WEL­COME TO ROSSIVILLE

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Features -

De­spite liv­ing in Lon­don for a while a decade ago, Valentino Rossi re­mains very much a home­boy and, un­like many of his ri­vals, he still lives in the area where he grew up, the small town of Tavul­lia, Italy.

Lo­cated only 12 miles from Misano, Tavul­lia has a pop­u­la­tion of 7000. The town has be­come part of the Rossi legend and there’s no doubt that the res­i­dents are ex­tremely proud and pro­tec­tive of their most fa­mous son.

THE VR46 FAC­TORY

Orig­i­nally set up to bring pro­duc­tion of his mer­chan­dis­ing in-house and to give some­thing back to Tavul­lia by creat­ing em­ploy­ment, the VR46 busi­ness is en­joy­ing al­most as much suc­cess as Rossi the racer, with an es­ti­mated turnover of over €10 mil­lion a year.

Orig­i­nally pro­duc­ing only Rossi ap­parel from the state-of-the-art pro­duc­tion line, it first ex­panded when friend Kevin Sch­wantz asked if Rossi would pro­duce his line of mer­chan­dis­ing too. From there on, the com­pany has snow­balled, ex­pand­ing to pro­duce items for half the Mo­togp pad­dock with Cal Crutchlow, Dani Pe­drosa, Mav­er­ick Viñales and, un­til their fall­ing out last year, Marc Mar­quez among the rid­ers rep­re­sented.

Run by close friend Al­berto Te­baldi, the fac­tory is also the base and work­shops for the Team Sky VR46 Moto3 team run by fel­low child­hood friend Uc­cio Salucci.

DA ROSSI’S PIZZE­RIA

The cen­tre­point of the Valentino Rossi em­pire is the Da Rossi’s Pizze­ria set up by Ce­sarino Salucci, fa­ther of Rossi’s close friend Uc­cio. From hum­ble begin­nings it has now mor­phed into the big­gest, loud­est and most colour­ful sup­port­ers’ club in mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing his­tory!

And it re­mains a fo­cal point for race­days, when swarms of fans de­scend upon the town to watch from big screens out­side the pizze­ria and gelato bar, where ta­bles are booked up months in ad­vance.

THE SHOP AND SUP­PORT­ERS’ CLUB

Orig­i­nally formed in the pizze­ria, the sup­port­ers’ club has now branched out into its own premises next door to the town’s chapel (where the parish priest fa­mously rings the bells to cel­e­brate a Rossi vic­tory)!

Boast­ing more than 8000 fully paid-up mem­bers from as far away as Siberia, Cuba and Ethiopia, it also con­tains the only per­ma­nent VR46 shop any­where in the world.

THE MU­SEUM

Ru­moured to be un­der­way for years, Rossi fi­nally let slip that the fi­nal part of mak­ing Tavul­lia the ultimate des­ti­na­tion for a VR46 fan is near­ing com­ple­tion – the open­ing of the big­gest col­lec­tion of Rossi mem­o­ra­bilia any­where in the world.

Rossi is known as a bit of a hoarder, keep­ing hold of the ma­jor­ity of his vast col­lec­tion of hel­mets, leathers, tro­phies, gloves, boots, vi­sors, and count­less other items picked up over a 20-year Grand Prix ca­reer.

Added to that will be a col­lec­tion of some of the bikes he rode to glory, but no-one out­side of his in­ner cir­cle knows what they are.

It’s be­lieved that at least one Yamaha M1 will be on dis­play at the mu­seum (most likely the 2004 cham­pi­onship bike that used to sit at the bot­tom of his bed) as well as a Honda RCV211, min­i­mo­tos, road bikes, 125s and 250s dat­ing right back to the be­gin­ning of his ca­reer.

It’s go­ing to be some­thing worth see­ing when it’s com­pleted!

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