Tagged: Vintage Racing

1967 Ducati Mark 3 Vintage Racer

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike L Side

With all the laurels they’ve earned for wins on track and ink expended, or keys keyed, to express the love for the raucous bark of their v-twin motorcycles, it’s easy to forget that Ducati, like most manufacturers, got their start making single-cylinder motorcycles.

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike R Side Front

For much of the motorcycle’s history, they were practical, inexpensive transportation first, racing machines a distant second, and you can’t get much more simple and reliable than the good ol’ single-cylinder. “Thumpers” are simple to design and manufacture, have fewer moving parts to break or need adjustment, and can be made in a huge range of displacements. In addition, their torquey power delivery and strong, friendly character make them excellent tools for the street.

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike Dash

A small manufacturer couldn’t hope to compete in terms of sophistication with industrial giants like Honda, so Ducati stayed with forms of racing that played to their considerable strengths. While the Ducati Mark 3 may have been only a 250cc machine, the Diana Super Sport was the fastest 250 on the market at the time and could top “the ton” with relative ease. It did not feature Ducati’s now ubiquitous Desmo positive valve operation and used traditional springs, but it was a thoroughbred in every other way.

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike L Engine

This example has been fully prepped for the track and includes a metal belly pan, unusual dry clutch, and a four leading-shoe front drum brake from a period Suzuki for some improved stop to go with the engine’s uprated poke.

From the original eBay listing: 1967 Ducati Mark 3 250cc Vintage Racing Motorcycle

1967 Ducati A.H.R.M.A. legal in 250 GP and eligible to bump up to 350 GP class.
This bike has been developed over the past twenty years and last raced in 2013.
The frame is Ducati with custom fork crowns and Ceriani forks.
Rear shock mounts by the owner with Progressive Suspension Shocks.
The front brake is Suzuki 4LS and the rear brake is stock Ducati.
The engine uses a Euro Red crank, Arais piston, Megacycle cam, and Ducati rockers with light weight valves.
The dry clutch is from Italy. The crank has been balanced to minimize vibration.
The bike uses a total loss ignition with points and coil. It has a Scitsu tachometer.
Spares include sprockets, cables, pegs, shifter, levers, battery, and jets.

With just a single bid for $5,999 and the reserve not yet met, it’s unfortunate this bike hasn’t found a buyer yet, with three days to go. It seems like a great turnkey way to get into the vintage racing scene, something I’d really love to do myself.

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike L Grip

There’ve been a number of really neat vintage racing machines up for sale recently on eBay, track bikes and race-eligible machinery that looks well-prepared and ready to go. These seem like they’d be a good bet for a buyer: obviously used harder than many pampered street machines, the upside is that they’re owned by gearheads and racing requires certain minimum safety and therefore maintenance standards be met. If you’re trusting your life to something you’re going to be pushing to the limit, your standards for just what constitutes “safe” do tend to go up a bit…

1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike R Rear

In addition, my personal experience with bikes and cars is that, the more you use them, the better they work. Sitting collecting dust in a garage or showroom is bad for bikes: tires and hoses dry out and crack, gaskets weep, parts seize and rust…


1967 Ducati 250 Mark 3 Race Bike R Side


Back from Bonneville

You can see pictures on the internet and read peoples tails about the salt flats at Bonneville, but until you drive your rental car off the pavement and onto the salt the true size and expanse can never fully be understood. I finally understood Sunday morning as I followed everyone down the road to where the pavement ended and the salt began. You instantly know why this is the place where you come to go fast, you will run out of speed before you run out of salt.

I was invited to crew for Kevin Brooks, the Owner of Brooks Motor Works, who was racing 2 pre-1955 BMW’s. On Saturday he had raced down the salt in his 1955 BMW Sidecar at 94mph and was able to back that up on Sunday mornings return run and break his own record. The bad thing is that within the last 100 yards of his record run we found out later that the intake valve touched the piston and likely the exhaust valve, and with no back up cylinder heads, the sidecar would have to sit happy with a record.  But this allowed us to concentrate on getting the 1954 R68 replica up over 103 mph to increase Kevin’s own Vintage Production record.

As many of you know getting a carbureted motorcycle to go fast is not the easiest thing to do. It is made even more difficult when the rules in which the bike is running, Vintage Production Push-rod, says that the motorcycle must look exactly like it left the factory. So velocity stacks, open megaphone exhaust, clip-on bars and rear-sets are out. Changes that can be made: cam, high compression piston, and internal modifications to a stock carburetor. The secret to making these run fast together is always in getting the right combination of air and fuel into the motor. Because the salt are at a high altitude you never have enough air and running lean can kill.

The first couple of runs were hindered by the gear box that was filled with extra neutrals. Barbara, the fearless pilot and Kevin’s wife, was unable to get the transmission to cooperate. So after the first day of runs, it was time to switch to the back up gear box and go back at it.

Back out to the line-up it was time to change main jets and make a run. Not there yet. Back to the line-up, change the mail jets again, and out for another run. Not there yet. Back in the line-up, change the jets and go for another run. You see a pattern here? We all felt lucky because a BMW does not hide the carburetors under a gas tank, or behind plastic, so you only have to stand in the hot trailer for about 10 minutes.  

Because of this thing called work, I was only able to be out on the salt until Wednesday morning before my 12 hour drive home. When I left,  the bike was getting faster, but not yet over 100mph. For the rest of the week Kevin will be out there, on the Salt trying.

I recommend to everyone to try to get out to the salt. Better yet find someone who you can help go fast and get the second best view of the racing. So for those owners of 1955 or older Matchless G9, Norton ES2 or DB34 Gold Star (don’t try to sneak in a DBD head), I say get the safety wire out, and your leathers ready and go. It only takes money and time, which we all have lots of. BB