On Friday, Sante Mazzarolo, the founder of Alpinestars, passed away at the age of 91 at his home in Maser, Italy.
Sante’s rise is the stuff of folklore: in 1963 the leather craftsman founded the company Alpinestars in the small Northern Italy town of Asolo and with the perennial Alpine star flower as its namesake, he began producing the first products bearing the Alpinestars moniker.
At that time a new sport called motocross was establishing itself and becoming quite popular across Europe. Very much aware of the sport, Sante realized an opportunity to apply his talents and technical acumen to design a new type of footwear that would meet the protective needs and demands of this beautiful yet brutal form of athleticism. The revolutionary boot he produced would become an archetype for motocross protection.
Shortly after establishing the company in its state-of-the-art headquarters in Maser, northern Italy, Sante began working on a new, revolutionary boot for local enduro and motocross riders who had started importing bikes from overseas and establishing the sport of off-road motorcycle racing. Sante’s boot immediately became the industry leader and a benchmark for racing performance. Development started from the moment the first boot was produced, with the help of feedback from the riders, and by the early 1970s, Roger de Coster had brought Alpinestars its first World Motocross Championship accolade.
Roger de Coster won five World Motocross Championships and began a continuous run of World Championship success for Alpinestars that continues to the present day.
Sante was honored with a number of Italian design and product awards in the early years of the company, establishing a reputation for creativity and innovation that took another step when he began development of road racing products in the 1970s. Kenny Roberts became Alpinestars’ most high profile Grand Prix World Champion when he took his first title in 1978.
Development continued at pace, with the company producing boots for all forms of motorcycling, road and off-road, for competitive use and leisure, and in the mid-1980s Alpinestars USA was opened with a new base in Los Angeles, California.
Sante handed over the reigns of the company to his son, Gabriele, 25 years ago, but he was still a regular visitor to the company’s racing facilities in Maser.
Rest in peace Sante.