Historically significant motorcycles up for auction
By Mike Hanlon
April 18, 2011
The annual auction accompanying the International Classic MotorCycle Show (UK) next weekend will, as usual, see a number of historically significant motorcycles go under the hammer. Up for grabs, with estimates in brackets, include a genuine Factory Ducati 999 F03 superbike (GBP80,000) with 13 wins to its credit, Carl Fogarty's IOM Senior TT-winning 1989 Honda 750cc RC30 (GBP70,000), the sole factory prototype of the fully-enclosed 1955 Vincent 499cc Victor Series D single (GBP50,000), and the very last Norton Commando to come off the production line (GBP16,000).
The availability of motorcycles of such provenance almost guarantees a lifetime of capital appreciation, not to mention a potential race winner in period racing.
Ex-Xaus and ex-Haga 2003 Factory Ducati F03The winningest race bike in the auction is undoubtedly the 2003 Factory Ducati F03 superbike.
The Ducati F03 was the first superbike in the distinguished Ducati superbike lineage based on the 999 model with its new trellis frame, and the (104x58.8mm) 999cc motor producing 189bhp at 12,500rpm. It uses Öhlins suspension front and rear and weighs 164kgs (361lbs).
Only four were built – they finished first, second, third and fourth in the world championship that year with Reuben Xaus taking this bike to seven wins and second in the title with 386 points. His wins were at Misano (both races), Laguna Seca, Assen, Imola (both races) and Magny Cours. The next year (2004), it landed in the hands of Nitro Noriyuki Haga, scoring a further six wins and third in the title with 299 points behind two other almost identical Ducatis. Nori took wins at Oschersleben, Silverstone, Brands Hatch (both races) and Magny Cours.
This bike 13 world championship races at ten of the worlds best known racetracks racking up an amazing 685 world championship points in just two seasons. It comes with a letter from Ducat's Claudio Domenicali confirming its history.
At an estimated US$130,000, the bike's provenance seems greatly under appreciated. It's a genuine, original, winning superbike from the Ducati factory team in superb condition, and these rare beasties are almost solely the domain of museums and wealthy private collectors. The Bonhams catalogue entry for the F03 contains a lot more info.
Two other Ducatis previously owned by four-time World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty are expected to generate equal interest.
Ex-Fogarty, ex-Honda Britain 1989 Honda 750cc RC30Another race-winner to greet the hammer next weekend will be the the ex-Honda Britain 1989 Honda 750cc RC30 raced by Carl Fogarty to a win in Isle of Man F1 and Senior TT 22 years ago. In doing so, this RC30 (GBP70,000) became only the third motorcycle ever to break the magical 120 mph average speed around the infamously cruel Mountain Circuit, exceeding the magic number in practice. His Formula 1 win was the first big win in a career that included four world titles.
His second win on the bike was of great significance in motorcycling terms because of safety issues.
The IoM Tourist Trophy (TT) was the most important motor-cycle race in the world from its first running in 1907, until some time in the seventies when rising safety standards cost it FIM Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship status. An alternative world championship status was granted the Isle of Man TT Mountain circuit is the last bastion of motorcycling's really hard men. The marathon-length TT course runs on public roads over the top of a mountain, can boast several different climatic conditions simultaneously on different parts of the circuit and still regularly claims human souls.
The Senior race was held in fog and rain so foul that many seasoned racers simply pulled out mid-race. Fogarty increased his lead at almost every timing point to claim victory. Job done, the hardest of them all declared that what he had just done was so ridiculously dangerous that he wouldn't do it again. He did do it again, but that's another story (his 1992 outright lap record stood for seven years).
This bike was also the model for a Universal Hobbies' 1:12 scale model replica. It is refurbished to concours, the seat cowl is signed by Fogarty, and all the authenticating paperwork is there down to the engine data charts.
From where I stand, the bike is a particularly reasonably priced chunk of history, as is the sole factory prototype 1955 Vincent 499cc Victor Series D (estimated to sell for GBP40,000-50,000).
There are a couple of other significant ex-Fogarty Ducatis in the sale (Lot 425 and Lot 426) , but in terms of historical intrigue, ten time TT-winner Stanley Woods' personal collection of memorabilia, photographs, notebooks and helmets will hopefully not be broken up, but sold as one lot to a museum. If they'd had a world championship back then, Woods would have won quite a few as he was undoubtedly one of the most singularly determined and talented racers ever to turn a throttle. One very difficult to value motorcycle at the auction involves LOT 455, a 1977 Norton Commando Mk III Interstate which was the very last model ever manufactured by the world-renowned Norton marque and the last of 50,000 Commandos. The bike wears traditional Norton battle colors (silver tank with red and black pin stripes, as worn by the Manx Norton to countless victories in the hands of Duke, Surtees, Hailwood et al) has much to recommend it.
Hand-built by the Wolverhampton factory's works director, the late John Pedley, the bike was the last act of a Norton employee who had worked his way up from the shop floor he joined in his teens. It has just seven miles on the clock and is as perfect an example of an original Commando as has ever existed.