Window shopping — Mike Hailwood Replica Ducati 900

CAPTION: Always wanted a Mike Hailwood Replica? Yeah, me too. This one's for sale for $20,000 in the Perth hills at Gooseberry Hill.

THERE’S a  lot of fun to be had shopping for lovely bikes, but it can be a time-consuming business. The folks at The Bike Shed Times like to sniff out the exotic and the desirable, to save you the effort.

1982 Ducati 900 Mike Hailwood Replica

The seller says:

For sale is my 1982 Ducati MHR900 with NCR bodywork.

The bike is in wonderful condition, with the engine rebuilt not long ago by previous owner.

The bike also only has 31000klms from new.
I have myself just had the bike serviced by ProTwin Australia in Perth, who along with the service have prepared the bike to be registered in Western Australia.

I bought the bike last year from NSW and had it shipped to Perth and have only ridden it for around 100kms up in the Perth hills where I live. It is fitted with all of the factory goodies that you would expect, with the inclusion of the NCR bodywork and some period Ohlins works shocks on the back.

As you can imagine, the riding experience of this bike is pretty much a perfect motorcycle moment, with the bike seeming to know what to do by itself most of the time.

I am very reluctant to sell the bike, but an impending move to Europe dictates that all toys must go, unfortunately.

I have set the price sensibly for the current market for these highly desirable bikes, and the person who buys the bike will be very pleased with the price and condition of the bike.

Please feel free to contact if any other information is required.

I will also assist in any way with shipping.

Please email only.

Price reduced. Bargain!!!

_DSC0193The Bike Shed Times says:

EVERY good classic bike has a story to tell — and for our money there is no story in the entire history of motorcycles to match the wonderful tale that is the Ducati 900 Mike Hailwood Replica.

The story is rich because it is has so many parts: there’s the wonderful underdog Ducati part of the story, the extraordinary bald-headed old has-been Mike Hailwood part of the story, and the unstoppable juggernaut Honda part of the story — all coming together in one race, on one day, on the Isle of Man.

The story starts almost 20 years before the MHR 900 was made.

In 1966, Honda won every solo class of the world motorcycle championships. That’s right, all of them. 50cc, 125, 250, 350 and 500. One rider delivered two of those titles. An incredibly talented young Englishman named Mike Hailwood took out the 250 and 350 class for Honda, as well as finishing second in the 500 class. In 1967, Hailwood did it again. First in the 250 class, first in the 350 class, and second in the 500 class — all aboard Hondas.

CAPTION: Mike 'The Bike' Hailwood.

CAPTION: Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood.

In 1968, Honda decided not to compete — and they paid Mike 50,000 pounds to make sure he wouldn’t ride for anyone else. Fifty-thousand quid was a fortune back in the day; Hailwood was said to be the highest paid racer in the world, and in ’68 he was paid to take a holiday. He semi-retired, first to South Africa and then to New Zealand._DSC0192

As Honda and the other Japanese manufacturers grew in status through the 1970s, Ducati stumbled. By the late 1970s it was in trouble, surviving on historic glory and Italian Government handouts. Their bikes were cool, but outdated, sloppy and slow. Total annual sales had dropped to less than 5000.

The story goes that Hailwood was visiting England and dropped in to visit Ducati tuning whizz Steve Wynne at Sports Motorcycles in Manchester. Wynne had a race-going NCR-prepared Ducati 900SS in his workshop and Hailwood climbed aboard, bounced up and down on the shocks, and said he’d love to ride one of these around the Isle of Man. A deal was done.

When news broke in 1978 that Hailwood would return to the Isle on a specially-prepared (but not factory backed) Ducati 900, the bike racing world went slightly mad. Hailwood was God-like in status, especially when it came to the Isle. The island was a sell-out. No-one cared that he was now a balding 38-year-old with the kind of body shape you might expect to find on a balding 38-year-old. No-one cared that he hadn’t ridden competitively for years. No-one cared that he’d be riding a bike which was considered incapable of running with the Japanese multis. No-one really thought he’d be competitive. They just wanted to see him ride the Isle again, for old-times’ sake.

Besides, everyone knew who was going to win: Phil Read on his Honda.

The race was a fairytale. Right from the start, Hailwood and the booming Ducati were breathtakingly fast. Then Read’s Honda blew up. No-one else could catch the silly old fart on the Duke. He lapped the island at 108.51 miles an hour, and won the race. John Williams came in second on a Honda and Ian Richards was third on a Kawasaki. As the Ducati crossed the finish line, the engine went bang. The bottom bevel gear on the rear cylinder disintegrated just as Hailwood shut off the throttle.

That single race is said to have saved Ducati from bankruptcy. An exaggeration? Of course. Undoubtedly. But it sure didn’t hurt. The company produced the Mike Hailwood Replica to capture the euphoria of Hailwood’s win. The bike is little more than a ‘normal’ Ducati 900SS with some funky fibreglass and paintwork, but no-one cares about that either. More than 5000 MHRs were sold between 1979 and 1985. The company has recovered from those dark pre-1978 days and sold more than 50,000 bikes in 2015.

Hailwood won nine world championships, including four 500cc titles in succession. In six years he won seventy-four Grand Prixs. He won Grand Prixs in each of the 250/350/500 classes, including winning Grand Prixs in all three classes in the same season, a record five times. Five times he won all three classes in one day. He won the Isle of Man fourteen times. He set the one hour top speed world record in 1964 at Daytona. He came within fourteen points of winning the 500cc title six times, losing in 1961 and 1966 to Gary Hocking and then Giacamo Agostini. But he will always be remembered for the day he kicked everyone’s butt aboard a big Ducati.

He died at the age of forty-two in 1981, when a truck turned in front of his car as he drove home from the shops.

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CAPTION: Yes, it does look rather good parked alongside The Bike Shed Times’ company car, doesn’t it? Hhhmm …

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