The event that brought me onto the national team and opened the way for my professional career was incredible. 1969, Pista d’Oro track, Rome: it was an inter-regional challenge and I was racing on the Emilia Romagna team; our line up for category 1 (I was in category 2) included Venieri, who was already famous.
The day before the race I asked him to try my kart and he beat my lap time by half a second. This kind of upset me, because, ok that I was young and nobody knew me, but I thought of myself as a strong driver. However, the next day we competed in a mixed field, category 1 and 2 together, and there weren’t big differences and actually, at one point, I found myself in the lead precisely in front of Venieri. We kept in position for a couple of laps, with my mechanic waving his arms like a madman to tell me to let Venieri get ahead. We were on the same team after all and he was a lead driver of the top category. Yet, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it and I’m not sure if he really couldn’t pass or was just waiting for me to step aside.