The Gilera concern's illustrious racing pedigree took another step forward in 1991 with the introduction of the ''Piuma'' (Puma) race machine, the name derived from a previous Saturno-Piuma racer of the fifties. Based on the 1987 492cc Nuovo Saturno roadster the new bike was produced for competition in that year's new Super Mono class for single cylinder bikes. Developed from the dohc 350 single first seen in the Dakota trail bikes of 1985 the new Puma had a 598cc engine as standard, although some 620 versions were produced for the Euro Super Mono Championship series. Significantly different from the roadsters the Puma frame was in radical, state of the frame constructers art, twin spar aluminium beam form with massive, for the day, twin Brembo front stoppers.
Only a few of these beautiful, now classic, Italian race bikes were made in the early nineties and are now extremely rare and collectable particularly in the condition in which you see this example. As manufactured, with a 558cc engine, this bike has never been raced or believed to have even run before leaving the factory. Consequently having seen no use since, although it's history is well known, it has been described by the owner as 'as new' and certainly looks it.
Accompanying documents confirm that the machine was bought by a certain Mr Surtees in about 1991, to be used in UK races, in return for the works agreeing to loan him a classic Gilera four. That deal was subsequently reneged upon by new management so understandably the bike was never raced. In 1993 the machine was sold by Surtees to Gilera enthusiast Raymond Ainscoe who later passed it on, still completely untouched, after which it appeared at Bonhams Stafford auction in 1996 although unsold. The Team Surtees invoice disappeared at this time although pictures of John and the bike in 1991 have survived. Still untouched after all these years, hopefully a new owner will fire it up and maybe it will be seen on the Tarmac some time soon.