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Sante Mazzarolo: The legacy of the shiniest of Alpinestars

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  • Sante Mazzarolo: The legacy of the shiniest of Alpinestars

    When it comes to motorcycles, all of us know the importance of riding gear. And when it comes to riding gears, not a lot of names shine brighter than Alpinestars. Almost a household name among motorcyclists, Alpinestars is a brand almost 6 decades old! Recently, in a major loss to the world of motorcycling, Sante Mazzarolo, the founder of Alpinestars, passed away on the 1st of May. The 91-year-old left his mark on the world of motorcycling before moving on to his heavenly abode.

    Our sincere hopes and prayers go out to the near and dear ones of Mr Mazzarolo. His passing has saddened the motorcycling fraternity the world over but we'd like to say that his legacy is immortal and it will always be associated with Alpinestars, which is now headed by Gabriele, the president, CEO of Alpinestars and one of Mr Mazzarolo's three children. And today, we'll talk about who Mr Mazzarolo was and how he came around to establishing one of the most successful riding gear brands in the world.

    It all started in 1963 when the protagonist of our story, Sante Mazzarolo, a leather craftsman began producing the very first products bearing the name Alpinestars. The name was derived from the perennial Alpine star flower. He started working based out of a small Northern Italy town of Asolo. This was also the time when motocross was gaining popularity across Europe. It was an exciting yet brutal sport... and of course dangerous.

    That is when Mr Mazzarolo decided to use his talent to create a product, a form of footwear, that met the excruciating demands of the sport. He had recognized the opportunity and he got to work. He applied his talent and the technical know-how to give the sport the boot... not literally. The sport, because of its nature, needed solid protection for the participants. And that is exactly what the revolutionary Alpinestars boot provided. The success of that one product laid the foundation for what Alpinestars is today.

    After this, Sante Mazzarolo began working out of their state-of-the-art headquarters in Maser, northern Italy. Alpinestars was gaining popularity and so much so, that the products were referred to as a benchmark for performance and protection. The development moved further with the company now using the feedback from the riders to make it better. And riding on that very wave of success, Alpinestars got its first World Motorcross Championship accolade in 1970.

    Roger de Coster was the rider who brought Alpinestars their first World Championship. And he went on to win 5 World Motocross Championships. The set the 'success ball' rolling for Alpinestars, the momentum of which has not tapered till date. Alpinestars had already established itself as an organization that believed in technology, creativity, and innovation. The next step was road racing and it happened in the 1970s. Kenny Roberts became Alpinestars’ most high profile Grand Prix World Champion when he took his first title in 1978.

    Sante Mazzarolo was honoured with a number of Italian design and product awards in the early years of the company. But the one thing that keeps people going is the never-ending quest for improvement. And so, development continued with a great pace at Alpinestars. They were manufacturing boots for all forms of motorcycling be it on-road or off it. In addition to being a renowned name in competitive racing, Alpinestars expanded their product range to cater for leisure riders as well.

    In the mid-1980s, the next big step for Alpinestars came in the form of setting up a base in Los Angeles, California and thus, Alpinestars USA was formed. By the mid-1990s the first technical apparel line was designed and launched. In 1999, Alpinestars began the development of road racing leather suits. In MotoGP, Carlos Checa was the first rider to test the suits. This came as big help in the development of the suits. And now, the name is associated with many notable Premier Class riders... Marc Marquez, Maverick Vinales, and Andrea Dovizioso to name a few.

    Since then, Alpinestars has expanded its reach to other sports as well. The development of auto racing footwear was already fictional since the beginning of 1990s. Many notable drivers in Formula 1 and Indycar sported Alpinestars product. All of that led to the establishment of the Alpinestars Auto Suit Department in 2000.

    And they are not limited to just motorsports only either. In 2004, Alpinestars began a partnership with Honda in the Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup and in the same year a new division dedicated to the creation and development of casual sportswear was opened in Los Angeles. Greg Minnaar won the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup in 2005 adding another feather to Alpinestars' cap. And like the previous instances, the development on this front led to the launch of Alpinestars' cycling collection.

    Today, Aplinestars is associated with Formula 1, NASCAR, AMA, World Motocross and MotoGP. Their presence at the pinnacle of motorsport represents the values with which Sante Mazzarolo established Alpinestars; continuous development, progress, evolution, and innovation. At present, Alpinestars employs around 500 people with its headquarters in Los Angeles, Northern Italy, Tokyo and Bangkok.

    Success certainly doesn't come easy and it needs incomprehensible levels of hard work, dedication, and consistency. It was the same for Sante Mazzarolo. Difficult times and competition can take a man down or build him up... Sante Mazzarolo belonged to the latter category of people and he may not be with us today... but we'll always remember him as the one who gave motorcycling... the boot... not literally.