BIG-TIME BEVEL-DRIVE DEVELOPMENTS
Months of develo p ment wa sp oured into this bike by NCR. Franco Farne, Mario Recchia and Piero Cavazzi were also key technicians on these endurance racers, although they were officially Ducati employees. So this really is the Ducati R&D department at peak revs, with NCR stretching the throttle cables.
Painstaking attention to detail increased power output but, crucially, retained reliability. The NCRS weighed 34kg less than Ducati’s production V-twins and often beat factory Honda and Kawasakis in endurance events.
With a full fairing fitted, Grau and youngster Virginio Ferrari won the 1000km race at Mugello that year – an important victory for Ducati on home soil.
By now the company had entered a golden period of racing, culminating in Mike Hailwood’s famous Isle of Man victory on June 2, 1978 on a 900cc Ducati. Mike’s bike, built to the new roadster-based TT Formula One specs, employed much of the technology developed in endurance racing.
The extent of Ducati’s development of the bevel engine was proven when the FIM introduced a Silhouette endurance class in 1978. NCR built the modified 900SS pictured here, which won the 1980 Montjuic classic outright. Entered by Ducati’s Spanish partner Mototrans, it was ridden by Jose Maria Mallol and Alejandro Tejedo. It was a tight victory, won by two laps against factory Honda and Kawasaki teams, but proved the undeniable performance of Ducati’s big V-twin.
Major parts on this bike, including the twointo-one exhaust, found their way onto roadgoing bevel V-twins via Ducati’s performance parts catalogue.
‘THIS MODIFIED 900SS WON THE ’80 MONTJUIC CLASS OUTRIGHT’
2-1 exhaust was offered for road bikes ABOVE: Super-slender across the beams in true Ducati style
BELOW: It beat factory Kawasaki and Honda teams