Alan Cathcart writes..... (page 3)

MIKE HAILWOOD'S TT-WINNING DUCATI... Steve Wynne Tells the Inside Story

 

"I still owned not only the blown-up TT-winning engine, but also the disastrous full-works 950F1 bike ridden to fifth place in the 1979 TT by Mike, which I'd been too disgusted with to dispose of - though precisely why is another, even longer story! In 1982, I decided to enter myself in the Daytona BoTT race, using the 1979 chassis which Ron Williams of Maxton had by now transformed from a camel into a thoroughbred handling-wise, in which I installed the 1978 engine that I'd heavily modified while rebuilding it, in search of more power. The blow-up had meant that timing gears, crank, big bore pistons and cylinders, valves, gearbox etc. were all replacements, which basically only meant the crankcases and head castings were original Hailwood TT items,even if modified inside. However, I'd overdone the tuning, and at Daytona the crankcases split, which being special sandcast units were irreplaceable, and unrepairable. For a second time the engine was cast under a bench!"

"A year or so later the next 'con' artist appeared on the scene, contacting me from the USA purporting to be the world's biggest Hailwood fan. Did I even have just a nut or bolt off the original Hailwood bike lying around which he could have to worship? Being a gullible type, I informed him that I still had the TT-winning engine, even though it was scrap and heavily modified, plus a spare wheel and a damaged fork slider that apart from the trashed fairing was the only casualty of the Donington crash. I sold him the stuff for just a few pounds - then a year or so later I find 'The Original TT-Winning Mike Hailwood Ducati' has gone up for sale in the USA, completely cloned from just a cracked crankcase and a broken fork leg! After correspondence between myself and the buyer of this fake, the purchaser has now sued the man who created it, and the bike itself is now in the hands of a third party, who has now broken it up and is offering the cracked crankcases and other modified parts for sale!"

"Meanwhile, the genuine bike reappeared from Japan in 1996, and was sold at auction in Los Angeles to the present owners, who have generously insisted it be returned to the race track this year, to honour the 20th anniversary of Mike's victories. You're doing the honouring here at Mallory Park, while Phil Read will ride it in the TT Parade Lap - and I can assure everyone who sees the bike or reads this article that this is indeed the genuine Hailwood Ducati, and as the mug who sold to to Japan for £5000 in 1978 and tried unsuccessfully to buy it back at auction in 1996 with a failed bid of £80,000, I have absolutely no axe to grind about its authenticity. In fact, of all people involved, I'd be very unlikely to try to put up that much money to buy a forgery! The original engine with matching numbers - which Mike used in practice at the TT and won the race with at Mallory - that came with the bike when new is still installed in it, together with every nut, bolt and washer that he raced with during the 1978 season. Odd bits do exist elsewhere which were used at some stage by Mike, but that's the nature of racing's wear and tear. This motorcycle is history on wheels, and to see it being used in something approaching anger here today, at the scene of its last race victory, has been very moving - as well as a vivid reminder of how much of a loss it is that Mike can't be with us himself at the TT to commemorate what is arguably his most famous victory."

© Alan Cathcart. All Rights Reserved.

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