Biography of Angel Nieto

The legends its most famous athletes create throughout their careers and the years that pass are primarily responsible for the rise to prominence of any given sport.

The sport of motorcycling is not an exception; during its development, it was influenced by several brilliant individuals who paved the way for many other riders to follow in the years that followed and continue to follow today.

Biography of Angel Nieto

Angel Nieto is considered a trailblazer in the development of this sport in Spain. He was the one who initiated all of this craze for two wheels in the nation and who served as an inspiration to those who went on to become champions in subsequent eras.

Because of his 12 world titles and one additional world title, he is the second most successful rider in the history of the motorcycle world championship.

Because of this, he couldn’t be left out of these lines, just as other legendary names were not left out when a post was written about them.

An introduction to the life of Angel Nieto (1947 – 2017)

After putting Angel Nieto’s significance in the sport of motorcycle racing into perspective, the right time has come to begin telling the story of his life and all of the things that he did for the sport during his time on earth, both during his career as a rider and in his later roles as a team manager and commentator.

This is the ideal time to begin telling these stories. Here we go.

1. Beginnings

The day January 25, 1947, will be remembered throughout history for several reasons, one of which is that it was the day Angel Nieto was born into the world.

Although it was written in his fate to be held in the city of Zamora, he moved to Madrid with his family when he was just one year old and grew up in the neighborhood of Vallecas.

His parents were the ones who built the house he grew up in, reflecting the modest upbringing he received from his family.

In its streets, he established his first links with the world of motorcycles, specifically in the workshop of Tomás Valdés, a journalist who later devoted himself to dealing with information from the world of motorsports.

In its streets, he established his first links with the world of motorcycles. The unstable financial situation of his parents was one of the primary factors that led him to begin working there as an apprentice.

Because of this, he was required to put his education on hold when he was a child. As a result, he began working there.

During his time in what was essentially his second home, he became known by the alias “El Nio,” which he carried with him throughout his early years as a professional athlete.

And the reason for that is because on the tank of the motorcycle he rode in his first races, a pacifier was painted on the tank, which is how he got his nickname.

When he was 12 years old, he started working at a different garage in Madrid called Motos Yepes. This particular garage was right next to the well-known Rastro of the Spanish capital.

Despite this, the experience did not fulfill him, and after two weeks, he decided to leave. While employed, he competed in several amateur competitions, some of which took place in Madrid.

In contrast, others were held in various locations across the geography of Spain.

During one of these competitions in his hometown, he crossed paths with Paco Bultó, the owner and founder of the motorcycle brand Bultaco.

He snuck into the pits where Bultó was and asked him what he needed to do to get a job in the racing department of the brand he worked for.

The successful entrepreneur suggested to him that he write a letter and that they would respond to him in due time.

The answer never came, and the young Angel Nieto became impatient while waiting for it. As a result, he made one of his life’s most important choices: to relocate to Barcelona.

While he was there, he stayed with his aunt in Barcelona, and in the meantime, he looked for work as a mechanic to continue gaining workforce experience.

2. The opportunity to start over away from his parents

According to what he stated in an interview, the beginnings in his new city were difficult because he attempted to get caught in Derbi, but there was no way for him to do so.

He decided to exact his vengeance through fate and showed up one day at the entrance of the Bultaco factory, where he waited for Bultó to arrive.

When he gets there, he reminds him that they had a conversation in Madrid, and his persistence is rewarded when he gets him to agree to work as an apprentice in the competition department of his company.

However, his stay is short because one of the official riders, whose surname is Medrano, is going on tour, and he is adamant about going with him even though he does not have any money to pay him.

Angel is content to eat during his stay and sleep in the Renault Dauphine that transported them both because he wants to learn and eventually become a racing mechanic. For this reason, he is content to rest in the vehicle.

After that tour, he will be required to return to Barcelona. Unfortunately, he will not have a job waiting for him there because he went with Medrano without first receiving permission.

However, those trips were instrumental in meeting the Ducati staff members, which led to the Italian manufacturer offering him a position in the factory in the city.

