Gilera is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer founded in Arcore in 1909 by Giuseppe Gilera. In 1969, the company was purchased by Piaggio.
After World War II, Gilera dominated Grand Prix motorcycle racing, winning the 500 cc road racing world championship six times in eight years, Facing a downturn in motorcycle sales due to the increase in the popularity of automobiles after the war, Gilera made a gentleman's agreement with the other Italian motorcycle makers to quit Grand Prix racing after the 1957 season as a cost-cutting measure.
The 1957 500 cc machines on which former World Champion rider Geoff Duke had much success were resurrected in 1963, but with the benefit of newer, upgraded tyre technology of the 1960s were considered still competitive. The team was devised by Duke to challenge the domination of Mike Hailwood on the MV and had early successes with riders Derek Minter and teammate John Hartle at Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Imola, Italy.
In May 1963 Minter suffered serious injuries when racing a Norton at Brands Hatch, and his place in the team for the TT races was taken by Phil Read, who came third to second-place teammate Hartle. The team only raced for one season in selected races.
In 1966 Minter arranged to ride the Gileras at the TT in June, again without success as he crashed on a wet road surface after a rain shower at Brandish Corner during the last practice before race-week, breaking his left wrist which ended his racing for the rest of the race season. The bikes were raced at Brands Hatch later in the year.