AGV founder Gino AmisanoThe "king of helmets" is dead, long live the king! AGV founder Gino Amisano passed away June 30th in Nervi, Italy after a brief battle with bronchial pneumonia. "While many young people may not recognize his name, ‘Ginetto’ was a legend not only in Italy but also the entire racing world," says AGV Helmets U.S. head, Paolo Bacchiarello. "Champions from Giacomo Agostini (right photo) and Kenny Roberts right up through current MotoGP frontrunner Valentino Rossi have worn AGV as Signor Amisano was one of the first people to believe that motorsports sponsorships made for a great vehicle to advertise your company."Giacomo Agostini AGV AdAmisano lived most of his 89 years in Valenza Po "The City Of Gold" where he founded a bicycle seat business in 1946. However his Midas touch for branding came when he added the AGV logo to a line of leather racing helmets in 1948. In fact, the logo is literally his initials and his beloved City Of Gold – Amisano Gino Valenza – over the top of the tricolore Italian flag. In addition to being a shrewd marketer, Amisano’s helmets always featured the latest technological advances and AGV produced the very first fiberglass racing helmets back in 1953. The superior safety and Ginetto’s genial negotiating skills saw top motorcycle racers and Formula 1 drivers alike fly the AGV colors for the next six decades.
Signor Amisano always had an eye for talent, so it is no surprise that 7-time MotoGP champ Valentino Rossi (pictured below at the Oct. 2008 Valencia MotoGP) has always worn AGV helmets. Ginetto met Valentino back in 1996 when Giampiero Sacchi (now sports director at Aprilia) wanted to start a 125GP race team for a bushy haired youngster named Rossi. Good choice as Vale just won his 100th Grand Prix victory!In later years, Amisano sold his company and planned to live a quiet retirement growing grapes and making wine… of course that didn’t last long. Ever the sportsman, Amisano also became president of the Alessandria Football Club (soccer for you in the U.S.). "Although he was retired from the business, Ginetto always took an active interest in AGV, and he was overjoyed when two of the biggest legends in protective gear merged in 2007 as AGV and Dainese merged," remembers Paolo Bacchiarello.