On a day like today, five years ago, Ángel Nieto Roldán passed away at the Ibiza Polyclinic Hospital at the age of 70. The legend of Spanish motorcycling had suffered a traffic accident a few days before, while he was enjoying his holidays on the Balearic island.
Ángel Nieto was the pioneer and forerunner of motorcycling in Spain. In fact, he was the first in a long list of Spaniards to compete in the World Championship, and also the first to win a title. Nieto became the second driver of all time with the most world championships (12+1) , only surpassed by Giacomo Agostini, with 15.
His is the story of a boy who, at an early age, decided to leave his native Zamora to pursue the dream of racing a motorcycle. He started in Madrid as a mechanic’s assistant , and little by little he made his way into the world of two wheels on an amateur scale.
He later moved to Barcelona , where he worked for Bultaco, Ducati and Derbi. It would be with this last factory that he would finally make the leap to professional motorcycling.
He made his World Cup debut in 1964 , at just 17 years of age, although his first full season was delayed to 1969. It was precisely in that first full-time campaign that he achieved his first victories and the first of his 12+1 World Cup crowns .
From that moment on, the rest is history. Up to 13 titles, four runners-up, 90 wins and 139 podium finishes . Although he competed in almost all displacements, it was in the light classes that he found success, especially in 50cc, 80cc and 125cc.
Nieto extended his sports career until 1986 , when he retired at the age of 39. But he continued to be linked to the championship, as team leader, technical director, commentator and father (Pablo and Ángel ‘Gelete’ Nieto, both World Cup drivers).
His name continued to be heard on the circuits thanks to Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’, who decided to rename his team to Ángel Nieto Team.
Five years after that fateful August 3, 2017, the case is still in court, after the investigation was reopened in 2018.
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Photo by: Yamaha Motor Racing
Photo de: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
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