By Wade Thiel
A Blow to the Motorcycling World
Francesco Villa, the co-founder of Moto Villa, has passed away at the age of 87 after a battle with an illness. He was a major motorcycle industry legend. He will be fondly remembered by a massive number of motorcyclists and friends and family around the world.
According to Villa Italia, Francesco got his start as a mechanic with Ducati. He worked under Fabio Taglioni. Outside of his job he was winning races. Eventually, Taglioni recruited him to race for Ducati. From there, he won the Championship GP Juniors 100cc trophy in 1955. He also did some exhibition racing in the U.S. in the 1960s and won many races. He did it on Ducati machines with smaller engines than the American bikes being used.
After that, he and his brother (also a racer) built their own racing bikes, the Villa 125 PR and the 250 PR. They started Moto Villa, and Francesco continued racing until 1972. Moto Villa continued winning off-road races, with that being the main focus until the late 1980s when it stopped operation. Today the Moto Villa brand is making a comeback in the off-road racing space.
A memorial service for Francesco will happen on Saturday, February 22 in Modena, Italy. Francesco made a serious impact on the industry, and our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.
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