Italian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Binassi Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Italian Marque

Built in Bologna in the early 1970s, these were 125cc Grand Prix motorcycles. Luigi Rinaudo raced these when a member of the NCR team.

They were highly regarded, and two examples reside in the Collezione Moto Poggi.

(Not to be confused with MB, Moto Benassi)

Giuseppe Binassi (Pippo) was born in Medicina, close to Bologna in 1925. He received a basic elementary education, supplemented by evening classes in technical drawing. He was fascinated by foundry work and, although he never formally trained as a vehicle mechanic, this extraordinarily talented “engineer” built his own engines for both motorcycles and Karts. In 1967 he won the Italian Uphill Kart Championship in the 125cc class.

He mainly concentrated on building his own brand – Motori Binassi – not to be confused with Benassi. He built 125cc engines by preference although he also built a 175cc engine. In addition, he undertook conversions of other manufacturers engines. Most notably converting a 50cc Minarelli to water-cooling and rotary disc valve and converting a Guazzoni 50cc to water-cooling.

Two of his engines are in the Poggi Collection in Bologna – a 125cc and the 175cc – and both the engines are now fitted into Moto Morini Corsaro Country frames. Bike No 99 is the 175cc and Bike No 117 is the 125cc.

This 125cc, in its original racing trim, was built in conjunction with Scuderia NCR of Bologna. NCR originally consisted of 3 partners; Nepoti, Caracchi and Rizzi but were not that well known at this time. Now, of course, they are synonymous with Ducati, having built the 900SS that Mike Hailwood famously rode to success on the Isle of man in 1978.

Pippo Binassi had built the 125cc as a rotary disc engine that gave 19 HP at 12,000 rpm. The engine had a Del Orto SS 30 carburettor, but this was later changed for a Mikuni 34. The 5-speed gearbox had been bought in from FB Mondial. In building the bike with NCR, the engine was originally housed in a DASPA frame for the track.

Binassi 125cc Engine

This 125cc enjoyed some success, most notably finishing 9th in the 1972 Nations GP at Imola, ridden by the well-known Luigi Rinaudo from Trieste. Ironically, this achievement was overshadowed by an administrative blunder. Luigi Rinaudo had originally entered his Aermacchi in the race before switching to the Binassi. The record books recorded Rinaudo in ninth position on an Aermacchi and Aermacchi also received the constructors’ points. Pippo Binassi made the Race Management aware of the error and the press were informed. I have an extract from “Motociclismo” that shows the correct information. Motociclismo is the distinguished motorcycle journal from Italy.

1972 Imola GP 125cc Results

Information about the DASPA company is scarce but they were Bologna based and specialists in tubular frames based on chromium/molybdenum steel and were a direct competitor of Verlicchi amongst others. The Ducati 500GP of the time used a DASPA frame as did the NCR prepared Ducati endurance racers of the period. The owner of DASPA, Senor Renato DARDI, drowned at sea in 1978 and little more is known about the company.

I am grateful to Piero Binassi (the son of Pippo) for information and the use of the engine photograph and the 1972 Imola GP results extract. Also, Rino Tantini, the Curator of the Poggi Collection in Bologna for his help in finding Piero Binassi.

This short article only scratches the surface of the story of Pippo Binassi and his creations. It deserves more.

This article by Mike Ricketts was previously published in French in La Vie de la Moto.

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