Ducati TT symposium at the 2017 Classic TT to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Tony Rutter’s first win on the Isle of Man aboard a Ducati TT2 and his son, Michael, racing a TT1 replica.
There can really only be one place for a Ducati TT2 and TT1 symposium: the Island that gave these race winning motorcycles their name. It will be 35 years since TT2s first raced – and won – at the Isle of Man TT so, between the 25th and 28th August 2017, fans of the TT2 and TT1 can join people who raced them both in era and today, and people who have spent years studying them. Guest of honour will be Pat Slinn who was Tony Rutter’s mechanic for each of his world championships, as well as being a member of the Mike Hailwood and Sports Motorcycle team.Based in a marquee between the paddock and TT course start line on Glencrutchery Road there will be opportunities to learn more of the TT2 and TT1’s racing history, and see some of these beautiful motorcycles both on and off the TT course. There will also be the chance of a guided coach tour of the TT course and to parade on the closed course. And, of course, to support the Ducatis racing in the Classic TT. Alex Sinclair will be competing on his Louigi Moto/Fox Racing TT1 (bottom photo by Sports Pics). Even more mouth-wateringly, Redfox Grinta will have Michael Rutter aboard their TT1. If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Isle of Man or the Classic TT, 2017 will be the year to do it.
Alongside the symposium and the racing, the 2017 Classic TT will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bob McIntyre recording the first 100mph lap of the 37¾ mile TT Course on his way to victory in the 1957 Senior TT Race. Michael Dunlop, fresh from the first sub 17-minute lap at this year’s TT, which he improved to a barely believable 133.962mph later in the week, will pay tribute to McIntyre’s achievement with a celebratory lap, complete with replica kit, on an identical dustbin faired Gilera, meticulously recreated by Kay Engineering.
August 2017 might seem a long time away, but the Isle of Man’s accommodation and transport needs to be booked well in advance, especially if you would like to bring a bike or be sure of staying with other members of the symposium. The aim is to make a block booking in a hotel within walking distance of the symposium’s marquee and to allow people to meet and eat together over the weekend. If you’d like to join in please register your interest as soon as possible, giving details of how and when you will be travelling (advice happily given) and if you would like to bring a bike.
And you might also want to pencil in the bank holiday weekend of 24-27 August 2018 when, on the 40th Anniversary of Mike Hailwood’s Formula 1 victory for Ducati, there will be an opportunity for 40 owners of Ducati Mike Hailwood Replicas to join in the celebrations.
More info: firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook Group Ducati and the TT
About the TT2 and TT1
In 1980 Ducati officially returned to racing, entering the Italian Junior Championship, also known as the TT2 class, with an uprated Pantah 500SL. The Federazione Motociclistica Italiana (FMI) introduced the Formula TT 1, 2 and 3 classes in 1980, adopting a very similar set of rules to the Isle of Man’s Formula 1, 2 and 3 World Championships. Initially Ducati’s racing Pantah used the kit that was available to anyone who could afford it, comprising engine and suspension upgrades along with alternative bodywork. But Ducati’s Fabio Taglioni appreciated the Pantah was a compromised road bike, designed for mass production as well as meeting the environmental demands of authorities worldwide. So he set about an almost complete redesign of the Pantah with only the engine (complete with electric starter as required by the FMI rules) to create a new racing Pantah that looked nothing like the original 500SL. This was the 1981 597cc TT2, named after the Italian series it was designed to compete in, and the new Ducati was immediately dominant, even against Bimota’s Kawasaki-powered, four cylinder, KB2 Laser. A TT2 sleeved to the Pantah’s original 499cc came 7th in the Mugello round of the 1981 500cc Italian Championship, only beaten by Suzuki RG500s and Yamaha TZ500s. The Ducati even beat the Honda NR500, the oval pistoned 32 valve V4, entered in the race to aid its development.
With Tony Rutter aboard the TT2 powered to four Formula 2 World Championships, and Tony was only beaten on the near identical 748cc TT1 on the Isle of Man by a brace of factory Honda RVF750s ridden by Joey Dunlop and Roger Marshall: bikes with over 120bhp compared to the TT1’s claimed 80. As late as 1986 Marco Lucchinelli won the opening round of the Formula 1 World Championship at Misano on a TT1. On the podium Taglioni was beaming at reporters.
"Write it well,” he told them; “to win two valves and two cylinders are enough!” Although it was now obvious to most observers that Ducati would need more than that to continue winning on the world stage, nobody contradicted the great man. Because, for five glorious years, a tiny factory in Bologna had built a bike that seemed as simple as sawdust but was cleverer than quantum physics when it came to racing. This is why the Ducati TT2 and TT1 are so revered by Ducati fans. They were Taglioni’s last stand and could beat motorcycles with a specification that suggested the little Ducati was on a hiding to nothing. Only 50 TT2s were built, plus perhaps as many as 13 TT1s and a handful of factory racers, yet the design was so good that replicas are still competitive in many classes of racing.