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Competitor Profile: Dario Ambrosini

TT Career Summary

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Dario Ambrosini had three ambitions in his racing career: to win an Italian national championship, to gain a world championship and to win a TT race. The Italian achieved all three, winning the Italian 250cc title in 1947; the other aims came along twelve months later – the TT first followed by the world crown. Born in 1918, be began racing in 1937 on a 250 Benelli, the marque he was instrumental in putting on the ‘racing map’ in his brief career. Visiting the Pesaro factory in 1948, he was dismayed to learn that the only racing machines available were the 1939 models, but his ambitions and the renewed enthusiasm of the Benelli brothers new models were produced for the start of the season, where a fairy-tale win was achieved at the first Grand Prix of the year. Ambrosini went to be runner up in the ’48 championship. With new models for the 1949 world championships, the TT was included in the race programme. He approached his Island debut with his usual thoroughness and set off in the massed start race behind the Guzzi riders, which were his main opposition. In fifth place as he approached Governors Bridge at the end of the first of seven laps he dropped the red Benelli, injuring an arm which forced his retirement. He finished the season as runner-up in the 250cc world championship. Nineteen Fifty was to be the Italian’s year as the fruition of his dreams were realised. The Lightweight TT began again as a massed start and Ambrosini completed the first of the seven laps in 5th position a minute behind the race leaders. As the race progressed he upped the pace and pulled back lost time on leader Maurice Cann, starting the final lap a mere 15 seconds adrift. Timing his attack to perfection, he passed his rival on the descent of the Mountain to take the chequered flag by 0.2 second to become only the second Italian to win a Tourist Trophy Race. Dario went on to win the 1950 250cc World Championship. Three Grand Prix wins were achieved prior to the arrival in the Isle of Man for the 1951 TT, the second round of the ’51 Championships. The race had become a ‘traditional’ staggered start and over four laps of the Snaefell Course and was pipped at the post by Tommy Wood on the rival Guzzi make by 8.4 seconds. He completed the season in third place in the world title chase. Tragically, he was killed during official practice for the French Grand Prix at Albi.

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