficient transportation. Count Vincenzo and Domenico Agusta had a passion for mechanical workings and for motorcycle racing. They were determined to have the best Grand Prix motorcycle racing team in the world and spared no expense on their passion. They achieved this goal by hiring some of the best riders of the time, namely Carlo Ubbiali, John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read, and others, and having the best engineers, most notably Arturo Magni. The fire-engine red racing machines became a hallmark of Grand Prix racing in the 1960s and early 1970s, winning 17 consecutive 500 cc World Championships, and 63 World Championships overall. With the death of Count Domenico Agusta in 1971, the company lost its guiding force. The company won their last Grand Prix in 1976 and by 1980, stopped producing motorcycles altogether. The Agusta aviation branch continued on with its successful helicopter business. Interestingly, MV produced their first prototype, ironically called "Vespa," in 1945. After learning of Piaggio's brand new motorscooter of the same name, it was changed to MV 98. The company successfully manufactured small-displacement, quintessential Café racer style motorcycles (mostly 125-350 cc) through the 1950s and 1960s, followed by the big four cylinder 600cc and 750cc bikes in the 1960s and 1970s.   Moto Guzzi, also known as Guzzi, is the oldest European manufacturer in continuous motorcycle production. Established in 1921 in Mandello del Lario, Italy, Moto Guzzi has led Italy's motorcycling manufacture, enjoyed prominence in worldwide motorcycle racing, and led the industry in ground-breaking innovation – for the greater part of its history. The company's history has been shaped by the importance of racing, engineering innovation and a constant adaptation to the changes in the motorcycle industry since its inception 1921. Moto Guzzi was conceived by two aircraft pilots and their mechanic serving in the Corpo Aeronautico Militare (the Italian Air Corp, CAM) during World War I: Carlo Guzzi, Giovanni Ravelli and Giorgi Parodi. By happenstance assigned to the same Miraglia Squadron based outside Venice, the three became close, despite starkly different socio-economic backgrounds. The trio envisioned creating a motorcycle company after the war. Guzzi would engineer the motor bikes, Parodi (scion of wealthy Genovese ship-owners) would finance the venture, and Ravelli (already a famous pilot and motocycle racer) would promote the bikes with his racing prowess. Guzzi and Parodi (along with Parodi's brother) formed Moto Guzzi in 1921. Ravelli, ironically, had died just days after the war's end in an aircraft crash and is commemorated by the eagle's wings that form the Moto Guzzi logo. Carlo Guzzi and Giorgio Parodi, along with Giorgio's brother Angelo, created a privately held silent partnership "Società Anonima Moto Guzzi" on 15 March 1921, for the purpose of (according to the original articles of incorporation) "the manufacture and the sale of motor cycles and any other activity in relation to or connected to metallurgical and mechanical industry". The formation of the company hinged on an initial loan of two thousand Lira from the Parodis' father, Emanuele Vittorio, which he gave on 3 January 1919, offering the balance of the loan upon his review of the project's progress: Dear Giorgio, you can let both your partners know that I will offer you for your first 1,500 or 2,000 Lire. Although with the condition that the sum, under no circumstances, shall be increased. Likewise, I reserve the right to supervise your progress before giving my agreement to this project. The company was legally based in Genoa, Italy, with its headquarters in Mandello. The very earliest motorcycle bore the name G.P. (Guzzi-Parodi), though when it started the marque had changed its name to Moto Guzzi. As the only actual shareholders, the Parodi's wanted to shield their shipping fortunes by avoiding confusion of name G.P. with Giorgio Parodi's initials. Carlo Guzzi initially received royalties for each motorcycle produced, holding no ownership in the company that bore his name. In 1946 Moto Guzzi formally incorporated as Moto Guzzi S.p.A. with Giorgio Parodi as chairman. Carlo Guzzi's first engine design was a horizontal single that dominated the first 45 years of the company's history in various configurations. Through 1934, each engine bore the signature of the mechanic who built it. As originally envisioned, the company used racing to promote the brand. In the 1935 Isle of Man TT, Moto Guzzi factory rider Stanley Woods performed an impressive double victory with wins in the Lightweight TT as well as the Senior TT. Until the mid 1940s, the traditional horizontal four-stroke single cylinder 500 cc engines outfitted with one overhead and one side valve (also known as: IOE, inlet over exhaust or F-head) were the highest performance engines Moto Guzzi sold to the general public. By contrast, the company supplied the official racing team and private racers with higher performance racing machines with varying overhead cam, multi-valve configurations and cylinder designs. In the 1950s, Moto Guzzi, along with the Italian factories of Gilera and Mondial, led the world of Grand Prix motorcycle racing. With durable and lightweight 250 cc and 350 cc bikes designed by Giulio Carcano, the firm dominated the middleweight classes. The factory won five consecutive 350 cc world championships between 1953 and 1957. In realizing that low weight alone might not continue to win races for the company, Carcano designed the V8 500 cc GP race bike—whose engine was to become one of the most complex engines of its time. Despite the bike's having led many races and frequently posted the fastest lap time, it often failed to complete races because of mechanical problems. Ultimately, the V8 was not developed further as Moto Guzzi