article by Nicholas Pucci

It is not always necessary to be phenomenal to write pages of sporting history destined to be remembered forever. Take for example Guy Bertin, French centaur who was able to juggle with moderate success between the late seventies and early eightiesskilled it is true in finding space in the gold books of smaller displacements, but which on 19 August 1979 entered the great MotoGP encyclopaedia by right.

But let’s start from the beginning, remembering that Bertin, transalpine from Aix-les-Baines born in 1954, enters the main motor racing circuit in 1977 when, competing with Yamaha, he competes in the 250 and 350 classtaking fifth place in the first year at the home match at Paul Ricard of Le Castellet and the following year a sixth place in Finland, to tell the truth deserving the attention of Motobecane which in 1979 offered him an official 125 for the last three races of the season to replace the owner Thierry Espiè, who fell and was injured in Assen.

It is the turning point in Bertin’s career, who he immediately climbed onto the podium at Silverstone, finishing in the slipstream of Angel Nieto and Gert Bender. And seven days later, in Brno, on 19 August 1979, the Frenchman was ready to make motorcycling history. In fact, in Czechoslovakia, Guy, albeit favored by the absence of Minarelli and her leader Angel Nieto, already certain of the world title, a duel at the last braking point with the Austrian Harald Bartol, riding a Morbidelli, and with Maurizio Massimiani, centaur riding the MBA, managing to get the better of the Habsburg by just over 4 seconds, giving not only the Motobecane the first success in the world championship, but also signing the first French victory on a French motorcycle in history. And this is a record that no one will ever be able to take away from the motorcyclist from Aix-les-Baines.

Certainly not satisfied, in the last race of the season Bertin finds Angel Nieto on his way again, and if in Great Britain it was the Spanish champion who prevailed, at the French Grand Prix held in Les Mans he is the favorite of the house to cross the finish line firstthanks to the fall of the Spanish champion on the last corner in an attempt to fight for the victory on the last dive.

Ending the year in sixth place in the world rankings, Bertin, now engaged on a permanent basis in the eighth of a liter with the Motobecane, he experienced his best season the following year, 1980, taking three successes in Yugoslavia, at Brno and at the Nurburgring, and finishing second at Misano Adriatico, behind Pier Paolo Bianchi, and at Assen and in Belgium, always beaten by Nieto , which earned him second place in the championship standings at the end of the year right behind the Rimini player, 81 points against 90.

Despite the excellent season just ended, for 1981 Bertin leaves Motobecane and marries at Sanvenero, a motorcycle manufacturer founded by Emilio Sanvenero, a Tuscan building contractor and former sponsor of the MBA. And if with the new twin cylinder 2t the Frenchman confirms his qualities by obtaining the sixth and last victory of his career at Monzaalso ending according to al Paul Ricard and in Sweden for a sixth place finish in the general standings, that’s it the years that follow are not equal to expectationsso much so that Guy, after a miserable 1982 season in the 500 class with the four-cylinder 2t with which he does not collect even a single point, he moved up to the 250cc class, competing until 1988 and getting nothing better than a fourth place in 1984 with the MBA in Austria.

Here we are, therefore, returning to that principle stated at the beginning: it is not always necessary to be phenomenal to write pages of sporting history. Yeah, why Guy Bertin will forever remain the first Frenchman to have won on a French motorcycle… and not happy, he is also the only rider to have put on his bulletin board the Bol d’Or (endurance race which has been held in France on various circuits since 1922), the 24 Hours of Les Mans and the French motorcycling Grand Prix. Does it seem little to you?


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