Staff bikes: Ducati 848 Challenge Racer – showroom to race ready in 24 hrs

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Wednesday 2pm, this shiny red Ducati 848 was sitting innocently in Moto Rapido Ducati’s showroom in Winchester. One short day later and it’s been transformed into a race bike, ready for round one of the Ducati 848 Challenge at Silverstone on Sunday.

This is going to be my race bike for 2010 in a new team, which is a collaboration between award-winning dealers Ducati Glasgow and Moto Rapido Ducati in Winchester.

As is mostly the case in the racing world, things tend to happen at the eleventh hour, but Moto Rapido run Scott Smart and Leon Hunt in the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Championship, so they know how to build Ducati race bike, although they’ve never built one this quickly from a standard machine.

With the 848 Challenge rule book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other Moto Rapido owner Wilf oversaw the work, which was done in double quick time by Scott Smart’s chief technician, Zane…on his day off…on his birthday. Hats off to the fella!

With all the road gear stripped off, the 848 has been rebuilt with a new Ohlins rear shock and forks internals, rearsets, a quick-action throttle, ride height adjuster, racing brake fluid and brake pads, race switchgear, handlebars and grips, catch tank, R&G crash protectors, internal fuel tank foam, race filler cap, screen, racing fasteners, carbon swingarm cover and new graphics from Key2 for the bodywork pinched from the very Ducati 1198S Scott Smart rode to a brilliant 5th place at last week’s Thruxton Superstock 1000 round.

It’s now all ready to go and sitting on its very sticky Dunlop Sportmax GP Racer D211 tyres, which is the control rubber for the series.

I pick it up from Moto Rapido tomorrow, then hot-foot it straight to Silverstone ready for Sunday’s race.

It hasn’t even been run in yet, so I’ll have to spend some of practice bedding everything in (although onlookers may not notice the speed difference between my flat-out-trying and running in…).

So, Sunday’s race is going to be a baptism of fire - new bike, new track and new competition. Check out my race report on Monday.

Further reading:
Staff bike blogs | Ducati 848 blog


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Michael Neeves

By Michael Neeves

MCN Chief Road Tester, club racer, airmiles millionaire.