One of the most famous racing motorcycles of all time, Mike Hailwood’s iconic 1978 TT winning Ducati, is to be recreated.
Just 12 of the handmade Vee Two Hailwood bikes, dubbed The Ritorno or The Return, will be built. Approved by Ducati and endorsed by the Hailwood Foundation, each owner will receive a personalized congratulatory letter from Pauline Hailwood. Photographs of the Ducati taken at the Isle of Man in June 1978 were used to recreate the bodywork and overall appearance, while sponsor’s stickers were remade and applied in exactly the same positions as on the original racer. There’s even a split open tennis ball taped to the fairing, identical to one fitted by Hailwood to hold a damp cloth to wipe insects off his visor and a period Girling brake fluid tin used as a breather tank. The chassis is a carefully researched correct duplicate with either newly manufactured or fully re-conditioned original components. The gold wheels were made by Campagnolo and made using the original 1978 design drawings.
The hand-built engine is a recreation of a factory prototype bevel drive mill that was never put into production. Brook Henry from builders Vee Two has acquired the original casting patterns and factory drawings to build an engine identical to that fitted to the Sports Motorcycles Ducati. Brook Henry said: “It has always been my dream to build this bike, but it has not been possible without Ritorno. I have worked hard to make it identical externally to the 1978 engine, but it is thoroughly-modern inside, with the latest technology and materials giving 89hp performance.”
At his workshop in Western Australia Brook Henry designs, develops and manufactures upgraded gearboxes, big ends, camshafts, pistons etc. In fact, he makes virtually every part old bevels need to keep their hearts beating. By an incredible stroke of good fortune Brook acquired the original casting patterns and the original drawings to recreate the engine. When the engines are completed and tested Brook takes them to Los Angeles where he supervises the assembly of each bike. The first Ritorno bike made its debut at the Classic TT where John McGuinness rode a parade lap accompanied by Mike’s son David. Each replica will cost the new owner £110,000.