The story of the world title won by Mike Hailwood on the Isle of Man in 1978 with the Ducati 900 SS is one of the legends of racing history. In 1974 the British rider had practically brought his career to a close after a terrible accident in Germany.
At Silverstone in 1977, however, he met Steve Wynne of Sport Motor Cycles Ltd. in Manchester. Wynne let Hailwood try out a Ducati he had prepared. The English champion enjoyed the classic riding position. Jokingly, he offered to race it in the Isle of Man TT next year. They came to an agreement. Mike even wanted to race under a pseudonym, so unsure was he of his chances. Nevertheless, a contract was quickly drawn up: £1,000 for the event and a new Ducati in his garage.
Wynne bought three bikes from Ducati out of a small batch of twenty 900s, specially prepared for endurance races. Created at Ducati, and as always, worked on by its best mechanics, the bikes were then assembled by NCR.
The bike reached 87 hp which was somewhat underpowered compared with Read’s official 4-cylinder Honda, built just to win the TT1 world championships. On the other hand, Hailwood was in the saddle. After a truly sensational contest, he won both race and title, repeating it all a week later at Mallory Park, and once again beating the Japanese competition.