How Morini almost won the 1963 250cc World Championship!

In 1961 Honda took 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the 250cc World Championship. The following year they took 1st and 2nd , but in 1963 a Morini ridden by Tarquinio Provini almost took 1st Place.

Provini's bike was an 11,000 RPM 35BHP DOHC single and was up against the 14,000 RPM 45 BHP DOHC transverse four Honda's of Jim Redman and ... Despite this at Montjuich in Spain Provini won the race by 20 seconds, averaging a faster lap time than the previous single lap record. The British magazine 'Motor Cycling' reported on page 1 "PROVINI THRASHES WORKS HONDA'S".

The next race of the season was at Hockenhiem in West-Germany and Provini again won the race, beating the Honda teams 4s, a Bennelli 4, water cooled MZ 2-strokes and sundry others. Jim Redman was reported as saying that the Morini was up to 5 MPH quicker than his works Honda.

The French GP was the next race and Provini on his Morini looked to be ready for another victory, lowering the absolute lap record by 0.3 MPH. Unfortunately bad weather caused the cancelation of the 250cc Event.

In a wonderful piece of Italian efficiency, the Morini was absent from the Isle of Mann TT race due to leaving entry too late!

At Assen in Holland Provini only managed third to Jim Redman's Honda and Fumio Ito of a Yamaha. The Morini team insisted on the capacity of the Honda being measured and it was found to be 249.65cc.(Not much room for a rebore !)

At Ulster Jim Redman once again came in first but Provini was 7 seconds behind in second place.

The East German GP once again demonstrated the Morini Teams organisational efficiency as Provini could not race because the teams mechanics could not get visas in time, having left it too late

The last European round was at Monza and Provini, now joined by a young Giacono Agostini beat Redman home for a win in front of a home crowd

Bouyed by their success so far Morini decided to compete in the next round in Argentina. During the course of the race Provini slid in a corner and ran onto the grass. Redman said the Provini did not renter the track at the point where he exited, but rather took a short cut, bypassing two corners. However the same corner later claimed Redman who crashed, allowing Provini to win by a Lap.

Now Provini and Redman were equal on points and the last race of the season was at Suzuka.

Things started badly for Provini be fore he landed in Japan, suffering from severe ear problems on board the plane, necessitating an operation. After this it took a week of haggling to get the Morini through Customs. After all this the race results of the race were a blow to the Morini Team with Provini fourth, well behind Redman on his Honda and Fumio Ito and Phil Read on Yamahas.

The end result was that Jim Redman one the championship by two points from Provini. Who knows what would have happened if the Morini Teams organisation had been a bit better? Admittedly Redman was competing in the 350cc and 125cc class as well, but on the other hand the Honda Team had far more resources than the Morini effort. I guess It's one of those things that might have been if only.......

The Morini

  • Morini 38BHP@ 11,000
  • single 72x61
  • gear driven cams,contact breaker & oil pump - dry sump.
  • Two plugs one 12mm other 10mm
  • Primary Drive via gears . Ventilated dry clutch.
  • 6 speed gearbox
  • most engine castings magnesium.
  • duplex loop frame.
  • TLS drum
  • one piece dolphin fairing.
  • 238 lb.
  • top speed ~140MPH
  • Tank specially fitted to provoinis shape (chin dent in tank)

The Honda

  • 16 Valve
  • 4 cyl
  • 250cc
  • 46BHP

Extracted from an article by Shane McCartin

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