1972 Ducati 248cc Barcelona 24 Horas
Frame no. MD97656
Engine no. 24H MD97735
Prior to its curtailment on safety grounds in the 1970s, the Barcelona 24 Hours race, held on the demanding Montjuic Park circuit in that city, was one of the most prestigious endurance races on the calendar. Endurance racing was - and still is - for modified production motorcycles, enabling manufacturers to make a direct link between success on the racetrack and the models offered to the motorcycling public. The challenging nature of the Montjuic track and the sheer length of the event meant that victory at Barcelona really counted for something. Ducati first entered the event in 1957, its third year, when the 125cc entry ridden by Bruno Spaggiari and Alberto Gandossi belied its small size by winning outright, an astonishing achievement. Over the next seven years Ducati won on four more occasions and would go on to become the most successful marque in the event's history.
When Ducati pulled out of racing at the end of 1960, its Spanish subsidiary Mototrans took on responsibility for the firm's Barcelona entries. In 1964 an over-bored (to 285cc) Mach 1 based '250' ridden by Spaggiari and Giuseppe Mandolini won at record speed, and this success prompted Mototrans to introduce a special model for the Spanish market by way of celebration: the 24 Horas (Hours), which was first shown to the public in December 1965. Inevitably, the '24' was styled like a 'café racer', complete with clip-on handlebars, rear-set footrests, racing seat and a megaphone silencer. All previous Mototrans Ducatis had only four speeds in the gearbox but the '24' came with five and had a top speed of around 100mph. The model was produced in three series up to 1974, by which time approximately 2,000 had been made. Today the beautiful and rare 24 Horas is among the most sought-after of all single-cylinder Ducatis.
The current owner purchased this example at Bonhams' Harrogate sale in November 2005 (Lot 382B). At that time the machine was described as in excellent overall condition, having resided in a Spanish private collection until 1989. Extensively refurbished in 1994 and last MoT'd in 1995, it is fitted with a street legal speedometer but is not currently registered in the UK. Accompanying documentation consists of sundry correspondence, an expired MoT, various receipts and a Spanish taxation certificate.