Claimed power: 87hp @ 9,000rpm
Top speed: 158mph (Isle of Man TT 1978)
Engine: 883cc air-cooled SOHC 90-degree V-twin
Weight: 365lb (166kg)
Fuel capacity: 6.3gal (24ltr)
June 3, 1978: Mike Hailwood returns to the TT after 11 years and wins. A week later, he takes the checkered flag at Mallory Park. “Mike the Bike” was back, and this is the bike he rode.
“Mike the Bike’s” fairy tale Isle of Man comeback, in which he rode to decisive victory at record speed over the factory Honda team in the Formula One TT aboard his Sports Motor Cycles Ducati 900 V-twin, 11 years after he last raced on the Island and seven since he’d ridden a bike of any kind in international competition, is rightly considered one of the most remarkable feats in the history of motorcycle racing.
If on that day you’d told me, as I hung over the fence on the outside of the course in the Manx sunshine and watched my greatest hero winning his comeback race on my favorite bike, that someday I’d be thrashing round Mallory Park on that very same motorcycle, I’d have reckoned that a potent combination of the unlikely warmth and the Manx ale had got to you. Yet thanks to the generosity of the present day owners of Hailwood’s TT-winning Ducati, brothers Larry and Mark Auriana, and the man who made Hailwood’s feat possible by providing him with the bike in the first place, Steve Wynne, that’s exactly what happened. MC
Order the September/October 2009 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about Alan Cathcart's experience with Mike Hailwood's Ducati 900F1 racer, including a road test. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.
Lucky man Alan Cathcart has ridden Hailwood’s legendary Ducati on a number of occasions, including at Mallory Park. For an insider’s look at the history of Hailwood’s TT-winning Ducati from Steve Wynne, go here. — Ed.
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