The Moto Guzzi Le Mans began life on the race track back in 1971 when Dutchman Jan Kampen decided to build a racing Moto Guzzi for the Zandvoort six-hour race. Kampen’s bike had the Moto Guzzi V-twin engine’s capacity increased to 810cc. As Kampen and Moto Guzzi engineer Lino Tonti were in regular communication with each other, the idea of an increased capacity performance Moto Guzzi inspired Tonti who got to work on a competition design of his own.
Tonti’s idea was to increase engine capacity to 844cc and he created a racing bike with that engine capacity and entered it into the 1971 Bol d’Or 24-hour at Le Mans. The Moto Guzzi led the race for the first 10 hours until a broken rocker slowed it down. Despite that failure the bike finished in a respectable third place – and Lino Tonti knew he was onto something.
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