Omobono Tenni

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Omobono Tenni
Omobono Tenni.jpg
Nationality Italian
Born (1905-07-24)July 24, 1905
Tirano, Italy
Died June 30, 1948(1948-06-30) (aged 42)
Bern, Switzerland
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested 4 (1935, 1937, 1939, 1948)
TT wins 1
First TT win 1937 Lightweight TT
Last TT win 1937 Lightweight TT
Podiums 1

Tommaso Omobono Tenni (July 24, 1905 - June 30, 1948) was an Italian motorcycle road racer. Nicknamed The Black Devil, he was a multiple Italian Motor Cycle champion, who raced to 47 victories for Moto Guzzi from 1933 till 1948, the year he died from an accident during practice for the Swiss GP.

Early years[edit]

Omobono Tenni was born in Tirano, Lombardy. When he was 15, his family moved to Treviso, where he began an apprenticeship at a motorcycle workshop. At 19, he opened his own workshop and began his racing career. His first victory was in 1924, at the end of his teenage years. It was not until 1931 that members of his local club contributed so that he could purchase a Velocette 350 with which he finished in third place at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza followed by a victory at the Grand Prix Reale of Rome.

Moto Guzzi[edit]

In 1932, he won a race at Rapallo against Moto Guzzi's star rider, Pietro Ghersi. His performance earned him a spot on the Moto Guzzi team for the 1933 season. For the 1934 season, Moto Guzzi developed a new V twin 500 cc racer and Tenni rode it to victory at the Italian Grand Prix ahead of his team-mate Stanley Woods. He would go on to win the 1934 Italian 500 cc national championship. Tenni first travelled to the Isle of Man TT in 1935. For a newcomer, he performed remarkably well. He was lying in second to his team-mate Woods, when he crashed in a fog bank on the mountain section. It was here that he came to be dubbed the Black Devil referring both to the color of his hair and his diabolical riding style. He would again capture the 500 cc Italian National Championship in 1935.

The highlight of his career was winning the Lightweight at the 1937 Isle of Man TT, becoming the first Italian to win the TT. In 1937 he also won the 250cc European Championship. He suffered serious injuries in the 1938 and 1940 seasons then his racing career was put on hold by World War II. After the war, he began racing again, claiming his fourth Italian 500 cc championship in 1947. He put in a respectable performance at the 1948 Isle of Man TT where he set the race's fastest lap and led the race before mechanical difficulties forced him back to ninth place. Omobono Tenni had 47 victories racing for Moto Guzzi in the period from 1933 to 1948.


In the mid 1930s Tenni ventured into car racing, and in 1936 and 1937 drove for Maserati, but was not as successful as on two wheels although, he did compete in the 1936 Mille Miglia, finishing first in his class and fifth overall.


At the 1948 Swiss GP, at Bremgarten, Tenni died after a crash during practice. This was the same weekend that Achille Varzi crashed and died.[1]


  1. ^ [1] Kolumbus The Golden Era of GP Racing 1934 - 1940, Drivers (Retrieved 10 November 2006)
Sporting positions
Preceded by
H. G. Tyrell Smith
250cc Motorcycle European Champion
Succeeded by
Ewald Kluge
Preceded by
Georg Meier (1939)
500cc Motorcycle European Champion
Succeeded by
Enrico Lorenzetti