DU­CATI EN­DURANCE RAC­ERS

Du­cati’s beau­ti­ful rac­ers-with-lights were thrashed for 24 hours to prove V-twin tech­nol­ogy could sur­vive and to im­prove bikes for road rid­ers

Classic Bike (UK) - - Contents - WORDS BY HAMISH COOPER. PHO­TOS BY PHIL AYNSLEY

The story of Bologna V-twin de­vel­op­ment in three Mon­tjuic 24-hour race win­ners

Du­cati has al­ways based its sports bike sales on rac­ing suc­cess – and of­ten in classes that road rid­ers could most re­late to. From the 1950s un­til World Su­per­bikes came along in the late 1980s, en­durance rac­ing was the big driver of road bike sales. Th­ese long-dis­tance marathons be­came week­end par­ties for fans and a huge mar­ket­ing op­por­tu­nity for the fac­to­ries. One of the most glam­orous and ex­cit­ing was Spain’s 24 Hours of Mon­tjuic, held on a road cir­cuit cre­ated in a wooded park over­look­ing Barcelona’s har­bour.

In the 1950s and ’60s Du­cati had re­lied on its range of sin­gle-cylin­der mod­els to win races. When the 1970s rolled around, the fac­tory tweaked this tech­nol­ogy into a range of bevel-drive V-twin ma­chines. Fol­low­ing that, in the 1980s, smaller but more pow­er­ful and nim­ble mod­els con­tin­ued Du­cati’s win­ning ways. The com­mon link was that the lessons learnt from com­pet­ing in long-dis­tance events were used to de­velop the pro­duc­tion mod­els. Rac­ing was all about re­search and de­vel­op­ment.

Here we look at three mile­stone mo­tor­cy­cles that won the chal­leng­ing Mon­tjuic clas­sic in 1975, 1980 and ’84. Many fea­tures on th­ese rac­ers were copied by road rid­ers in both decades. No won­der there’s some­thing about an en­durance racer that stirs the blood.

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