Speedway is not an environment to which, at first glance, the name Ducati would be associated, but this has certainly not prevented the British Wreckless Motorcycles from creating a special for this discipline on a Ducati basis and, to be more precise, dedicated to the British Formula 1 hero Lewis Hamilton.
The mind behind this project is that of Rick Geall, founder and boss of the renowned Northamptonshire atelier, who decided to create this tribute to the Speedway world – which he particularly appreciated – after the death last year of 6-time New Zealander Ivan Mauger, of whom he was a big fan in his youth.
After recovering a 450cc Desmo single-cylinder from a vintage Ducati spare parts shop dating back to the 1970s and already modified “at the time” for racing, Geall and his staff set out in search of a chassis and swingarm dating back to the same period and suitable for their vision, removing them both from what, in the absence of specific documentation, they “assumed” was a Jawa 500.
While recognizing Mauger’s inspiration, with this project Gaell also wanted to pay homage to one of his current “idols”, the multiple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, to whom we owe the coloring borrowed from his Mercedes F1 (and skilfully crafted by JLF Designs) and the name “The H4MM4”, a pun between the term “hammer” and the traditional race number “44”.
The suitably overhauled engine has been combined with a new Amal TT carburettor and a handmade exhaust manifold ending in a tiny 900g Akrapovic slip-on, nominally intended for the Yamaha R3.
The racing fork is signed by Czech Stuha specialists and is connected to a handlebar from Italian Renthal “borrowed” from the KTM SX85, on which the Daytona Velona speedometer also takes its place. The rims were made specifically for this project by the British company SM Pro, which, true to the Speedway tradition, has created a 23″ spoked wheel for the front and a 19″ semi-lenticular wheel for the rear, both fitting Mitas-specific tyres.
Contrary to the Speedway tradition, instead, Wreckless Motorcycles decided to equip its “The H4MM4” with a rear brake, for which it chose a Beringer Aerotec caliper to be activated through a lever on the left side of the handlebar, integrated to the clutch control. Another exception to the Speedway standards is the presence of two rear shock absorbers, two Marzocchi MOTO C2R units, widely adjustable but originally designed for Mountain Bikes.
Strange as it may seem, this Ducati H4MM4 Speedway by Wreckless Motorcycles seems to us one of the most intriguing and original customizations of recent times. Well done Rick!