Words: Ed Milich
Manel Segarra Barreno (December 1958-March 18, 2013)
Internationally known Moto Guzzi racer and tuner Manel Segarra Barreno has passed away as a result of a collision with a car near his home in Spain. He was 54 years old. Manel was riding a freshly restored Moto Guzzi not far from his workshop when a car entered his lane, resulting in the accident that ended his life.
For decades, Segarra operated his Moto Guzzi restoration, tuning, and racing business, Guzzi Moto Box, first from his shop in the ancient city of Tarragona in the province of Tortosa. He eventually moved the business to a converted warehouse at his home in the Spanish countryside.
According to his son, also named Manel, “He began racing when he was very young and without any money, but he soon stood out from the rest. He started racing the Criterium at Calafat, and he raced his last Criterium when he was 19 with a Bultaco Metralla which was loaned from a workshop in Barcelona.”
In the late 1970s, Manel hung up his leathers after a serious crash and concentrated on family life and building his Moto Guzzi- focused business. In the 1990s, he returned to the classic bike races in classes where his beloved air-cooled Moto Guzzis were competitive. Manel raced at Magny-Cours, Ternoise in Croise, Paul Ricard, Oscherleben and elsewhere. Successes include a Catalunya Speed Championship, race wins at Estoril and the career pinnacle of two consecutive wins in Spa-Francorchamps in 2010 and 2011. He also participated in the 24 hours of Montmeló with a Moto Guzzi Daytona. He had recently completed a new Moto Guzzi racer, to be used in the European Resistance Championship.
Manel Jr: “My father was unique. He was talked about since he was born. His mother says he was born on the 18th December but his grandmother it was the 19th and his identity card says the 20th! He always said that it was such a great circumstance that it needed three days to be realized, ha!”
On a personal note, I will always remember Manel’s hospitality and charm when I visited him at his home in 2010. His collection of beautifully handcrafted racing trophies won from various European tracks stretched hundreds of feet around the perimeter of his workshop. Manel was a competitive racer and a talented Moto Guzzi builder to the end, but, as I learned during my visit, he tempered his drive for racing success with an unequalled devotion to his family.
Manel Segarra Barreno is survived by his wife, Pili, his sons Manel and Sergi, and grandchildren Martina and Marc.