Legends: Tarquinio Provini
You’d have thought it was no contest – a small Italian factory’s two-valve single against a 16-valve four. But with one round remaining in the 1963 world 250 championship, Tarquinio Provini and his Moto Morini were level on points and ahead 4-3 on race victories against Honda’s defending champion Jim Redman.
But it was not to be. Redman won the final round, held on Honda’s home circuit at Suzuka. Provini, the garage owner’s son from the Emilia-Romagna region, finished fourth and lost the title by two points.
During the year he’d won on circuits as diverse as Montjuic Parc (Barcelona), Hockenheim, Monza and Buenos Aires. Clearly, the Morini had more going for it than its breakthrough twin-disc front brakes. At Clermont-Ferrand, Provini bettered the outright lap record during 250 practice. Interestingly, he missed the Isle of Man for personal reasons and the East German GP due to a strike at Morini.
Provini had previously won the 1957 world 125 crown riding for FB-Mondial and the ’58 250 title for MV-Agusta. He went on win more GPs for Benelli. All up, there were 20 GP victories between 1954 and ’65, six in 125 and 14 in 250, as well as 13 Italian championships and four Isle of Man TTs.
He was certainly skilled on public roads, winning the eight-day, 3413km Motogiro d’Italia in 1954 on an FB-Mondial 175.
In 1966, the roads bit Provini. He retired after breaking his back in a crash at the Isle of Man and turned to making plastic racer models, as co-founder of Protar.
Tarquinio Provini died in Bologna in January 2005, aged 71.
Perhaps the new Moto3 GP class for 250cc singles that begins in 2012 should have a Tarquinio Provini trophy, to commemorate a true master of the one-lung 250 racing machines.
By Don Cox