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Showcase cover image for Racing Ducati Singles  - A Blast from the Past

General Information

Year
1960 Barconi ( Barge) Crankcase
Make
Ducati
Model
125cc TOHC Desmo Single ex Works - Frm/ Engine No - D1.......6 Speed - Cassette Type
Color
Works Mett Bue Frame / Silver// White Tank & Fairing
Packages
none
History
Where do i start ? 1960 - ON
The Bike was my 1st Racer in England back in the 1960s aged17, having had a 125 Monza from being 15.
Back then in England there was absolutely nothing British made that even compared, all the way up to 250cc. If you wanted performance coupled to great looks Italy was the place to be looking & that how my love affair 1st started with Ducati. I had previously been racing my self tuned Monza since 16, along with an older group of keen racers, but more experienced, who i owed a great deal for advise & help, who like myself all had an Engineering Background which would count for so much.
After being ferried around the short circuits in England to race my Monza for best part of a year, i felt that i needed something a little faster if i wanted to win, but it had to be a Duke, which led me to the local importer of purely Racers in the UK - Bill Smith in Chester, an old hand at competing in the IOM TT. When i told him what i was looking for, plus what i had in exchange, he told me that he thought he had the very thing an ex GP 125 Desmo Single, that he had acquired via Kings of Oxford in late 1961, a National Chain of Motorcycle Retailers
The bike came with a whole list of spares. sprockets, pistons, valves ect, but without any technical instructions at all, but he was able to tell me which type of oil it must always use, which was Castrol CasterType R 20s monograde & never 30s or 40s ( Which was the most expensive of all of the 3 diff grades ) & upon start up, it must be fully warmed up before use ! Bill took my other 125 in exchange & i paid £150 from my savings for the Desmo.................................. After charging the battery, the following week we took the bike .to Aintree nr Liverpool where every other Tuesday the Circuit was used for Race Bike Testing. i soon found it had 6 gears, not really knowing the power, but it seemed at its best at 13000 rpm & on the over run went as high as 17000 rpm, with a Grimeca in Front & an Oldani in the rear & far quicker than the 2 stroke Bultacos testing there. The proper Racing had yet to come with trips to Northern Ireland on proper closed road circuits.............. but in a nutshell i was really impressed & looking forward to using it in ANGER................... ! In the meantime i did some research into the bikes previous History which proved very interesting,,,,,,,, Bill Smith had told me that it originally came via Kings of Oxford, so i started there. On speaking to the main dealership in Oxford i was amazed when they told me who actually owned all of the Dealerships in the UK - a Mr Stan Hailwood the father of Mike Hailwood one of Englands Top Motorcycle Racers at the time and being fully sponsored by him personally............... When i explained my reason for the phone call, they very kindly gave me another Tel Number in Oxford to ring....... When i did call i was amazed again that i was indeed speaking to him. I explained the reason for my call regarding the Ducati. He put me on hold for a few minutes & when he came back he asked me what the Frame Number etc actually was........... When i told him it was D1, he went on to tell me it was one of Mikes Ducati's that he raced in 1960 & that it was one of only an handful made by the Race Dept at Ducati in Bologna. It had proved successful in Mikes hand with a number of wins to his credit in1960 including one G.P WIN in Spain. He had now moved up to other Classes & would not be racing in the 125cc Class again. ............ I asked him regarding any Technical information for the bike........... He went on to say. No there was none, as it was maintained by the Factory themselves, which was included when it was purchased by him for Mike, but gave me a name of someone at Ducati to speak to who would help - a Mr Farne
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Comments

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Premium Member
Joined
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271 Posts
Continued ! from ABOVE
When i spoke to Ducati & asked for Mr Farne, he was unavailable, so i explained my problem regarding Technical info for my ex works bike, giving them in detail what it was with its specification etc. They said my enquiry would be passed on to the Racing Department & asked for all my contact details in England for them to deal with.
2 weeks later i received a large packet from Italy only to discover it was a large Workshop Manual for Ducati's Range of their normal Road Motorcycles......................... So in a nutshell i was no nearer. My only way forward was to fully maintain it myself & by doing that i would achieve an understanding of Tagloni's . Desmodromic principle of Valve Operation. - 1 inlet opening Cam - 1 exhaust opening Cam & the central 2 Closing Cams on Morse tapers for both Inlet & Exhaust using Hollow instead of Solid Construction, because the Forces acting on them would be at a minimal, due to no Hairpin Valve Springs being used'
My 4th event was in N Ireland at the Tandragee 100 ,a 5mile temporary Road Circuit after hav9ng road closure for 2 days for the event- Made up mainly of Irish Riders on Bultaco 2 strokes or tuned up 200cc Triumph Cubs illegally running on Dope ( Methanol ) & running on stupid C.Rs - There was no timed practice - Grid positions were taken by picking a position number out of this Irishmans Flat Cap......... The circuit itself was pretty straight forward with the usual natural Hazards, but the road surface was atrocious in parts with pot holes and Cow claps to contend with from plain wear and tear, but HEY this is Ireland & not back in England, where things were a bit more organised & the use of bigger engine sizes more controlled............. Starting from the 3rd row of the grid, i was able to get a flyer from the mass BUMP start & lay 3rd by the 1st series of corners, the bikes in front running on Dope, because i could smell a distance away, as well as a burning type smell from in front....................... To Sum it up i came 2nd at the finish to some Irish loon on his big engined Triumph, but what the heck, the other Bandit Engined whatever EXPLODED on lap 3 of 5............. So all in all i was happy with my 10quid prize money, because i knew legally i had won the Race
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Premium Member
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271 Posts
My four mates older than me, at Oulton Park, my Local circuit in 1962. We all lived in the same town in NW England & were all Engineers L - R........... Kevin Wilkinson - 125cc Ducati DOHC Grand Prix.......... Pete Wareing - 200cc Ducati Elite.......... George Fogarty.. Father of Carl - Ducati World Superbike Champ in later years !
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- 500cc Manx Norton.......... & Steve Woods - 250cc TSS Bultaco,............ i owed these guys so much for their help & advice in my early Ducati bike racing days------------ The Bike Club that ran all the Races at Oulton Park were the WIRRAL 100 who were great to deal with as any Entries in the the UK for future events were sent to them who then forwarded them on to you. The only proviso was to Enter if possible under their name, because they ran their own Championship too.
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