Aspes 125 CRC Motocrosser
Aspes 125 Juma Road Racer
Yet another relatively obscure Italian marque is Aspes, although it does still produce motorcycles. Aspes was established in Gallarate, near Milan, in 1955 by the Sorrentino brothers to manufacture bicycles.
In 1961 they began to make mopeds powered by a Minarelli motor, followed in 1964 by the 50cc Sport motorcycle. Their first off-road model was the 1967 Cross T.
1970 saw the introduction of the Maico powered Apache 125 and the start of naming their models after American Indian tribes (Hopi, Navajo, Cheyenne, Sioux included).
Importantly 1970 also marked the year Piermario Sorrentiono (son of one of the brothers) joined the company and began the modernisation of the range. The following year saw Giacomo Agostini’s younger brother, Felice, compete successfully on the Cross Special 71 model, winning the Italian Junior Motocross title.
That year’s Milan Show saw a prototype of the company’s first home-grown motor, a 125cc 2-stroke, designed by Vito Consiglio. Production versions of this motor ended up being fitted to road bikes, road racers, motocrossers and go-karts for the next ten years.
By the end of the 1970s Aspes’ fortunes were in decline and the company was taken over by Unimoto in 1982, which in turn folded only two years later. However in 2008 the Aspes name was acquired by the Varese based Menaghi Motors and used to market a Chinese-built hybrid moped.
The 1978 125 CRC motocross machine seen here was one of a pair imported to Australia in ’78 or ’79 and won the first Parramatta Supercross and NSW Championship at Dargle, ridden by Trevor Campbell. Apart from painted bodywork and the Ohlins rear shocks it is in basically standard condition.
The 125 Juma (also called the Yuma) was built from 1976 until 1982 and was the machine used in the world’s first single make race series, the Criterium Aspes Yuma which was run from 1977 to 1979 and provided the likes of Loris Reggiani, Fausto Gresini and Davide Tarozzi with their start in racing.
With the bike weighing only 95kg, its 19hp at 10,000rpm motor provided a top speed of nearly 150km/h. Of note are the in-house designed and manufactured magnesium forks.
This particular bike was privately imported into the US by a merchant seaman, then sat in a dealer’s window, became a restaurant display, then a lounge room display before being brought to Australia. It had 103km on the speedo and is in completely original condition (new tyres). It has had 2000km put on it here since.