As petty as it may be, one of the most satisfying in the world is to see is the big guy lose. All the shiny tools and big trailers can only get you so far and that’s why every once in a while, the little guy is able to break through and take the top step. This type of story isn’t exclusive to motorsports but boy has motorsports been privy to some of the most romantic examples. Britten and Buell are two of my personal favorite stories but that’s not to take any credit away from all the enthusiasts who have done the same thing with custom builds, club races, top speed runs, etc.
Today we have a chapter of a similar story that is set in Italy starring Guiseppe Ghezzi and Brian Saturno. What’s it about? An enthusiast who loved to toil around Northern Italy on Guzzis and decided his machine had so much more to give. It’s hard to say what exactly happened in the makeshift factory where these were built but one thing led to another and the duo ended up racing their V11-derived race bike in the Italian 1996 SuperTwins Championship. Not only did they compete but the ragtag outfit managed to take home the championship in a field littered with established BMWs and Ducatis. After topping the 1996 championship Ghezzi and Brian continued producing “trackified” Guzzis for a rather small niche of riders who lusted for a race-spec Moto Guzzi. One of those models is our RSBFS find for the day: a 2003 Ghezzi-Brian Folgore.
One of the things that allows the little guys to create some crazy fast bikes is that they aren’t limited by the constraints of being one the big guys. Red tape, investors, accountants, and so on and so forth. Without any of these things holding them back, Ghezzi-Brian was able to create an out-of-the-box design that accommodated the horizontal V-twin setup that Guzzis are famous for.
The V-twin in question today is 1,056 cc powerplant out of the V11 that pumps out ~90hp and ~80 lb/ft of torque. That’s very quick for 2003 and is still quick today.
There’s certainly a lot to look at here. One of the interesting aspects of this bike is the airbox. As seen in the picture, the intakes connect to the frame which also functions as a big airbox to help the 2 cylinders breathe. One of the keys to producing high hp twins is a huge airbox. Look at any Buell and you’ll see the airbox is quite large as well. The front brake is also a rim-mounted design which eliminates the need for a second rotor/caliper and reduces the unsprung mass over the front wheel.
The orientation of the engine also allows the multi-function steel frame to stay low and drop right through the center of the V and connect to the airbox. The exhaust side is connected to a Bub exhaust which is absolutely critical to bring any V-twin to life. An aluminum gas tank sits on top but is of course covered by the one-piece fiberglass tank and seat which adds visual length and sleekness to the design.
One thing that’s undeniable with the Ghezzi-Brians is the pursuit of performance. Not many stones were left unturned with these bikes. A Moto Guzzi V-twin will certainly have some inherent flaws that will make it perform below its Japanese counterparts but at the end of the day, the creators of this machine built exactly what they wanted. That’s the brilliant thing about these small outfits: they build what they want and by taking a different line than those in front, they get ahead even if it’s only for a brief moment.
This bike was listed on BaT in October 2020 and that listing mentions the seller acquired the bike in 2008. It was bid to $12,500 but did not sell and it seems that the seller is trying his luck again on Ebay. It’s estimated that 100 of these were produced and roughly 25 made it stateside so transactions are far and few in between. It’ll be tough to find a price point especially with the madness today but it’s certainly worth more that $12,500. At the time of writing, the bid is at $8,100 with 6 days to go.