[Translated with Google]
The co-founder of Vortex Engines passed away on Sunday 11 February, at the age of 77.
Born in 1946, Giovanni Corona's career began in the 1960s, when he arrived at Komet, and continued with a period of activity in motocross competitions.
Subsequently, Corona returned to karting and in 1983 began his collaboration with Roberto Robazzi. Together with the then owner of Tony Kart, in 1994 he became an engine manufacturer, founding the Vortex brand, of which he assumed the role of technical director.
After many victories obtained in the most prestigious international competitions and after the success achieved with the ROK project, in 2018 he definitively left his company - which over the years had evolved into the OTK Kart Group - and retired to private life.
Following, the memory of Giovanni Corona in the words of Yanek Sterzel, director of TKART:
“I have very fond and purely personal memories of Giovanni (he pushed me to use the informal address). On a professional level, in fact, I don't think I can add much, compared to what the sporting and entrepreneurial successes he has achieved already say about him. There are so many of them, they are all written in the history books of karting and do not need comments or additions.
As sporadic as our chats may have been, from 2006 when I started dealing with karting with TKART until his exit from OTK Kart Group in 2018 when he retired, I remember with great affection two moments of Giovanni that were repeated cyclically: the launch of new engines and the international final of the ROK Cup.
On both occasions I had the opportunity to spend time with him, to talk to him and, in my opinion, to glimpse the deepest traits of his personality.
For some years at the international finals of the ROK Cup by Vortex I was responsible for being the 'Italian voice' of the voice-over on the track and on the last day, before starting the big final party, it was customary to cut the cake. An operation which, obviously, had to be done by Vortex's no. 1 representative: Giovanni Corona, in fact. Result? If for many a moment of celebration like that could be an opportunity to puff out one's chest and receive a certificate of esteem - in the form of thunderous applause - from the ROK pilots (and their companions) from all over the world, for him it was a small sentence. He was such a shy, shy and modest person that all that clamor and recognized success almost made him uncomfortable and he had to get off the stage to go and get him and get him on, so much so did he refuse all that attention. The exchange before that ceremony always made me smile. He would take me by the arm, take me aside and say: 'The two of us agree, right? I come on that stage when you call me, just don't make me talk!'. I reassured him and unfailingly respected the agreement, making the "torture" as short as possible, biting my tongue so as not to ask him questions.
The presentation of the newly approved engines, however, always represented the opportunity for the TKART staff to make a 'pilgrimage' to the province of Pavia, to the Vortex, and allowed me to see a completely different Giovanni Corona. There the context was totally opposite and even the person seemed the exact opposite of the one I saw at the ROK finals. That was his habitat, his place. He was the point of reference there, the boss. He moved quickly between the offices and the mechanical processing area and everyone turned to him to find out what and how to do. Being at the centre, in that context, did not intimidate him, far from it. He had complete control of everything and it was enrapturing - for someone like me who has an immoderate passion for karting, but who understands techniques and engines up to a certain point... - listening to him talk about the new products and the reasons for the choices techniques adopted. On those occasions, getting him to talk was absolutely no problem, on the contrary! It was a river in flood, so much so that he himself said 'Guys, if I talk too much... Tell me!'. And we were there listening like children who hear a fairy tale and, having finished one story, would immediately like to hear another.
In the 'one-to-one' chats in his office, however, I think I managed to actually capture the essence of the entrepreneur and sportsman. It almost seemed that to truly reveal himself, he needed a protected and confidential context. It was these conversations that allowed me to see, once again, an amazing person. Because despite his shy nature, those were occasions in which he showed all his determination, typical of winners and of those entrepreneurs who - like him - started from nothing and then created a globally successful business, against everything and against everyone. The look was lively and the speeches were sincere without mincing words, but at the base - and mine is not an obvious rhetoric to reserve for a person who is no longer here - there was always a profound respect for everyone: friends and adversaries . They were chats in which I could only see and imagine the hard work and tenacity that made the birth of Vortex, its evolution and its success possible. Because Giovanni just didn't know how to show off the great things he knew how to do and had done.
In an era that thrives on continuous communication at all costs (even in nothingness), he will be missed even more.
But his example of a polite, calm, tenacious, winning person will remain.
Bye Giovanni, rest in peace."
Giovanni Corona's funeral will take place on Tuesday 13 February, at 3.00 pm in the Church of San Leonardo Confessore (province of Pavia, Italy).
The heartfelt condolences of the TKART editorial team go to the Corona family.