However, there was a minor obstacle: most miniature motorcycles produced by his new company had 125 cubic centimeter engines, and riders had to be 18 years old to operate them.

A certain Bartolotti, who was the head of the Racing Department at Ducati, approached Derbi and requested a 50cc motorcycle so that he could compete on the Carlos III street circuit.

This was a request that the Spanish company could not fulfill, but in exchange, they gave Juan Ignacio Mitjans’s bike to him as payment.

Juan Ignacio Mitjans was a skilled professional who specialized in fabricating fairings. The rest of the equipment, which today would be considered the overall, is provided by someone he does not know, and even with all of it, he only manages to finish in fifth place.

They told him in Derbi that after seeing his performance that day, if he wanted to ride one of their bikes again, he would have to go to the factory with them to work, which satisfies Angel because that is what he tried to do once he moved to Barcelona.

Bear in mind that he had to fabricate the required documentation to compete in all of those races that he had already raced in, as well as the ones that were going to follow, because he did not yet meet the minimum age requirement.

3. Competing against Derbi and Ducati in the market

Because he is riding a Derbi, he can compete in races at various championships, including the Spanish Championship and the World Championship.

However, in the race in which he came so close to winning, he was still unable to compete in all of the circuits.

He could only go to the ones that were geographically closer to him, such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, and of course, the Spanish Grand Prix.

In his first year of traveling in Europe, he successfully achieved two fifth-place finishes, even though a severe accident in France forced him to end his season early.

After turning down the opportunity to renew his contract with Derbi, he won his first notable race in 1965 in Seville, which took place during the Spanish Championship.

The victory came at the hands of Ducati, which had recently signed him. He did not take the news of being denied entry into a World Championship race in Daytona (United States of America) very well.

In 1966, he achieved even greater success, which helped put him on the map and in people’s minds. This is what brings him to the attention of his fellow citizens.

4. The best is yet to come

Soon after that, he makes his way back to Derbi, but this time only in the capacity of a rider; at this point, his sole and overarching goal is to become the first Spanish rider to win the world championship.

As a result of a change in the regulations in 1969 for the 50 cubic centimeter category, all of the permitted engines were required to be a single cylinder, and the gearboxes were required to have a maximum of six speeds; he was able to win his first title and establish himself as a dominant force in the field.

In 1970, he successfully defended his title in the smallest category, and then, in 1971, he made his big debut in the 125cc class by winning the first two races in that class that he entered.

(1971 and 1972), at the same time that they were having success with reediting 50cc (1972).

He went winless in both categories for two years before coming back in the late 1970s (1975, 1976, 1977, and 1979) and early 1980s (1981, 1982, 1983, and 1984).

He was never victorious in the 250cc class, which was the premier category at the time, but he left an indelible legacy and became beloved by everyone in the paddock.

5. Retiring and living a life outside of the circuits

Angel Nieto decided to walk away from the sport that had provided him with so much success and elevated him to the status of a sporting icon in Spain after the 1986 season.

After that, he spent more time with his two sons, Angel or Gelete and Pablo, both of whom were born during his most successful years on the circuits and who ultimately followed in their father’s footsteps regarding their professional careers.

Despite this, he was never truly disconnected from the world championship, as he went on to found his team and become involved in others.

He was the technical director for his Via Digital Team when Emilio Alzamora (1999) won the 125cc title. He witnessed the victory firsthand.

As a commentator on television, he spent a significant amount of time observing how his children and his nephew Fonsi tried to model themselves after him. It was possibly the latter, with his 250cc runner-up finish in 2002, who came closest to minimally emulating him.

Hugo was his second son with his second wife and had another son with her many years after he retired.

In the summer of 2017, he told us he had been in a quad bike accident while on his annual vacation in Ibiza.

The accident occurred on the road connecting that city with a small town called Santa Eulalia. This was the most devastating news he could have given us.

Because of massive cerebral edema, we could not continue basking in his boundless energy and positive vibes during each Grand Prix. How strange it is that he hasn’t been found yet.

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