This article was originally printed in the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club monthly newsletter.

Last Ride - Loss of a Guzzi Friend, by David L. Smith

Paolo receiving 1st place trophy Mandello Raduno 1997

If we stay with our Moto Guzzis and ride long enough, we will all, "someday," experience the lost of a "Guzzi Friend". Paolo Belgeri was our friend and we lost him.

Paolo died suddenly, Sunday evening, 3 Jan 99, age 41, from a heart attack. Fifteen of us (all close friends) still shocked by the news that he had passed away, gathered in Mandello del Lario on Tuesday morning, 5 Jan, to pay our last respects. In Mandello, the funeral procession traveled directly past the Moto Guzzi factory and then followed the lake road to Lecco, fifteen minutes away. I thought to myself, this unplanned routing directly past the factory is surely appropriate for our beloved Guzzi friend, Paolo. If I had any reason for a comforting thought that day, it was then.

Funeral services were held at 14.00 in Lecco and shortly later, Paolo, escorted by 350 family friends, was taken to his final resting place. May he rest forever in peace, surrounded by the mountains that he so often talked about and climbed with his children.

Who was Paolo Belgeri?

Paolo was raised and also employed in Lecco, but lived in Mandello, in one of the former Guzzi factory apartment complexes. He was a friend, the father of two boys, a soft spoken, caring man with a broad sincere smile and firm handshake, always willing to help and share with others. Although he spoke four languages, Paolo possessed that international charisma that crossed all borders, he was everyone's friend.

Paolo was a long time active member of our European Division (ED-Club) of the MGNOC and faithfully attended all our Guzzi Radunos. He would think nothing of riding 500 miles on Saturday, regardless of the weather, to attend our meetings and then return back home the following day. He was the motorcyclist's unofficial "World Cycle Ambassador". Paolo had a natural passion for Moto Guzzis and toured extensively all over Europe. He was known as, "On the road again Paolo", to many of us. He was a friend to many Guzzi riders world wide, from Finland to Australia and knew many American and Canadian Guzzi riders. Some of them had extended invitations for Paolo to visit. He mentioned often, that perhaps, just maybe, next year would be his North American trip.

Early evening, 5 Jan '99, found me standing alone on the outside deck of the auto ferry, slowly chugging across Lago di Como, from Varenna to Menaggio, starting my eight hour journey back home. As I gazed at the lake shoreline and sky-line behind me, I was overcome by the serene beauty of the surrounding hills, silhouetted by the reddish sunset, the clear crisp star lit sky, and the early night's soft moon light. In the not to far off distance towards the darker skies over Lecco, I noticed a glowing light, pulsating higher and higher, climbing toward the heavens. I whispered farewell and waved once again to our friend "On the road again Paolo".

Thank you for allowing me to share the passing of Paolo with you.

Those that desire to send a card to his family are encouraged to do so.

The Belgeri Family
V.L. da Vinci 13
I-23900 Lecco

David L. Smith

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