Tazio Nuvolari a legend in his own lifetime, was known as Il Montavano Volante, the Flying Mantuan. He epitomized courage and daring and for 30 years he amazed the racing world with his exploits on both two and four wheels. He was born November 18, 1892, in Casteldrio near Mantua. His uncle Giuseppe was a Bianchi dealer and introduced his nephew to motor sports. After serving in the Italian Army as a driver he started racing motorcycles seriously when he was 28. He raced Nortons, Saroleas, Garellis, Fongris and Indians.
His riding was noticed by the powerful Bianchi team and he became a member and eventually Italian champion. At the Monza Grand Prix for motorcycles he crashed during practice. This resulted in two broken legs. After doctors put plaster casts on both legs he was told that it would be at least one month before he could walk again let alone race motorcycles. The next day he started the race having himself tied to his bike. He required his mechanics to hold him upright at the start of the race and to catch him at the end. The legend of Tazio Nuvolari began that day when he won the race. Nuvolari began racing cars in 1924 at the age of 32 while still competing in motorcycles. In 1927 he started his own team, buying a pair of Bugatti 35Bs which he shared with his partner Achille Varzi who was also a successful motorcycle racer. This partnership would later turn into an intense rivalry. Nuvolari began to win races at the expense of Varzi who left the team. Varzi, the son of a wealthy merchant could afford better equipment and bought an Alfa P2. With this car he had the better of Nuvolari. He signed on with Alfa Romeo in 1929 and was a teammate of his rival Varzi once again. The Mille Miglia of 1930 would go down in history when Nuvolari caught an unsuspecting Varzi while driving in the night sans headlights. Three kilometers from the finish he suddenly pulled along side, smiling at his startled teammate he flicked on his headlights and powered on to victory.
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