Joop Berghorst’s race-ready Benelli Sei

The Benelli Sei: flagship of the Italian motorcycle industry.
Of all the recent motorcycling anniversaries, one seems to have passed unnoticed. This year marks the centenary of the illustrious Italian marque Benelli—and according to my calculations, that makes it the oldest European motorcycle manufacturer in (more or less) continuous operation.

Today the Chinese motor group Qianjiang owns Benelli, but the Pesaro factory still produces a handful of bikes each year—the Century, Café, Tornado and Tre models.

The Benelli Sei: flagship of the Italian motorcycle industry.
Benelli’s finest moment, however, came with the launch of the Sei in 1972. Sold first as a 750 and later as a 900, it was a worthy competitor to the Japanese superbikes of the day and a flagship of the Italian industry.

This particular motorcycle started life as a 1981 900 Sei, and has been meticulously rebuilt as a classic racer by Dutchman Joop Berghorst. The race bodywork emulates the style of the day, and the exhaust system mimics the exotic 750 Sei configuration rather than the conventional 6-into-2 system of the road-going 900.

The Benelli Sei: flagship of the Italian motorcycle industry.
This machine appeared briefly for sale at The Gallery, a classic vehicle dealer based in Brummen. According to proprietor Klaas Houtman, “The sound is more than stunning”.

For an in-depth overview of the Sei, head over to Motorcycle Classics.

The Benelli Sei: flagship of the Italian motorcycle industry.
The Benelli Sei: flagship of the Italian motorcycle industry.
The Benelli Sei: flagship of the Italian motorcycle industry.
The Benelli Sei: flagship of the Italian motorcycle industry.