> Fran McDermott's Ducati 750TT1


Fran and I have been racing his TT in the VRRA Vintage Endurance Series for the past 4 years.. To date, I think we have a third, two seconds (we lost one one by 14 seconds when one of the throttle cables broke 15 minutes from the end of the race) and a first. It's brilliant stuff and the grids are filling up each year with something like 39 bikes starting the event this past season.

The frame's a true large-section Verlicchi TT1 that Fran imported as a batch of 5 from Verlicchi in 1988 (over-run from last run of cantilever type endurance frames) and the rolling chassis is pretty close to what would have been used in the day. M1-R forks, Works shock, unobtainable wheels, an aluminum tank lovingly hand-formed by elves in the north of England, Dyna ignition and coils and (this year) a faithful replica exhaust in stainless by Overlander in Australia. 41mm Mallosi carbs.

Fran's pretty secretive about most things, and this motor's no exception. Under duress, he'll mumble something about Leoni heads, Carillo rods, BCM 11:1 pistons, straight-cut primary and cams that could probably only have been had in the 80's. The bottom-end is Allazurra and the bike (probably in the interest of mainshaft preservation) suffers from chronic clutch slip.

Amazingly, the TT was first endurance raced by Fran and co-rider Bruce Meyers in 1988 in a 6-hour at Shannonville. Although we gave it a break and ran my F1 in the Endurance Race this year, Fran managed 4th in fiercely contested Magill Masters and 4th in P3 with the very tired engine.

It's incredible to ride - seamless, intuitive and deceptively fast. Sounds like a small-block V8 and is completely addictive (hence my purchase of an F1).

It currently sports the last of my famous Canadian Tire rattle-can special paint jobs. I was actually getting pretty good at it, but usually found myslf applying the clear coat in my back yard two weeks before the 1st event of the year. Inevitably, every stray blade of grass, every winged insect and other airborn oddity would find its way onto the surface of the piece just as I stepped back to admire the last perfect application of laquer.

I'm officially retired from the rattle-can game.