1967. Manned spacecraft Soyuz-1 breakdown, V Moscow International Film Festival, the Beatles release their album Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the year itself is proclaimed as a Year of international tourism.
On this occasion Moscow welcomes the 22nd FIM Rally.
[i]A clip from the Soviet magazine “Drive” announcing the event. May, 1967.[/i]
But what is more interesting for us is that among the participants of that rally were nine brave vespistis from Spain. And this is so far the first documented trip on Vespas in the USSR.
The Vespa Club of Spain was the only one from the country that submitted documents for participating in the international rally. Bear in mind that those times’ Spain was ruled by Franco and the USSR was behind the iron curtain that was pretty hard to pass through. Though few needed that, actually. Nevertheless those desperate Spaniards decided to make it.
So, the team comprised nine pilots on nine Vespas S150 (a Piaggio licensed copy of Vespa Sprint made by Motovespa and notable for a spare wheel under the left cowl instead of a glove compartment). There was also a support vehicle with two representatives of the Royal Spanish Motorcycle Federation.
All of the participants were amateur scooterists with good rally experience, and this time they had to cover 8068km in less than a month.
Day 1. Madrid – Hendaya (492km)
Day 2. Hendaya – Tours (553km)
Day 3. Tours – Nancy (483km)
Day 4. Nancy – Kassel (552km)
Day 5. Kassel – Berlin (407km)
Day 6. Relaxing
Day 7. Berlin – Poznan (233km)
Day 8. Poznan – Biala-Podlaska (456km)
Day 9. Biala-Podlaska – Minsk (368km)
Day 10. Minsk – Smolensk (347km)
Day 11. Smolensk – Moscow (392km)
[url=https://goo.gl/maps/EwJ3A]Approx. googlemaps route[/url]
The team spent two days in Moscow and on 22nd of July set off by the same route to be back in Madrid by the 3rd of August.
One of the members of that fantastic trip was Jordi Balart, quite a famous personality among Spanish vespistis, who spent most of his life developing and promoting Vespa movement in Spain. He even happened to head the national Vespa Club for some time. He passed away recently in 2009 aged 82.
There’s a Piaggio’s dealership, one of the oldest in Spain, founded by Jordi in Barcelona -[url=http://www.vespabalart.com/es/Fotos_historicas/]Vespa Balart[/url]. So if you happen to be there you can always visit the place with a touch of history.
[i]Photos copyright belongs to Vespa Balart[/i]