YOU’RE dressed like a racer. Your bike looks like a racer but somehow it’s just not enough to make you ride like Neil Hodgson when you’re on his replica. Fast, accurate and good looking it might be but there’s no hiding that beer belly or the lack of ability to ride the bike beyond its limits.
The bike’s a 996S so it’s pretty good to start with but its also got
It’s a 996S so as you might expect it’s a fantastic starting point and with the Hodgson rep you then get that funky GSE replica paint scheme, trick footrests, loads of carbon parts and a set of fat Termignoni cans and the rest of the system.
It sounds fantastic and goes as well as it sounds. It’s very much like a Ducati 996S but with even more urgency about it than a standard one helped by the new chip and cans. Ride it and you can’t help looking at yourself in the reflection of cars and shop windows if you can bare to ride it through town with the amount of noise it makes.
Out of town it’s stupidly fast and the handling is spot on. It gets a bit flighty on bumpy roads thanks partly to the race-spec Dunlop D207GP tyres but on smooth roads you can just turn it on and lean it in, a bit more, a bit more, go on it will take it.
The bike is the latest in the line of Ducatis to be built in honour of some of their greatest friends and racers. It follows the Senna 916s, the MH900e built in honour of Mike Hailwood and the Foggy rep 996 and Monster. All of those bikes were built in honour of world champions, so why the Hodgson replica?
Hodgson looks like becoming the new Foggy, just a look round at the orange flags and t-shirts at the Branda Hatch World Superbikes a few weeks ago only cements that theory.
The decision to produce the Hodgson GSE replica was made jointly by the Italian factory bosses and Ducati UK managing director Pier Paolo Guidi who had followed Hodgson’s racing career over the seasons.
The bike starts life as a stock Ducati 996s, you simply go down to your authorised Ducati dealer ship and place your order. According to Ducati UK’s Luke Plummer there will be no limit on the number of Ducati 996S Hodgson replicas built – but they will only be produced on orders placed this month (August).
The bike is sprayed with the GSE Racing paintscheme in the UK and the host of parts are fitted by the dealership to transform it in to what you see here. Outwardly the most eye catching feature (apart from the GSE replica paint and graphics and black painted wheels) will be the light weight Termignoni exhaust system with its twin Carbon end cans. Air box, fairing ducts and frame cover side panels will also be Carbon, as will the engine sprocket cover, number plate hanger and swingarm guard. A lightweight Carbon cover replaces the stock 996’s alloy clutch cover. The kit also comes with a rear set kit and a tinted screen. Engine modifications will be restricted to a re-mapped fuel and ignition EPROM.
The factory claim that matched with the race exhaust system the modification should allow the engine to produce between 5 – 10 bhp more than the stock 175mph 996’s 123 bhp.
Suspension components will remain as fitted to the donor 996S, which are more than up to the job - with its multi-adjustable 43mm Showa inverted forks matched with an Ohlins rear single shock – again with full adjustment for pre-load, compression and rebound. Ducati UK claims that the price for the Hodgson GSE replica will be £13500, which is only £1450 more expensive than the donor Ducati 996s. If you think that to spray a 996S in a similar paintscheme by a reputable sprayer would cost you around £800 that’s not too much to pay for this exclusive bike.
And if you can’t buy one you can still have the chance of owning the latest exclusive replica from the Ducati factory. The new MCN Sport magazine, on sale now, gives you the chance to win one of the Hodgson GSE replicas. And the winner will also receive a set of Axo boots, gloves and leathers as worn by Neil Hodgson.