Towards the end of the visit we’re ushered into a meeting room, to await the arrival of TM’s owner, Gastone Serafini. As with most other rooms in the building, TM posters adorn the walls - a mix of classic motocross images and contemporary supermoto shots.
Serafini originally joined the company in its founding year, 1977, as an MX rider, and when his race career came to an end he stayed with the firm, eventually taking over when the founders retired.
I’m expecting slick hair, an even slicker suit, and the confident-bordering-on-arrogant air of someone who owns such a brand. The reality is nothing of the sort, for in walks a man dressed in baggy trousers, trainers, and matching TM-branded hooded top and baseball cap.
We fire questions at him, each one translated before we get a (translated back) reply. I’m keen to know whether, like Beta, Husqvarna, KTM, Gas Gas, Husaberg and Sherco, TM have any plans to build a sub-450cc E2 thumper? With the adaptability that running your own manufacturing plant brings, it seems logical that the marque would build an en-vogue 300-400cc four-stroke. The answer surprises me. There is the ‘possibility’ that the factory will build such a bike, but they’re hoping that their latest project will negate the need for such a model. What they’ve been working on, in conjunction with the engineering department at a local university and F1 engineers, is a new design of cylinder head which they claim will endow a 250 four-stroke with similar performance to those bigger machines.