withdrew (together with the main competitors Gilera and Mondial) from racing after the 1957 season citing escalating costs and diminishing motorcycle sales. By the time of its pull out from Grand Prix racing, Moto Guzzi had won 3,329 official races, 8 World Championships, 6 Constructor's Championships and 11 Isle of Man TT victories. The period after World War II was as difficult in Mandello del Lario as it was elsewhere in post-war Europe. The solution was production of inexpensive, lighter cycles. The 1946 "Motoleggera", a 65 cc lightweight motorcycle became very popular in post-war Italy. A four-stroke 175 cc scooter known as the "Galletto" also sold well. Though modest cycles for the company, the lighter cycles continue to feature Guzzi's innovation and commitment to quality. The step-through Galletto initially featured a manual, foot-shifted three-speed (160 cc) configuration then later a four-speed (175 cc) set-up by the end of 1952. The displacement was increased to 192 cc in 1954 and electric start was added in 1961. Moto Guzzi was limited in its endeavors to penetrate the important scooter market as motorcycle popularity waned after WWII.   The Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) was a British manufacturer of vehicles, firearms, and military equipment, and still exists as an airgun sport manufacturer and distributor. At its peak, BSA was the largest motorcycle producer in the world. Loss of sales and poor investments in new products in the motorcycle division, which included Triumph Motorcycles, led to problems for the whole group. BSA was founded in 1861 in the Gun Quarter, Birmingham, England by fourteen gunsmiths of the Birmingham Small Arms Trade Association, who had together supplied arms to the British government during the Crimean War. The company branched out as the gun trade declined; in the 1870s they manufactured the Otto Dicycle, in the 1880s the company began to manufacture bicycles and in 1903 the company's first experimental motorcycle was constructed. Their first prototype automobile was produced in 1907 and the next year the company sold 150 automobiles. By 1909 they were offering a number of motorcycles for sale and in 1910 BSA purchased the British Daimler Company for its automobile engines. During World War I, the company returned to arms manufacture and greatly expanded its operations. BSA produced rifles, Lewis guns, shells, motorcycles and other vehicles for the war effort. In 1920, it bought some of the assets of the Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Airco), which had built many important aircraft during the war but had become bankrupt due to the falloff in orders once hostilities ceased. BSA did not go into aviation; the chief designer Geoffrey de Havilland of Airco founded the de Havilland company. As well as the Daimler car range, BSA re-entered the car market under their own name in 1921 with a V-twin engined light car followed by four-cylinder models up to 1926 when the name was temporarily dropped. In 1929 a new range of 3 and 4 wheel cars appeared and production of these continued until 1936. In the 1930s the board of directors authorised expenditure on bringing their arms-making equipment back to use - it had been stored at company expense since the end of the Great War in the belief that BSA might again be called upon to perform its patriotic duty. In 1931 the Lanchester Motor Company was acquired and production of their cars transferred to Daimler's Coventry works. By World War II, BSA had 67 factories and was well positioned to meet the demand for guns and ammunition. BSA operations were also dispersed to other companies under licence. During the war it produced over a million Lee-Enfield rifles, Sten sub machine guns and half a million Browning machine guns. Wartime demands included motorcycle production. 126,000 BSA M20 motorcycles were supplied to the armed forces, from 1937 (and later until 1950) plus military bicycles including the folding paratrooper bicycle. At the same time, the Daimler concern was producing armoured cars. Sir Bernard Docker was chairman of BSA until 1951 with James Leek CBE Managing Director from 1939, after which Jack Sangster became Managing Director. Post-war, BSA continued to expand the range of metal goods it produced.   It is a very nice non period photo that reflects a wonderful era of motorcycling’s rich history in a wonderful way. This is your rare chance to own this photo, therefore it is printed in a nice large format of ca. 8" x 12" (ca.20 x 30 cm).   Check out our auctions or contact us for more motorcycle photos and use the shipping discount!   Shipping costs will only be $ 7.00 regardless of how many photos you buy.   For 5 or more photos, shipping is free!  (Note: A. Herl, Inc. does not appear on photo, for purposes only) No copyright expressed or implied. Sold as collectable item only. We are clearing out our archives that we have gathered from various sources. All items always sent well protected in PVC clear files and board backed envelopes.   We have photographs that came from professional collections and/or were bought from the original photographer or press studio! They are all of professional and excellent quality.   After many decades of professionally collecting photographs and posters we are clearing out our archives. They make the perfect gift and are perfectly suited for framing. They will look gorgeous unframed and will be a true asset nicely framed with a border. They are a gorgeous and great asset in every home, workshop, workplace, restaurant, bar or club!   First come - first served. And you can always contact us for your requests. Please ask any questions before the auction ends.

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Gilera 500cc four cylinder Geoff Duke 1954 Start Dutch TT MV Agusta Moto Guzzi

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