Ducati Museum honours 'Mike the Bike' Hailwood
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Borgo Panigale, Bologna - This is the first of what Ducati promises will be many themed temporary exhibitions at the factory museum, highlighting lesser-known aspects of the Ducati story and the people who have ridden them.
It brings together three amazing little Grand Prix machines built by the iconic Fabio Taglioni, only a few years after took over as chief designer and technical director of Ducati Meccanica in 1954 - a position he was to fill with distinction for 35 years.
Ducati 125 Desmo Twin 1958. Picture: Ducati Museum
But who they were for is even more important: The 125, 250 and 350cc Desmo Twins were built to order between 1958 and 1960, for an ex-racer and motorcycle dealer named Stanley Hailwood, to be ridden by his shy teenage son Michael, who the ebullient Hailwood senior reckoned had the potential to be a world-class racer.
Two decades later, when “Mike the Bike” Hailwood, with nine world championships and 37 Grand Prix wins to his name, came out of retirement to win the 1978 Formula 1 TT on a Ducati 900SS, he acquired the status of a legend among Ducatisti - but few remember the jewel-like little bikes that gave him his first Grand Prix wins.
From left: Stan Hailwood, 'Mike the Bike' and factory mechanic Oscar Folesani with the 250 Desmo Twin. Picture: Ducati Museum
So here they are, on show together for the first time in many years under the banner “The Desmo Twins of young Hailwood” at the Ducati Museum until 15 September 2018, as part of its commemoration of that incredible against-the-odds TT win, 40 years ago this year.
Stan Hailwood would have loved it, we think; his son would would have said what he always did: “I’m just a bloke who rides bikes.” Respect.