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My Ducati is a 1971 250 Desmo. I bought it from BJ’s Bikes & Bits in September 2002 who were selling it on behalf of the estate of the late Arthur Wheeler.

Arthur Wheeler was a well known English racer and motorcycle dealer who in his later years regularly came to Australia to race in historic meetings, mainly at Lakeside, Eastern Creek, and Phillip Island I was told.

Apparently he kept the Ducati here for his visits and it was looked after by friends between visits. There are some interesting articles on Arthur in back issues of “The Classic Motorcycle” including some references to this bike.

In 2005 I had to strip and rebuild the engine after discovering metal filings in the oil. Thank goodness someone in the club had recommended changing the oil after every meeting as this prevented serious damage. A tooth was chipped on the top bevel and after buying the necessary parts I put it back together. The engine is relatively standard except for a Monza piston, 32mm Mk 2 Amal carb, no valve springs, and no external flywheel. It has total loss points ignition.

The bike has proved very reliable and while I don’t get to ride that often it requires very little maintenance. These engines are set up with shims through out and club members advised me to pay particular attention to this with the rebuild. Again it was good advice as so far it has hung together very well. Removing the valve springs on these little Desmo engines has no detrimental effect for racing and means that if you shim the valve clearances properly you virtually never need to adjust the valves.

Removing the flywheel has improved engine acceleration but the Amal tends to want to run rich. The front brake is Ducati’s double sided brake used just before they switched to a disc up front on their singles. It works very well.

Plans for the future are to fit a Mikuni carb, high exhaust, bikini fairing,self generating ignition and better tyres than the TT100’s. While not particularly quick compared to other bikes in period 4 these handle well and are just fun to ride.

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