Ducati lost a big piece of it’s soul today. Franco Farne, legendary rider, mechanic and engineer has passed at 81. The obituaries will say he was brilliant and important, he was there at Ducati from the beginning for all of it, from the Cucciolo to the modern superbike, the stuff of Ducati legend – Paul Smart’s Imola win, Mike Hailwood’s come back to win the Isle of Man TT, that he was among the first to see the potential in Carl Fogarty, that his partnerships with Taglioni, Bordi, and NCR in particular, resulted in brilliant, stunningly fast, machines. But the thing about Franco Farne that I loved best was that he never stopped looking for more in a motor or a design. Those around him were always certain that if it was there, Farne would find it and if he didn’t, well, then it simply was not possible. He. Was. The. Best.
I’ll end this with a small tale of the respect he earned from all that knew him. I remember arriving one time in Bologna, to the small NCR workshop with 3 days to assemble a Ducati competition bike for the Motogiro d’Italia, a project that had more chance of going wrong than right, time was short with nothing to waste and yet there we all were, stunned in wonder, looking at a set of Farne’s tools, laid out for us to use. It seemed to set the bar for perfection, the magic was in the wrenches. We made the deadline and the bike was perfect. In the end when the tale was told, the magical wrenches were the headline. Think about that. Just touching his wrenches was an honor.
RIP Farne. Give Giorgione a hug for me, would you?
For some truly wonderful photos from the incredible life of Franco Farne, click HERE