Mon­tesa Cota 2RT

Trial Magazine - - TRIAL MAGAZINE - WORDS: DIJZ AND MATTHEW HEP­PLE­STON PIC­TURES: VAL­TER PONZO

A few years ago our col­leagues from Trial Mag­a­zine Italy pre­sented a gor­geous 300 4RT cre­ated by Val­ter Ponzo. Cu­ri­ous to dis­cover the lat­est out­put of this Latin ge­nius, we were not dis­ap­pointed. This am­a­teur me­chanic who is so full of cre­ative ideas has built a model that never ap­peared in the Honda cat­a­logue: the 2RT! This cre­ation is su­perbly fin­ished and is sure to make a true fan of the Cota green with envy.

To­day, aged fifty-one-years-old,

Val­ter is a rider from the 1980s where he pro­duced some good re­sults in the Ju­nior class be­fore de­cid­ing that he pre­ferred to en­er­gise In­door shows rather than ride in com­pe­ti­tion. He did, how­ever, keep one foot in the com­pe­ti­tion world so to speak as the min­der for rid­ers such as Gimmi Rossi, who is to­day still in the world-round pad­dock as as­sis­tant to Gabriel Giarba or Mirco Bruni (ex-Team Otyan).

This his­tory has given him some im­por­tant con­tacts in this small but se­lect en­vi­ron­ment and ac­cess to some spe­cial rac­ing parts. This is for­tu­nate for him, be­cause as a re­sult of se­ri­ous eye prob­lems he only has 1/20 vi­sion in one eye and noth­ing in the other... this means he can­not ride off road alone and must be guided by a friend who leads the way.

“To over­come this empti­ness I have thrown my­self into my pas­sion for pro­duc­ing spe­cial ma­chines. It is one way for me to be in­volved in the fan­tas­tic en­vi­ron­ment that is tri­als.”

HONDA FAN

One af­ter the other he has built some spe­cials or re­stored some rare mod­els. Other than the 2RT he can count out a Honda RTL250 Roth­mans, TLM260, TLR250 and an Aprilia TXR 312.

Like many oth­ers, Val­ter has an undis­guised pas­sion for the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer and the time of Le­je­une – but only in his later days.

“My love of Honda was born in 1986 when I dis­cov­ered that Mo­tocross (an Ital­ian mag­a­zine) had done a test of the Honda RTL270 SW rid­den by Eddy Le­je­une; the ar­ti­cle was writ­ten by the late Gi­ulio Mauri.”

It is, as you can see, not by chance that Val­ter’s garage is re­splen­dent in the blue, gold and red of the Roth­mans brand. As we men­tioned be­fore, Val­ter had al­ready cre­ated a stunning 4RT. The ma­chine was fin­ished with a white frame, one he finds both ‘clas­sic and rac­ing’, which has since be­come his sig­na­ture colour.

De­spite his ob­vi­ous pride in his cre­ation Val­ter was soon tempted to “cre­ate some­thing that was to­tally new and to fin­ish a project that was unique in its field”. His in­spi­ra­tion came from An­drea Fis­tol­era and Stephen Oliver, the Euro­pean Youth Cham­pion of 2000. An­drea has rid­den since 2010 on a 300cc 315R slot­ted into a 4RT frame. The lat­ter, who has since be­come the Jo­ta­gas im­porter for New Zealand, built a two-stroke power unit into the 4RT chas­sis dur­ing 2011. He has also made some Sheronda ma­chines (a Honda en­gine in a Sherco frame – or vice versa)!

Th­ese two men are the ones that Val­ter salutes “for their pre­cious ad­vice, which has greatly helped me to fin­ish my own 2RT. I needed to draw in­spi­ra­tion from their tremen­dous pas­sion and ex­pe­ri­ence to fin­ish my own dream”.

Fol­low­ing their lead, “I re­alised the frame of the 4RT was the bet­ter op­tion be­ing at the same time lighter, stronger and hav­ing the best sus­pen­sion of the pro­duc­tion mod­els. If I ex­changed the heav­ier four-stroke power unit for a two-stroke one I could build a tri­als ma­chine with the re­al­is­tic ob­jec­tive of it weigh­ing be­tween 68 and 70kg. This seemed to me the ideal com­pro­mise and promised to be a fan­tas­tic ma­chine. Even if to­day the 315 en­gine is start­ing to date a lit­tle, it still of­fered an ex­cel­lent com­pro­mise be­tween re­li­a­bil­ity and per­for­mance!”

All that re­mained was to build the beast.

A COM­PLEX EX­HAUST

The ba­sic start­ing point for the work is eased con­sid­er­ably by the fact that the two en­gines share the same swing­ing arm and rear sus­pen­sion sys­tem. The 315 en­gine also aligns per­fectly be­tween the en­gine and rear wheel sprock­ets. Ob­vi­ously the en­gine mount­ing brack­ets needed to be re­lo­cated as, for ex­am­ple, the front struts needed to be length­ened by 3cm to en­able the front ex­haust pipe to exit un­der­neath the ra­di­a­tor and to connect to the wa­ter cool­ing cir­cuit.

Is a 2RT your dream ma­chine? Val­ter has made one.

Val­ter never hes­i­tates to take the ma­chine apart to re­fine a small de­tail.

The huge 4RT air-box helps breath­ing.

Val­ter the ‘Doc­tor Franken­stein’ of tri­als!

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