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Keeping alive the dream of Jack Difazio

Local man, Kevin Charles, has recently scooped a major prize at the UK’s biggest classic bike show with one of three Triumph Hurricane engined machines which were made in the spring of 1976.
The motorbike has recently been restored and brought back to life by the local service electrician. It took centre stage on the Triumph and Rocket Three owners’ stand at the recent Stafford Classic Bike Show where it won the prestigious Kay Engineering trophy for engineering excellence; the huge trophy presented to the proud bike’s owner by the former BSA works road racer John Cooper. The award is fitting for Frome where engineer, Jack Difazio, created a small piece of two-wheel history, as Andy Westlake explains. “The former home of an abattoir might seem an odd place to find someone making a motorcycle, but it was here behind the shop at 25 Catherine Street during the 1970s, that Frome engineer Jack Difazio created a small piece of two-wheel history. “Between 1968 and 1983 Difazio and his team of three produced approximately 50 of his innovative and trend setting machines; bikes which featured GRP bodywork, car type switchgear and a radically different sort of steering. “Several of these quirky-looking machines were tested by the period motorcycle press who lavished praise on the bikes and their unusual steering system; one which they prophesised would in the future revolutionise two- wheel design. “It was regarded as a major breakthrough but although there was interest from both BMW and Norton, sadly the concept of hub centre steering was never taken up on a commercial basis and the story of Jack Difazio and his hub steerers is now consigned to the history books. “Four decades later approximately half of those 50 bikes survive, with one of them belonging to local man Kevin Charles. “A fitting tribute to Jack Difazio and his team for those countless hours spent in the old abattoir building what some would regard as the best motorcycle in the world.” Pictured: John Cooper presents Kevin Charles with his trophy. Photo by Andy Westlake.