One of the strangest episodes in Ducati racing history took place in Australia in 1975. At the time, production racing Down Under was dominated by Kawasaki Z1s. So Ducati’s Australian importer created an ‘860SS,’ a machine custom-built to win at Bathurst, Australia’s most famous racetrack. Looking for all the world like a regular 750SS, it was packed with higher-performance parts including Imola-spec cams and a close-ratio ‘box.
Ridden by Kenny Blake, the 860SS did its duty and beat the Japanese machines. Blake became a local hero, and Ducati’s street-cred went up a notch. But then came the protests; after all, it was supposed to be a ‘production class.’ And there was no sign of any road-going 860SS.
The importer started advertising a streetable 860, and the factory confirmed to the race organizers that roadgoing machines were on the way from Italy. But when the 900 SuperSport eventually arrived, it bore little relation to Blake’s race-winning 860SS. Luckily for Ducati, the fuss had died down by that time, and the ink had dried on the record books.
This machine is a replica of the 860SS, built by one of Australia’s top Ducati specialists, Tony Hannagan of Beveltech. Five years in the making and built for a Dutch collector, it’s running high compression pistons and has a capacity of 905cc. The engine also boasts 60-degree heads developed by tuner Brook Henry, and a heavily modified crankshaft.
A few days ago, Hannagan took the replica to the 860SS’ spiritual home, and photographer Phil Aynsley recorded the occasion. What would you give to do a lap of Bathurst on this lovely machine?
Head over to the Bike EXIF Archives for more of BevelTech’s beautiful custom Ducatis.