One of only a maximum of four (some reports say only three) 250cc Benelli racers built in 1959, these rare machines were campaigned by riders including Geoff Duke, Mike Hailwood, Dickie Dale, Silvio Grassetti and Tarquinio Provini, with Provini’s 1964 US GP outing the model’s last ‘works’ race.
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This particular example – used by Dutchman Cas Swart to come seventh in the 1961 Dutch TT and then sold to gentleman privateer Marcel Toussiant – has not been started for close on 10 years and this genuinely was the first time it was fired up, after being bought in autumn 2012 by UK-based enthusiast Rob Drury, who some may know through his Velocette MkVIII KTT exploits.
Rob, with fellow Velo fellow John Mundey assisting and TCM editor James Robinson getting in the way, was understandably nervous about first running the stunning bright red quarter litre charger, which was bought at Bonhams October Stafford sale. After buying it, Rob had been in touch with many who were involved in its restoration, and made a visit to Holland to visit uber Benelli enthusiast Frank Cavens and call on Cas Swart, who rode it at the 1998 Assen Centennial. With research completed and everything in place, it was time to hook up the battery and put it on the starting rollers…