Lot 407: 1954 F B Mondial 125cc Competizione Racing Motorcycle
Few marques have achieved so fine a competition record in so short a time as Mondial, the Italian company’s period at the very top of Grand Prix racing encompassing the years 1949-51, plus a gloriously successful swansong in 1957.
Founded in Bologna in 1929, Mondial concentrated on the manufacture of commercial vehicles prior to WW2, only turning to motorcycle making in 1948 following a meeting between co-founder Guiseppe Boselli and engineer Alfonso Drusiani. Flying in the face of accepted wisdom, Drusiani believed that it was possible for a four-stroke to compete against the two-strokes then dominating the ultra-lightweight class. To obtain the necessary power, Drusiani specified twin overhead camshafts for Mondial’s 123cc single.
After a successful debut season in 1948 which saw works rider Nello Pagani win the Italian Grand Prix, the little Mondial was further improved for 1949. Maximum power was raised to 13bhp and Pagani duly brought Mondial its first World Championship. Mondial’s dominance of the 125 class remained just as overwhelming for the next two years, Bruno Ruffo taking the title in 1950 and Carlo Ubbiali in ’51, before Cecil Sandford struck back for MV Agusta in 1952. By this time there was also a single-overhead-camshaft version for sale to private customers. One of the first of the latter was future World Champion Tarquinio Provini, who won every race entered in 1953, thus gaining himself a place in the Mondial works team for 1954. Less highly stressed than the Grand Prix twin-cams, the sohc Mondial was the works’ mount of choice for long-distance races such as the Giro d’Italia and Milan-Taranto.
This single-overhead-camshaft F B Mondial Competizione is one of very few of these over-the-counter racers remaining. A 1954 model, it has the 27mm carburettor and fixed ignition as opposed to the earlier automatic advance/retard system. Its first owner Åke Östblom raced the machine in 1954 and then bought a second Mondial equipped with telescopic fork and swinging-arm frame. ‘079’ was placed in storage, remaining there for the next 30-plus years before being restored by Åke Östblom and sold to Karl Oskarsson in the late 1990s. Having enjoyed just two owners from new and spent almost its entire life in storage, ‘079’ has avoided the crashes, rebuilds and modifications that the majority of racing motorcycles undergo. It thus represents a quite exceptional opportunity to acquire a thoroughbred, Grand Prix racing motorcycle belonging to one of the most successful marques of its era, presented in outstandingly original condition.
Bonhams, Classic & Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Stafford
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