This small Piedmontese town, close to the national border, is the scene for a love story between a family and off-road.
A lot has happened since Roberto, a motocross rider, opened the Boano Moto garage in 1976. He went on to participate in an incredible five Paris-Dakar.
However, the Boanos’ story was actually written by six hands: the brothers Jarno and Ivan inevitably love motorbikes just as much as their father does.
They started riding at an early age, also dedicating themselves to Enduro.
They won often and managed to arrive at the top of their discipline. The Boano Brothers went hand in hand with success: they won an astonishing fourteen Gold Medals at Six Days, three Team World Championships with the Italian National side, four European Championships, seven Italian titles, as well as various other podium positions and placings in World Championship.
In 2003, after twelve years of professionally riding for several factory teams, the brothers decided to manage themselves and created Boano Racing Sport.
When Jarno retired in 2005, he was keen on founding his own team. By then, Beta had turned its attention back to Enduro and entrusted Jarno with the running of their new factory team.
The new-born Boano Racing Sport thus became an official team in only two years’ time.
For many this would have been an end in itself, but, actually, it was only the beginning of a long success story.
A few years later, the company wanted to manage the team entirely internally, but Jarno preferred also to continue with the family business.
The goal was clear from the very beginning: Jarno’s experience and the Boano team’s know-how should shape great riders, and the Beta Boano Team soon became a real talent factory.
The breakthrough came in 2014, when McCanney and Soreca won the Junior and Youth Championships respectively. Freeman, first as Junior and then as 2018 Enduro1 Champion, and Cavallo as Junior Champion in 2017 achieved other successes to be added also to the 2017 Teams title.
Forty-three years after its foundation in 1976, the company can still be found on the same street today. In the meantime, it has also made a name for itself as producer of parts. Boano Parts are catalogue ordered and used all around the world.
The commercial and agonistic activities are part of the same project which always prioritises quality both in the perfection of its bikes and in the preparation of the young riders.
We went to visit them and found that not only the numerous successes but also the motorcycles speak for themselves.
Climbing a simple ladder one can end up in front of bikes which contributed to the history of the Rally and, in particular, of the Dakar. Today, the Boano family keeps the bikes that accompanied father Roberto across the Sahara Desert in a small room, one next to the other. From the first Honda XR 500 of 1984, over a 650 Africa Twin, which was produced in a series of only fifty and used by Team Europe, to one of the eleven 750 Africa Twin which were produced in 1991 also for Team Europe.
Eleven riders, eleven European countries.
Not to forget the motorbike, another Africa Twin, of Roberto’s last Dakar in 1998.
If there is anyone with whom one can talk about bikes and riders, it’s Jarno.
“We want to provide the rider with the best motorcycle possible”, he says. “Everyone has their own needs when it comes to their bike’s setting and components.”
The preparation of a team’s bikes is a very specific procedure. The bike is a standard Beta: “Even if it’s not really necessary, we like to do a general check immediately so we inspect the tightening torques, for example.” Once the bike is reassembled, it’s the turn of the motor, which is the first critical stage. Depending on the rider’s preferences, they work on the engine in order then to move on to the special parts, like the break levers or the fork plates.
The next step are the suspensions, the “soul” of an Enduro motorbike together with the engine.
Very specific settings are optimised later on and maybe even modified further once the rider has used the bike in different conditions.
It might seem strange that an Enduro motorcycle “has to work not perfectly everywhere”. If a bike is perfect for a specific special test, it will definitely fail at the next test. “It is a compromise which allows you to face any condition, whether you’re in a race or on an outing with friends.”
“There are a lot of youngsters in the team and, often, one has to be very good at understanding what exactly their needs concerning their bikes are.” “This is why Deny (editor’s note: Philippaerts who races in the Italian Championships and organises the trainings of the team’s riders) and I test the potential adjustments several times. In that way we are able to recognise whether a rider’s feedback is actually true or whether it is more psychological.” “If we are convinced of something, we take that decision, even if the rider does not seem to agree. Other times we do what we think is right, but we tell him what he wants to here. With the first positive result, everything is ok again.”
The same almost maniacal attention to detail that team riders profit from is also given to amateurs and other clients. “A bike is a toy. If you sit in your living room and decide to go to the garage to have a look at it, you need to like it. I think it is right that a client can have Bradley’s motorcycle if that is what they want. This is the reason why we sell not only our serially produced bikes, but also all the various parts our riders use. The aesthetic aspect is important to us as well. Basically, if somebody wants a World Championship bike, they can have it.” Recently, even the best riders have increasingly wanted bikes which are easy to ride. “Nobody needs all that power if they then don’t have the possibility actually to use it.
It’s happened to us to get bikes where the exhaust was completely crushed. Looking at them you would never think that they could race in competitions, but, in their own way, they always manage to and in good time.”
A pro rider’s setting, based on the engine and the right suspension, obviously is different from an amateur’s bike, even if the substance never changes: the core can be exactly the same. Subsequently, the bike is custom-fitted for each rider or client, whoever they are. “To make them happy”, Jarno adds.
Unlike in the past, anyone can ride an Enduro bike: “the Enduro bike could become universal and be used by everyone, not just licensed riders. If you take a modern four-stroke engine, not a two-stroke one, you can really do whatever you want with it. Apart from using it for Enduro or motocross, you could install street tyres and ride it every day.”
“I love Enduro also because of this: prices are much lower than for road bikes and aficionados can get to know each other much more easily. They can go riding together and have a great time without spending a fortune – and all of this using the same bikes as the EnduroGP champions.”
Racing is the heart and soul of the Boano family’s life, and it has been like this for more than forty years. At first there was Roberto, then the brothers Jarno and Ivan, and today there’s the team’s riders.
“We want to form tough riders who are able to manage themselves once they are in the official teams. We give them 360 degrees of care and even take a personal approach. We want the best possible conditions for them and always try to create a family atmosphere. Normally, these aspects are not a priority in factory teams: they care much less about your personal problems. You have to be strong and win. That’s all.”
This doesn’t mean that here they don’t struggle. Deny explains that they start working both on the physical and technical side from December onwards. They begin with athletic tests and use the results to plan the training programme.
Beta Boano’s members always go out riding together. “In the winter, we normally go to a more temperate climate for preparation. Last year, for example, we went to Sicily. Sometimes, during offseason, we go riding five times a week and our training sessions are like small competitions. They are always together and, even if some riders are naturally faster than others, they all motivate and help each other.”
At a young age some riders might avoid having to deal with their weaknesses, but Deny tells us they all support and advise each other constantly, which further improves the team spirit. Because races last all weekend, motorbike training sessions decrease to two or three a week during the season, while physical preparation continues, “both from an aerobic and from an anaerobic point of view”.
“Once the season is over, they should detach. Bradley, for example, needs a month without his motorbike, but the others still go out riding for fun with their friends.”
In a few days the summer break will be over and, after 15 August, the riders will get together in order to prepare for the Czech and French GPs. We are sure that Bradley Freeman, Matteo Pavoni, Lorenzo Macoritto, and Thomas Marini cannot wait to get on their bikes and continue writing the success story which started over four decades ago.