The Friendship Motorcycle Rally is the historic event that for 47 years has brought together over 5.000 motorcyclists in the splendid Friulian setting of Monte Bernadia.
The greeting between motorcyclists is a gesture of friendship between strangers that reaches its maximum expression in Friuli Venezia Giulia. Here, for 47 years, every February this feeling has been celebrated with the "Motorcycle Rally of Friendship", the first motorcycle rally of the season, in one of the most beautiful regions of Italy and the undisputed destination of motorcycle national and European tourism.
1The friends who made history
And the 18 February of the 1973 when a small group of motorcyclists begins the successful saga of winter motorcycle rallies on the Monte Bernadia (886 m asl). "To look back"- explains the President of theFriulian Motorcycle Association and historical organizer of the event, Maurizio Chittaro - "it does not seem true how much time has inexorably passed, but the perseverance and harmony of the members in organizing it, have led the event to be the longest-running and most popular motorcycle event winter of Italy which in recent editions has seen the exceptional participation of over 5.000 motorcyclists".
Many of today's attendees were not yet born, including myself. President Chittaro continues his story: "on that February 18, 1973, the first edition of the winter motorcycle rally of Friendship on Mount Bernadia, the road from the hamlet of Useunt is unpaved there are about a hundred participants, mostly with off-road motorcycles, the square is about 30 cm. of snow, beautiful weather; no one knows or understands it but a very long story is about to begin".
But what prompted the pioneers of this gathering to find themselves in the piazzale del Forte every year in the most hostile period? "First of all the taste for the challenge of the winter cold (sometimes even frost and snow), then the beauty of the place, of the route to take (now paved even if very narrow - nd) and the pleasure of meeting friends and spending a motorcycle day outside the box, the idea of some members who in addition to competitive activity began to talk about destinations such as Caponord or the winter meeting of elephants promoted the idea of having their own winter meeting as a challenge and preparation for the legendary Treffen! After various proposals he identified himself in the nearby Monte Bernadia at an altitude of 886 meters above sea level. often covered with snow, the right place for this new adventure. Already from the first edition we started with a very clear point on the flyers “The event will take place in all weather conditions”, And still today, in compliance with the stricter laws of that time on safety, the meeting is organized in all weather conditions.
2Departure and meeting point
We start in the direction of Tarcento in the province of Udine, not before meeting up with the friends of the Motoclub V&V in Roveredo in Piano in the most classic of meeting places for friends: the K2 bar, which already evokes great journeys with its name.
From Tarcento, an obligatory route is established through Sedilis up to Monte Bernadia on the square of the military fort of the Great War (open to the public for the occasion) on which the gathering is concentrated, from here then descend towards Villanova delle Grotte in a one-way circuit that will be closed to car traffic.
3The military fort of 1910
The meeting takes place on Monte Bernadia, at 886 meters above sea level, on the square in front of a military fort from 1910, a disused position of 4 149mm guns that were supposed to guard the line of the Torre stream, very close to the Austro-Hungarian border of the last century. .
A singular place to celebrate friendship, but perhaps it is the contrast with this location that enhances the meaning of this feeling. Although the fort was not actually interested in the events of the Great War and was dismantled even before its end, the idea that a few kilometers away, looking at the wonderful panorama of the Friuli plain and the peaks of the Julian Pre-Alps, there was "the enemy" , is in itself a real lesson on the importance of collaboration and the uselessness of belligerence. Of the fort you can visit the gun emplacements, the soldiers' quarters and the ammunition rooms.
Between a glass of wine and a beer, a barbecue on a camp stove and a square overflowing with motorbikes of all kinds, even parked along the road, the 47th Friendship Motorcycle Rally ends. Born from the bond of some friends who have dreamed and traveled a lot, these people have put togetherness and passion at the center of each of their projects, giving birth to and growing an event in which everyone should participate at least once in their life, with in mind not just the helmet but the meaning of the word Friendship.
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Photos and texts by Francesco Tamai and the Friulian Motorcycle Association