Estimate: Some of Mike Hailwood’s earliest successes had come on small-displacement Ducati twins, and so when Manchester dealership Sports Motorcycles offered him an ex-works NCR Ducati 900SS for the 1978 Isle of Man TT F1 race, he jumped at the chance. At 37, he was thought to be past his prime and hadn’t raced on the daunting 37-mile circuit in a decade, but Hailwood nevertheless won the six lap race at an average speed of over 108mph. Following Paul Smart’s 1972 Imola 200 win and Cook Neilson’s 1977 Daytona Superbike victory, (both on 750SS Ducatis), Hailwood’s hugely popular TT success finally secured Ducati’s place on the world stage.
Ducati celebrated Hailwood’s TT win by producing the Mike Hailwood Replica from 1979-86. Essentially a standard 80hp ‘square case’ 900SS with an NCR-replica 4-gallon tank, seat and full fairing in Sports Motorcycles’ tricolore livery, the MHR was good for 137mph. With relatively minor updates being made over the years, around 7,000 MHRs were produced in total.
Complete with the correct one-piece fairing, Conti silencers and Brembo Goldline calipers, the Mk. 1 example offered for sale here is one of the original, 500 limited-series ‘900 Replicas’ produced by the Bologna factory.
It has been owned from new by the world-famous actor Oliver Tobias, who purchased and collected it from Mike Hailwood at the Hailwood and Gould dealership in Birmingham, shortly after it had been taken for a pre delivery test ride by the great man himself.
Two years ago the bike benefitted from a thorough cosmetic restoration and for many years it has been meticulously mechanically maintained by Ged Shorten at GCS Motorcycle Services in Dorset. The odometer currently shows a correct 24,322 miles from new.
The current owner has ridden the bike as far afield as Italy, Switzerland and Scotland, and such has been this Ducati’s reliability that only once in 38 years has it ever let him down – “a broken clutch cable miles from anywhere in central France”.
This is a rare opportunity to purchase an early limited-edition version – in excellent condition with known provenance – of what has become one of Ducati’s most famous and desirable models.