WE RECKON every Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica is special. Built to commemorate Mike ‘the bike’ Hailwood’s extraordinary win at the Isle of Man on a Ducati 900 in 1978, the MHR was an Italian masterpiece with a great back-story, right from the start.
But this one — which will be on show at Saturday’s The Bike Shed Times Capel River Classic Show and Shine in south-western Western Australia — is even more of a masterpiece than the original, and has it’s own special back-story as well.
Now owned by The Bike Shed Times editor Peter Terlick, the 1982 model 900 MHR was evidently a sorry sight when it was wheeled into Sydney Ducati specialists Gowanloch Ducati about a decade ago.
“Apparently the owner at the time had two classic Ducatis — this one and a 750F1,” Peter said.
“Both of them were pretty tired, and the owner either wasn’t willing or wasn’t able to find the money to restore them. So he made Gowanloch’s an offer: ‘Restore the 750, and you can keep the Hailwood.’ And they agreed.”
And so began a thorough and painstaking restoration, with a twist. While the original major components were retained and rebuilt to like-new, the bodywork was replaced with black carbon fibre in 900SS styling, rather than the original Castrol red-and-green MHR fibreglass.
Peter first saw the bike in a magazine, not long after the restoration was complete.
“I thought it was the most beautiful motorbike I’d seen in my life!” he said. “But it was way beyond my spending capacity.”
Fast-forward to 2021, and Peter spotted the bike again — and it was for sale.
“The bike had been sold by Gowanloch to a Ducati enthusiast in Melbourne. He had obviously used it sparingly and treated it very kindly, and had also gone back to Gowanlochs to buy a complete set of fully restored red-and-green MHR bodywork, so it can be made back-to-original with a day in the shed.
“When the bike arrived at my place, I was amazed at its condition. It’s like a new bike.”
So what’s it like to ride?
“It’s glorious,” Peter says.
“It loves high-speed corners, it’s pretty quick, and it sounds magnificent. It’s also kickstart-only, and breathes unfiltered air through two big (40mm) Dellorto carburettors so you’ve got to pay attention when you’re starting her up!”
The Bike Shed Times Capel River Classic Show and Shine will be held on Saturday 25th June at 1688 Goodwood Road, Capel River, about 2.5 hours south of Perth in Western Australia. The event will display about 70 classic bikes, all 30 years old or more, vying for trophies in eight classes plus a People’s Choice award and judges’ Best In Show. Spectator entry is free, and there will be food and hot drinks on sale.
Click here for more details.