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Minihistory of the motorcyclists’ Virgin Lady

The motorbike is an enthralling passion, whose origin is much more ancient than the invention of the internal combustion engine. It’s a passion that comes from the love for horses, from the emotional tension which comes from the mean motion, from the sensation of absolute freedom given by the excitement of speed, like an illusion of flying. Perhaps it was thanks to passion that in 1934 Dr. Marco Re, a chemist from Castellazzo Bormida, recognised the Motorcycle Association in Castellazzo. It was a difficult time and shortly after the war would have broken out. Only in 1943 Dr. Re started again his propaganda at every Motorcycle Association , and on the magazine “La Moto” (=”The Motorcycle”) on 15th December 1943, the editor Italo Luraschi, with the rethorical style of this time wrote:“When the war has finished and peace will rule again even on the tortured ground of our Land, the motorcyclists will be able to start again their running, organized and sporting activity; the “Madonnina dei Centauri” will inspire their action, will guide their steps, will protect their ascent. And once a year, on the commemorating day of the Saint Protector, the motorcyclists from all over Italy will meet in the warm atmosphere of Castellazzo, in the famous Sanctuary, to thank the “Madonna” and to impetrate with virility and conscience her holy grace, like men devoted to a sport of battle and greatness. And it will be a worthy show to see the phalanges of the modern riders of the mechanical civilization, riding their steel mounts, while approaching the altar with their flag to repeat the rides of the ancient riders inthe Crusades, who on their fiery steed, invoked the holy grace before fighting against the barbarians and misbelievers”. Thanks to Dr. Re’s tenacity and with the approval of the Italian Motorbike Association, the first Motorbike Meeting of the Madonnina dei Cantauri took place on 8th September 1946, joined by about one thousand Italian and one hundred foreign motorcyclists. The event stirred great interest in all the national newspapers and magazines for its exceptionality. On 11th February 1947 Pope Pio XII proclaimed Madonnina of Castellazzo (Madonna of the clay) “primary patron of the motorcyclists”, it has become MADONNINA DEI CENTAURI since then. The International Madonnina dei Centauri club of Alessandria, together with the Castellazzo Motorbike Club, carries on a tradition that has reached the 55th meeting in 2000, thanks to the constant devotion of its partners