Racing legends: the story of Bill Lomas

When you talk about old-school bike races, there’s an aura of irresistible charm that descends over and shrouds those fearless post-war riders that used to race on the razor’s edge, hunched over the metal spine of magnificent, brutal bikes, however, few if any of them could compete with Englishman Bill Lomas’ captivating smile, wild cowlick and sharp sense of humour.

Good-looking, scrawny, with a mocking sneer under his leather helmet and always ready with a parting shot, he always managed to get the other riders all riled up. Time and again he was wont to say “The victory must be built up before the race begins” just after taking a parting shot at his fellow-racers, as if to demonstrate his superiority just a few minutes before the start of the race.
Undoubtedly cocky, yes, but he never failed to back up his claims with action: two-time winner of the Isle of Man TT, two-time World Champion on a Moto Guzzi and, of all the “Eagle” riders, he is the one whose name is indelibly linked to the amazing Otto Cilindri 500, the brainchild of Giulio Cesare Carcano.

He had the temperament of a champion and the charm of a movie star, so much so, in fact, that he appeared in the 1957 film called “Engaged to Death”, directed by Romolo Marcellini: a recently restored piece of motorcycle movie history with live racing scenes shot on the Monza circuit, on the legendary Milan – Taranto and even some within the Moto Guzzi factory in Mandello del Lario, complete with tests filmed in the legendary wind tunnel.