Most people know Ferrari as a manufacturer of red sports cars parked in front of casinos and expensive gyms. People following racing know there's the Scuderia Ferrari racing team in F1, along with race-spec. road vehicles run in sports car racing series. However, quite a few of them think it's a 'factory team' in the traditional sense as e.g. the Mercedes stable in F1, i.e. a high-profile car manufacturer going racing.
In fact - as the rest of the people are aware - Ferrari is very much like e.g McLaren in terms of starting off as a racing team, only to start building road cars in later years. The history of Scuderia Ferrari dates back exactly to 1929, but even fewer people know that soon after the establishment, Ferrari set a foot in two-wheel racing as well.
Here's an excerpt from 'Ferrari' by Hans Tanner and Doug Nye giving a brief insight into the short-lived and not much known Scuderia Ferrari motorcycle team.
Enzo Ferrari formed his motorcycle team in 1932 and raced for two years, after which the team was disbanded. He chose the British Rudge over several available Italian machines and the team raced in the 500, 350 and 250cc categories. His riders were Giordano Aldrighetti, Carlo Baschieri, Giuseppe Fagnani, Aldo Pigorini, Francesco Lama, Piero Taruffi and Guglielmo Sandri.
Of the riders, I (Hans Tanner), only came into contact with three of them. At the time of my residence in Modena, Carlo Baschieri was the local Alfa Romeo dealer. I saw him quite frequently and in fact at one time I was involved with him and ex-Alfa Romeo dealer and driver, Francesco Severi, in an attempt to buy the Scuderia Marzoto Grand Prix and sports racing Ferraris.
Guglielmo Sandri I met through Hans Ruesch, the ex-Alfa Romeo driver. Sandri was living in Bologna and running a general hardware store. He was full of memories of his motorcycle days.
Piero Taruffi I naturally knew from my Ferrari racing days, recently I had dinner with him and his wife at Rene Dreyfus' Chanteclair restaurant in New York. We spoke about his motorcycle days, but I must confess we spent more time discussing the fantastic 4-cylinder Gilera and with which Taruffi set world records.
Giordano Aldrighetti was the star of the Scuderia Ferrari Motorcycle Team. Part of Ferrari's reasoning was that he would, through motorcycle racing, develop new automobile racing drivers. Aldrighetti accordingly turned to four wheels and made his debut at Livorno in 1934. In 1939, Aldrighetti gave up motorcycle racing and joined the Alfa Romeo team racing at Tripoli and Livorno. In practice for the Coppa Acerbo as Pescara, his car caught fire and he died from his injuries.
In 1932 Aldrighetti won at Alessandria, Pontedera, Faenza in both 250 and 350, the Coppa del Mare, Circuito Tre Monti, Avellino, and in the International 6 Day Trial, he won the Gold Medal with a 175cc Bianchi. Alrighetti's closest friend was Aldo Pigorini, who with the Scuderia Ferrari 350 Rudge, became Champion of Italy for that class in 1939. Pigorini was killed in 1937 at the Circuit of Rome riding a Guzzi.