Ángel Nieto: genius, dedication and speed

· 26th January 2019
Spanish motorcycling has experienced a golden age in terms of results and presence in MotoGP. Much of this is because of the champion, Angel Nieto.

Ángel Nieto is an icon in the world of motorcycling. His beginnings were not easy as he had to overcome many obstacles to succeed. Ultimately, he became one of the most acclaimed drivers and he devoted his life motorcycling. It was for this reason that his death was a shock for everyone in the motorcycling world. Not least for Spain, the country where Nieto first became interested in motorcycling.

We’ll review the biography of a pilot laureate. Despite the fatal accident that ended his life, Ángel Nieto will continue to be present at the MotoGP World Championship and in the memory of his fans. Few drivers have had so much success with the motorcycle world championship as he did.

Angel Nieto with his motocycle.

Hard beginnings

The life of Ángel Nieto is an example of struggle and improvement. The Zamorano pilot, who was born to a very humble family, clearly knew from a young age that his passion was two wheels. In his first attempt to get closer to the world of motorcycles, he moved to Barcelona at 14 years of age. Meeting Paco Bultó was a determining factor for his career, although his career had to start from the bottom. From cleaning the bikes in exchange for a bed and food to eventually becoming a mechanic.

If you’ve been wanting to know a little more about the exciting life of this driver, we recommend this documentary. One hour in, you can see Angel Nieto and his closest friends and family discussing his childhood and sporting career. If you start to watch it you cannot do so half-heartedly, since Nieto’s life story is fascinating.

Motorcycling champion

His opportunity as a driver arrived in 1964 at the Derbi. His first season was very hard as a result of long drives and a severe accident. In 1969 he drove for his first full season and was proclaimed world champion in the 50cc category. It’s noteworthy that during this time in Spain, the motorcycle world was hardly known, so virtually no one knew that a Spanish person was declared the champion.

From then on the Nieto phenomenon began to accomplish great things. He achieved six world titles in the 50cc category and seven titles in the 125cc category. These are achievements that no other Spanish driver has ever been able to obtain. At the same time, motorcycling in Spain started to become more popular and other drivers began to compete. Thanks to Nieto’s successes, motorcycling in Spain has become one of the most followed sports.

Angel Nieto winning championship.

A life dedicated to motorcycling

Although Ángel Nieto retired at the end of the 1986 season, his life was always linked to motorcycling. The following year – in 1987he founded his own racing team, although he only competed for two seasons. In the 90s he held the position of sporting director in different categories and helped to devote himself to young promising drivers especially Spanish ones.

In addition, Ángel Nieto was part of the MotoGP relay team for more than two decades. It was a luxury for Spanish fans to have the experience and knowledge of such a champion. Although throughout this 20 year period, the World Cup was broadcast by two different channels, Nieto also continued working as a commentator.

Unfortunate end

The death of Ángel Nieto took everyone by surprise. He was driving a quad on the Spanish island of Ibiza when he experienced an accident with another car. Ángel Nieto, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected and suffered a severe head injury. He was taken to a local hospital where he was operated on immediately. One week later, on August 3, 2017, Ángel Nieto died as a result of his injuries.

His family is continuing their fight for justice and want the case to reopen, as they insist that the driver who hit the quad didn’t maintain the minimum safety distance.