They ask us to write a piece on girl of the world champion Pecco Bagnaia, on Miss Domizia Castagnini. We can only say that she appears beautiful, cared for, in love, very present. Then particularly anxious during the race. Well, here’s a cartoon to tease her a little, but also to encourage her: she suffers a lot from the race and next season, with the sprint race, she will have to suffer twice as much… Be strong, Domitia!
I won’t write an article about Bagnaia’s future wife, but I can jot down something of color and history: the girls of the protagonists of our favorite world championship. I’ve seen many over the years, hidden or exposed or definitely overexposed as happened to Miss Castagnini. Because these are the times, communication has changed, social networks are stronger than newspapers, the web is a theatre, young people love to appear. Everything is known about everyone, everyone wants to have their say. Today the riders have more space on Tik Tok and on Instagram than on the Gazzetta dello Sport, and one consequence is that Domizia is seen more often on Sky than the Moto3 winner. These are the times.
With rare exceptions, once instead the wives and girlfriends of the pilots stood to the side and few knew about them. Agostini is married to the beautiful Andalusian Maria, in the years of his titles his most lasting companion was Lucia, an austere and silent lady who did not give the air of appreciating motorcycling too much. The general public ignored who she was, and the same happened for the wife of the legendary Mike Hailwood, Pauline Barbara Nash, actress and model, or for the wives of Renzo Pasolini or Angel Nieto.
The companions of the American and Australian pilots were generally shy of the eighties and nineties. Sarie, who was also Miss Louisiana and was alongside Freddie Spencer for a long time, did not show off, just as Adriana, girlfriend and later wife of Casey Stoner, also remained a step behind. Then gossip remained out of the news, with rare and ugly exceptions; only the photos of the beautiful ones circulated a little more, like (I throw them out from memory) the girlfriend of Carlos Cardus, or the playmate Lauren Vickers who was with De Puniet.
We know almost everything about ours. Max Biaggi was photographed with supermodel Naomi Campbell, but he himself denied the story. His companions were personalities such as Adriana Volpe and Anna Falchi until he married Miss Italy in 2002, Eleonora Pedron, who is the mother of his two children. Valentino had the actress Martina Stella as his girlfriend, today he married Francesca Sofia NovelloJuliet’s mother. Iannone accompanied Belen, Melandri married Manuela, Capirex chose Ingrid, Dovi stayed with Alessandra. The unforgettable Sic loved his Kate.
More and more photographed, gradually all the pilots’ companions gained visibilitywilly-nilly. Year after year, TV gives more and more space to the images shot inside the pits, to the hugs after the race, to life in the paddock. By now we know how to recognize Bastianini’s Alice, Pol Espargaro’s Carlota, Vinales’ Raquel, Luca Marini’s Marta and so on.
We can appreciate these increasingly present women, or ignore them, as we choose. It should be emphasized, for the critics, that girlfriends and wives don’t take anything away from us, television constantly enriches the quality of the news, the subscription is expensive but we have increasingly accurate images and graphics available.
But there are two female figures that, I’m sure, all motorcycle enthusiasts unconditionally love. They are two legendary women from the past: Soil by Jarno Saarinen and Stephanie by Barry Sheene. Both blonde and beautiful, but very different: the Finn was for Jarno the mechanical assistant, the nurse, the timekeeper and the signalman, even the driver of the van when her husband was too tired to get behind the wheel; she’d married Jarno, fresh out of mechanical engineering, in the ’70s.
Sephanie instead traveled on the Rolls Royce license plate 4 BSR, never picked up the wrenches but the chronometer did. She was her model, cover girl, the first “Penthouse Pet Of the Year” in the USA, year 1971: she was naked (but chaste) in the centerfold, wonderful. Barry met her in ’75, had two children by her, married her in ’84 and they moved to Australia three years later. Unfortunately he left this world in March 2003.
Soili did not have time to form a family with Jarno, who tragically died with Renzo Pasolini in Monza on May 20, 1973; the widow has laboriously resumed living her life, after years she remarried, had two daughters, she is active on social media and in May she will certainly return to Italy for the fiftieth anniversary celebrations.
It will be nice to see her again, perhaps her lifelong friend Tepi Lansivuori will also come with her. Fifty years is a long time to go, we are no longer the same people. But in the common memory Soili and Stephanie remain young, beautiful, intelligent, passionate, embraced by their man or with the stopwatch in hand.
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