Monday, 22 September 2014

Ducati's 1973 Pantah preview - 60 degree heads

The latest (September 2014) issue of Classic Bike magazine includes a piece I wrote on the corsa corte (short stroke) 750SS that Taglioni prepared for the 1973 Imola 200.  At least as interesting as the bike is the paperwork that came with it courtesy of John at Made in ItalyMotorcycles. This is a series of internal memos from Franco Farnè to Fabio Taglioni comparing the power of the old heads with an 80 degree included valve angle to the prototype 60 degree items: ultimately the latter gave an extra 8bhp, although only Spaggiari raced with them, Ducati perhaps hoping their favourite son would get the win he was cruelly denied in '72. It wasn't to be, thanks to Jarno Saarinen’s Yamaha taking advantage of a split race that killed his thirsty  'strokers theoretical disadvantage.

But what's intriguing is that the 60 degree heads then disappeared, until surfacing in the new Pantah 500. Bruno kept his bike, but the others dematerialised and the later "NCR" F1 racers (such as the one above, also sold by John) retained the 80 degree head to the end. You have to wonder how much faster Mike Hailwood would have been in 1978 with an extra 8 horsepower - almost 10% more than he actually had


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