In 1978, the now legendary Mike Hailwood piloted a Ducati 900 around the Isle of Man, winning the TT despite retiring from Grand Prix Motorcycle racing some 11 years earlier.
A staggering achievement at the best of times. Hailwood had won the TT 12 times previously including a hat-trick in 1961 but after retiring had started a short stint as a Formula 1 driver before a badly broken leg terminated his efforts in 1974 and he moved to New Zealand to start a boat business. Over the next few years, he would try his hand in a number of small scale events.
Finding himself struggling to fit in and still with the racing bug at heart, ‘Mike the Bike’ agreed a big-money deal to return. There was much scepticism and doubt about his return amongst the excitement of the fans, with many assuming he would only tarnish his glowing record.
Hailwood had ordered three Ducati 900s through the UK importer. Each with modifications to allow him to ride more easily, changing gear with his left leg instead of his right after his Formula 1 accident some years earlier. Despite the oddsmakers lack of support, Hailwood immediately got to grips with the far newer bike. His very first lap was his fastest-ever lap of the course with an average speed of 110mph across the daunting 37-mile course. Whilst others somewhat timidly approached the event putting reliability and caution in front, Mike took the win.
The Ducati MH900e (Mark Hailwood 900 Evoluzione) was produced between 2001 and 2002 in a limited production run of just 2,000 units in homage to Hailwood’s performance at the TT in 1978. In a world-first, the bike was sold directly to the consumer via the Ducati website, with the first available batch of 1,000 bikes selling out in just 31 minutes. They were sold to 20 different countries with 30% in Europe, 30% to American and 39% to Japan.
Whilst production was due to be outsourced to Bimota, the companies demise lead to production occurring in-house. Each bike was hand-built at the Bologna factory with just 4-5 completed each day.
Powered by the venerable Supersport 904cc air-cooled L-Twin engine, the MH900e produces 75 hp and is paired to the lower gearing from Ducati’s Monster. Plenty of torque and fantastic noises that you’d expect from a Ducati to boot.
This bike has remained with its original owner until now residing in his house as an art piece and has as such covered 15km. The bike was imported into the UK in January 2020 and is currently undergoing UK registration. The bike has visited Ducati for a full service and new tyres and is now ready to be viewed at our showrooms just outside London.