1979 Ducati 905cc NCR Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 75433 Engine no. 088971 DM 860
Lot 372N
1979 Ducati 905cc NCR Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 75433 Engine no. 088971 DM 860
£80,000 - 120,000
US$ 110,000 - 160,000

Amended
Lot Details
1979 Ducati 905cc NCR Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 75433 Engine no. 088971 DM 860 1979 Ducati 905cc NCR Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 75433 Engine no. 088971 DM 860 1979 Ducati 905cc NCR Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 75433 Engine no. 088971 DM 860 1979 Ducati 905cc NCR Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 75433 Engine no. 088971 DM 860 1979 Ducati 905cc NCR Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 75433 Engine no. 088971 DM 860 1979 Ducati 905cc NCR Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 75433 Engine no. 088971 DM 860 1979 Ducati 905cc NCR Racing Motorcycle Frame no. 75433 Engine no. 088971 DM 860
1979 Ducati 905cc NCR Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. 75433
Engine no. 088971 DM 860
Mike Hailwood's 1978 Isle of Man TT comeback ride is the stuff of legend. Out of top-flight bike racing for seven years and away from the Island for eleven, he took on and beat the might of the Honda works team to win the Formula One TT at record speed. Entered by Steve Wynne's Manchester-based Ducati dealership, Sports Motorcycles, Hailwood's TT-winner was one of a small batch of such machines built by the legendary NCR race shop in Italy for TT Formula One and FIM Coupe d'Endurance racing. The NCR offered here is one of this exclusive series.

'NCR' stood for the names of its founders, ex-factory race mechanics Giorgio Nepoti, Rino Caracchi and Luigi Rizzi, although after Rizzi's early departure the 'R' stood for Racing. NCR was founded in 1967 in the small town of Borgo Panigale on the outskirts of Ducati's hometown of Bologna. Situated a stone's throw from the Ducati factory, NCR functioned as the semi-official race team from the early 1970s, there being no direct works involvement at that time. The Nepoti/Caracchi philosophy was that everything could be improved, lightened or made more powerful, and like all truly great tuners they paid attention to the smallest detail in the knowledge that racing would inevitably expose any weaknesses. Their emblem, a speeding cartoon dog wearing a helmet, is known the world over.

The NCR bikes supplied to Sports Motorcycles for Hailwood and his team-mate Roger Nicholls incorporated Daspa-built frames and 864cc desmodromic engines that retained the smoothly contoured outer casings of the earlier 750 series. (The production 860 and 750 models had used angular 'square' cases since their introduction in 1975). Tuning consisted of reworked cylinder heads; larger valves; higher-compression pistons; Lucas RITA ignition system; up-rated, dry clutch; and a stronger gearbox. Breathing via Malossi-modified 41mm Dell'Orto carburettors, the desmo twin produced 90bhp at the rear wheel. The NCR's wheelbase was on the long side at 1,500mm (59") but on the Isle of Man TT course the stability that this conferred was a positive advantage, especially at the Duke's top speed of 149mph.

By the end of practice week in 1978, Hailwood had lapped the 37¾-mile Mountain Circuit at over 111mph. In the Formula One race he averaged 108.51mph and set a new lap record of 110.62mph. Phil Read blew up his works Honda in vain pursuit. It was an outstanding achievement for all concerned: Ducati, NCR, Steve Wynne and, of course, Mike Hailwood himself. And to prove it was no fluke, Hailwood took the Sports Motorcycles NCR to the Post-TT meeting at Mallory Park a week later and not only beat Read again but also the cream of the UK's short circuit stars. The contrast between the TT course and the tight, 1¼-mile Mallory track could not have been greater, yet the combination of Hailwood and the NCR had mastered both. Although the Hailwood TT win is the NCR's most famous achievement, there were other notable victories at Mugello, Montjuic and Misano in the Endurance Championship.

This NCR Ducati is a very rare and original endurance racer, only five of which were manufactured for the 1979 season. Once again the engine was of the earlier 'round case' type, and this machine's combines an 88mm bore with a 74.4mm stroke for a displacement of 905cc. The frame and engine are the original pairing as confirmed by an accompanying document of authentication signed in November 2014 by Rino Caracchi himself.

This NCR has had only one previous owner, an Italian collector who used it only for parades and hill climbs. We are advised that it has never participated in any of the long-distance endurance events it was intended for. The Ducati has been in the hands of the current (second) owner, an Austrian private collector and BMW dealer, for the last 8-10 years, during which time it has been kept on display. The engine has been taken apart only once, a few years ago, by a German Ducati expert to determine its originality and condition, the process being extensively documented with numerous photographs. The professional consulting engineer's signed report (dated 17th February 2015) is on file together with other paperwork relating to its earlier history.

Described 'mint' condition, this beautiful NCR represents a possibly-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an unmolested example of this historic racing motorcycle.

Saleroom notices

  • The Frame Number is DM075433. The original documents will be forwarded to the purchaser following the sale.
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