Paton: 60 years of racing

Gianfranco Muscio prova la Paton 125 per la prima volta a Monza nel 1958

Mike Hailwood su Paton 125, TT 1958

Mike Hailwood su Paton 125, TT 1958

Gianfranco Muscio e la sua Paton 125 ai box di Imola in occasione della Coppa d'Oro del 1959

Circuito di Cesenatico, 26 Aprile 1959.Gianfranco Muscio, su Paton 125 Bialbero, alla partenza della gara che concluderà al 6° posto

At the end of ’57 some Italian factories, as MotoGuzzi, Mondial, MV Agusta, decided to quit racing signing the abstension pact.

Giuseppe Pattoni and Lino Tonti decided to give up their liquidation expected from Mondial asking for the racing material remained on the shelves of Mondial Racing Dept. This was the birth of Paton. The first bike was named Mondial-Paton but Cav. Boselli ordered to cancel “Mondial” to avoid violating the pact.

Angelo Bergamonti - Campione Italiano 1967 classe 500cc

Angelo Bergamonti - Circuito del Montjuich - Campionato Mondiale 500cc 1967

Angelo Bergamonti - Monza - Campionato Mondiale 500cc 1967

Angelo Bergamonti e Giacomo Agostini - Cervia 1969 - Campionato Italiano 500cc

Fred Stevens su Paton BL2 - Campionato Mondiale 500cc 1967

Giuseppe Pattoni e Daniele Fontana nella loro officina con la Paton 250

Pep e la sua Paton 250

Poker d'Assi con la Regina. Bergamonti, Pattoni, Nelson e Marchesani con la Paton BIC 500 nel 1968

Roberto Galina su Paton BIC 500 8v impegnato in gara a fine anni '60

The first years of the sixties show the alone “Pep” leading Paton.
Pattoni pushed the development of the new engine, a twin 250cc, wich was born in 1962 and made the racing debut in 1964 with Gian Piero Zubani at Modena circuit and after few months conquered the third place at the Tourist Trophy with Alberto Pagani in the lightweight class.
An outstanding result, which gives international awareness to the bike’s features and reinforce that special feeling between the Mountain Circuit in the Isle of Man and the Italian factory: in 1958 young Mike “the bike” Hailwood arrived 7th with the Paton 125 and both of them, Mike and the bike, were debutant at the Mountain.
In the following two years the engine, recognized as Giuseppe Pattoni’s masterpiece, will be modified first up to 350cc and finally to 500cc and with this version was Italian champion ridden by Angelo Bergamonti preceding Giacomo Agostini on official MV Agusta and also took good podiums in several world championship races.
The decade’s end present the italian half liter still in a really good shape, winning the second place in the 1969 italian championship with Franco Trabalzini and the 4th absolute in the final world championship ranking, this time with the english rider Billie Nelson.

Adriano Friggione su Honda-Paton 500 nei primi anni '70

Adriano Friggione, Giuseppe Pattoni e Ferruccio Bonalumi con la Honda-Paton 500 - primi anni '70

André Luc Appietto in bagarre con Jacques Roca - Circuito di Monthlery - primi anni '70

Gallina e Bonalumi - Team Paton al completo - Modena 1972

Pep con la Paton 500 BM4 - Test Monza 1976

Pieraldo Cipriani in sella alla Paton-Segoni con motore 500cc 2T 1977

Roberto Gallina - Paton 500 BL3 - 1970

Virginio Ferrari, Giuseppe e Roberto Pattoni con le Paton BM3 - Imola - 1975

The opening of this decade finds the Paton 500cc 4 stroke in really brilliant shape, continuing his racing career both in Italy and abroad, with a continuous technical development: first of all the 4 valve head becomes a standard, after debuting in 1968 at Monza’s “Gran Premio delle nazioni”, and then with the transition from the Belletti frame to the Bimota one.
The version with the original frame reaches, with Roberto Gallina, the third place in 1970 and 1972 and the second place in 1971 at the italian 500cc championship, while the Bimota frame version comes third in 1974 with Armando Toracca.
Between 1975 and 1976 Giuseppe Pattoni has to retire the 4-stroke engine in favour of the 2-stroke and Virginio Ferrari is the leading actor of this transition.
The step wasn’t an easy one, and after a poor season from the racing results perspective, Pep and his son Roberto, decide to drastically reduce the competitions and dedicate all the time to the development of this engine.

Eric Saul - Test Mugello - Paton 500 C2 - 1984

Marco Papa - Rijeka - Campionato Mondiale 500cc 1989

Officina in via Desenzano. Pep e Roberto Pattoni al lavoro sul motore Paton C2 - 1984

