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Aureliano Barrigas (1893-1948), the ideologue of the Vila Real Circuit

Text: Luís Cardoso

Photos and sources of information: Elísio Amaral Neves

Aureliano Barrigas, circa 1920 - Fernando Manuel Machado de Sousa Botelho collection

Aureliano Barrigas is, since I can remember, recognized as the ideologue, creator, of Circuito de Vila Real.

Although his name is familiar to people from Vila Real, details of his life are not generally known.

Due to the exhaustive work of Elísio Amaral Neves, there is now a reliable source of information about this interesting personality. He was a "Renaissance" man in the sense of the broad scope of his knowledge and interests.

Cartoon by Aureliano Barrigas published, as usual, in the newspaper "O Comércio do Porto", in this case on December 12, 1925 - Fernando Manuel Machado de Sousa Botelho collection Living comfortably financially, the son of a military doctor and descendant of wealthy landowners, Aureliano divided his attention into areas as diverse as caricature, the creation of graphic lines, journalistic polemics, photography, writing technical books, technical creation, health, motorcycling, motorsport, the promotion of Vila Real and, of course, the creation of the Circuito de Vila Real.

The Vila Real Circuit plan - published in the ACP magazine nr. 10/1931, poster for the Festas da Cidade de Vila Real, 1939, drawing by Aureliano Barrigas - collection by Elísio Amaral Neves, raffle ticket, 1936 - collection by Elísio Amaral Neves and advertising stamps for the I Circuit de Motos de Vila Real, 1934 - collection of Elísio Amaral Neves Other personalities were naturally involved in the creation of the Circuit de Vila Real and, in addition to many others, it would not be fair to fail to mention Luís Taboada, Emídio Roque da Silveira and Emílio de Sousa Botelho. With regard to the material on this website, it is interesting to note that Aureliano was a pioneer of motorcycling, since 1910 he will have owned several motorcycles, some with sidecars, from brands as diverse as INDIAN, ALCION, CONDOR, FN and WANDERER. In the prelude to the Circuito de Vila Real, there was the first edition, automobile, in 1931, there were several sporting initiatives in the field of motorsport and motorcycling, gymkhanas and competitions with routes between villages, in motorcycling: "One became famous that was called "Circuito de Vila Real de Trás-os-Montes", which took place on the occasion of the 1st Trasmontano Congress (7 to 16 September 1920). Its route included Vila Real - Balsa - Ponte de Parada (by Sabrosa) - Vila Real, a distance of 60 km, and in it participated Emílio Botelho, José da Cunha Pinto and Aureliano Barrigas, in "Strong"; and Luís Taboada, José Augusto Taboada and José de Morais Serrão, in "Weak". In "Strong", the victory fell to José da Cunha Pinto, in a time of 1 hour and 4 minutes, and second place to Emílio Botelho, in a time of 1 hour and 20 minutes. In the "Weak" category, Luís Taboada won, followed by his brother José Augusto Taboada." in "Aureliano Barrigas e o automóvel" by Elísio Amaral Neves. I can't figure out what differentiated the "Strong" and "Weak" categories, the technical characteristics of the bikes or the qualifications of the riders!?...

José de Morais Serrão, one of the participants in the "Weak" category, according to a caricature drawn by Aureliano Barrigas - António Cândido Taboada collection In the field of motorcycling, reference should also be made to the book that Aureliano wrote in the 1920s: "The Motorcycle, its structure, maintenance, repair".

Drawings by Aureliano Barrigas that are part of the book "The Motorcycle, its structure, maintenance, repair" Circuito de Vila Real had its first automobile edition in 1931 and in motorcycles in 1934.

II Vila Real Circuit - Motorcycles 1936, nr. 5, wearing the Sport Clube de Vila Real jersey is Joaquim Augusto Alves Maio Marquez - Celso Augusto Roseira Maio collection It is a well-known curiosity that, as a way of financing the launch of the Circuito de Vila Real, a municipal tax of $40 (about 2/1000 of a €) was imposed on each kilo of meat, which all traders and townspeople joined in with glee. The apogee, in my opinion, of the Circuito de Vila Real was, in the last century, in the late 60's and early 70's for motor racing and in the 80's for motorcycling. Aureliano therefore has the merit and vision of having created what, also in my opinion, is the greatest distinctive feature of the Municipality of Vila Real!


This article would not have been possible without the helpful collaboration of Comendador Elísio Amaral Neves who, throughout his life, has been an outstanding cultural promoter of the city of Vila Real and who, by publishing the work "Aureliano Barrigas e o automóvel", allowed me to outline this short text that clearly links the founder of the Circuito de Vila Real to motorcycling. Thanks


Around 1910, Aureliano Barrigas posing on a motorcycle with auxiliary pedals, as was customary at that time and an expense note relating to the business with motorcycles


A clear demonstration of the multifaceted character of Aureliano Barrigas is this patent application, dated July 23, 1934 and granted in 1935, which intends to solve the emptying of the air chambers in progress or when stopped, even if punctured: "Auto- "Barrigas" pneumatic feeder" . Many years ahead of current solutions!!!...


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