I originally wrote this short story for Ride Oklahoma Magazine in January 2009 to go along with the cover photo.
The name Ducati evokes emotions in most motorcyclists. Like Harley Davidson, Ducati has a devoted group of fans that admire and adore the brand. It is more than just a brand of bikes – it is a lifestyle. For Ducati, that lifestyle is synonymous with speed.
Featured this month on the cover of Ride Oklahoma is Gerald Tims’ 1967 Ducati Mach 1/S at Hallett Raceway. This pristine example of the brand is quite unique and rare. “It is the most rare and valuable motorcycle I own” says Gerald Tims, owner of Performance Cycle in Bethany. “It was built specifically for racing and only a few exist today that I know of.” And Gerald should know. He owns over 100 old, rare motorcycles that are stored upstairs at his dealership and will soon be on display at his Seeba Station on Highway 66 east of Wellston.
This Formula III Ducati 250 was one of only a dozen made and imported by Berliner Motor Company (the U.S. importer for Ducati at the time) for racing purposes only. Not much is known about these bikes, since they were hand built and designed specifically for racing. Only 50 were made worldwide. The gears are all straight cut and narrowed for racing purposes. The external oil lines to and from the head are unique to the FIII’s. The engine produced 35 HP at 9,000 RPM – unheard of for the day – and powered this light motorcycle to approximately 135 mph.
This particular FIII was restored in 1973 using all of the original parts and tires were removed before racing. This was the last of the springhead racers. Estimated value is over $60,000. Not bad for a single cylinder, hand built racebike!