Roberto e Pep Pattoni - Test Monza 1986 - Paton C4

Vittorio Scatola - Misano Adriatico - Campionato Europeo classe 500cc - 1988

Vittorio Scatola - Misano Adriatico - Trofeo Grand Prix - 1986

Walter Migliorati - Test Monza - Paton 500 C1 - 1983

In the first years of the eighties Pep and his son Roberto continue the hard work for the development of the new 2 stroke engine, with the objective to elevate the performance and reliability needed to be able to go back to competitions: At the end of this process in 1983 the model C1 500 is presented, an important one for the Italian factory because is the first project participated by Roberto Pattoni, Giuseppe’s son, and Claudio Colombo, which start as the Paton frame builder a cooperation that still exist today.
This model’s engine has the same architecture as the 1976 one, but brings a lot of improvements engineered with the internal team hard work and with the support of the studies and experiments conducted by factories and engine experts from all over the world around this new family of engines. Paton was the first factory to produce in 1976 the first “V” and single crankshaft architecture which was later adopted by Honda for his famous and multi-world champion engine.
Time goes by but after the 4 valve head in 1968, also this engine’s architecture is the practical demonstration of how passion, talent and the determination in challenging the competitors allowed this small factory to be on the technical fronteer compared to many competitors with much bigger finantial, human and technical resources.
The quality of Pattonis technical developments are demonstrated from race results, of which the best was the third place in the 1988 European Championship with Vittorio Scatola, who won also for the first time in Misano in an international competition.<br />
During the awards ceremony, all the team components were celebrating the success except one: Giuseppe Pattoni, in fact, a little be touched and being an anti-star, decided to enjoy alone this moment, watching the scene from afar and already thinking to next improvements for the coming races.

Jean Pierre Jeandat - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 1996 (2)

Jean Pierre Jeandat - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 1996

Jean Pierre Jeandat - Paul Ricard - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 1996

Paolo Tessari - Barcellona - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 1999

Paolo Tessari - Mugello - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 1999

Roberto Pattoni e Jean Pierre Jeandat - Test Monza - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 1995

Vittorio Scatola - Assen - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 1990

Vittorio Scatola - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 1994

The beginning of this decade shows still on the circuits the bike with the 4 cylinder V 115°, coming after the 4 cyl V 90°, which obtained the first point in the World Championship in 1990 at Monza Gran Premio delle Nazioni with Vittorio Scatola.
The performance gap against competitors led to the engine abandonment in favour of the new model with V shape at 70°, founder of the last generation of 2 stroke racing Paton engines.
As a demonstration of the attention and the reputation in the international motorcycle circle, in support to Paton comes the mythical Youichi Oguma, boss of Honda Racing Corporation. In fact, the problem with the new Paton engine was that no one was able to produce a smaller carburetor able to fit in the engine architecture and so Oguma decided to give a battery of Keihin 36mm carbs, developed specifically for Honda.
After the first set up, the new model make is debut in 1994 and soon demonstrates his potential thanks to the new French rider Jean Pierre Jeandat; early 1995, during the pre-championship tests the Paton is very close to the best competitors but a crash during the warm up at the UK Grand Prix had a bad influence on Jean Pierre performance for the rest of the season and also the following year 1996.
In 1997, the world championship organization, more and more focused on business and media rights, refused Paton the automatic registration, after 39 years of races.
This was not enough to stop Pep which decided to continue the new bike development and to participate as a “wild card”, that means paying the most part of the expenses on his own.
Once more we have a demonstration that, yet with a big amount of sacrifice and obstacles no one and nothing can resist will, talent and determination… all characteristics of Paton racing team DNA which give the ability to continue even after August 30th 1999, the day Giuseppe Pattoni ended his race on earth, victim of an heart attack after a test race session.

Paolo Tessari - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 2000

Paolo Tessari e Max Biaggi - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 2000

Paton PG500RC TT. Opportunamente adattata per il circuito stradale dell'Isola di Man

Steve Linsdell - Paton PG500RC - Tourist Trophy Isola di Man - 2007

Test Irta a Jerez - 2001

Vladimir Catscka - Campionato Mondiale 500cc - 2001

Roberto Pattoni, still shocked by his father death, doesn’t get discouraged and with the team support continues the bike development: the Paton PG (for Pattoni Giuseppe) 500 R was in this way at the start line of the 2000 world championship, with a new frame realised by the Turin based factory L.M. Gianetti. The bike was present on five circuits always with Paolo Tessari and gained the last point of the Paton racing history arriving 15th at the Germany Grand Prix.
In 2001 a new step in the evolution created the PG 500 RC, the first and only Paton with a competitor’s frame: with the support of a timeless reputation by competitors, despite the bad times, Cagiva, the italian brand protagonist for many years in the world races, supply to Paton the 1994 C594 model frames, with which the American John Kocinsky won the Australia Grand Prix and terminated third in the season.
The bike, ridden by the french Sebastien Gimbert made a good impression during the England Grand Prix test in Donington but a crash, during this session, with severe injuries to the rider terminated the season.
The arrival of the 4 stroke and highly expensive MotoGP, allowed for a double capacity (1000cc), with the clear intent to push for the 2 stroke retirement by the organization, pushed Roberto Pattoni and his team to write the word END under the adventure, for the impossibility to afford the millionaire budgets required to develop a 1000cc new 4 stroke engine.
The last Paton 2 stroke high note was during the 2007 Tourist Trophy centenary, the famous race (once the English stage of the world championship) that take place on 37miles road circuit in the Isle of Man. The race organizers, looking for rare participants to make unique the edition, were really happy hearing the veteran Steve Linsdell (70 times at the mountain circuit) asking for the registration with a 500cc 2 stroke GP.
They took few minutes to decide that the request was in perfect line with the TT spirit: the absolute race for bikes and for riders and the small Italian factory was reputed a good champion of this spirit.
Even though the bike had to stop for mechanical problems after half race (whose total leght is 364 km, much more a normal Grand Prix), the participation was a great success and the people was astonished hearing the 2 stroke engine brilliant sound, totally different compared to all the 4 stroke superbikes, today leading the class.