For Italians (and not only) road racing fans, the amazing Tandragee 100 will be forever linked to the name of Dario Cecconi, lonely pure road racer who loved this little Northern Irish National Race so much but that lost his life last April on that very course.
With Dario’s memory still fresh in fans, fellow competitors and racing personnel’s mind, Tandragee 100 entry-list sees this year another Italian name: both as a fulfillment of a dream and as a tribute for the close friend Dario, Enrico Rocchi will make his road racing debut on the Armagh County course. The only Italian between over 360 riders (36 newcomers), who are currently arriving in Tandragee not only from Ireland and UK but also from Canada, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Germany. Together with habitué Derek Sheils, Michael Sweeney, Derek McGee, Adam McLean, Paul jordan, James Cowton, Davy Morgan and even Guy Martin.
Thirty-eight years old from Bergamo, Enrico is a well known name in the Italian Hillclimb Championship, where he started in 2011 competing in the 600cc, Naked and 1000cc classes throughout the years. Now, though, the time is right to set a higher aim, something he started planning a few years ago together with Dario Cecconi.
Enrico, why did you choose Tandragee?
Honestly my target is the Manx Grand Prix and together with Dario I was planning to take part in it, but both me and Dario shortly realized it was out of our possibilities for costs, the number of races required to get a Mountain Course Licence and also the kind of bike. Dario then suggested me to try the National Road Races, cheaper and more accessible for us. He talked enthusiastically about all of them, apart from a couple of courses he didn’t like too much. After what happened last year I thought it was the right thing to try and ride at Tandragee, as a tribute for Dario.
It’s a great thing to do, Enrico. Which bike and Team are you riding with?
I’m riding a GSX-R1000 Suzuki. I have no team, I mean, I’m on my own as I’ve always done in the Italian Hillclimb Championship as well. I should have had a mechanic but he had a set back, so I’m here only with a friend. I’m used to do things by myself anyway.
Do you have any sponsor or anyone who helps you financially?
No, everything is paid by myself. My friend Barry Rivellini lent me his camper, though, and I can’t thank him enough for that.
Is Tandragee the starting point of a long term project?
My idea for now is just riding at Tandragee without any high expectation of course, being a newcomer. Then we will see. I am a bit sick of the Italian Hillclimb Championship, even if I’m riding there again this year with my bike and also as a Sidecar passenger for Fabio Manfredi. Now let’s do Tandragee and then we will see. I really hope I can make a good tribute to Dario.
Good luck Enrico and enjoy yourself!