|Recently a number of small firms in Europe have been producing replica racers, copies of both the G50 and Manx being available. As the co-founder of the CVRG (California Vintage Racing Group) in 1984, as well as a founding board member of AHRMA (American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association), I'm not one for replica racers, as I believe they should be banned from historic competition completely. A comment from a former G50 rider said at Daytona in '94... "There are more G50s here today than Matchless ever built". I know this will start some sort of argument, but... Why do I think they should be banned? Itís quite simple really, these machines are not "vintage" machines, but new machines built to look like those from another era. Also, the fatigue factor is gone, modern materials replacing those that were once suspect and/or caused problems with the machines when raced by both privateer and works riders alike. The pride that owners take in owning and racing the real thing has thus been removed. In the end, and it has been seen more than once, these "replica racers" are more likely to take a chance, pushing the engine further than a rider of an original machine, always knowing in the back of his head that it's only a replica. To have replicas take over the sport of historic racing from those machines that should really be out there is almost a crime in my eyes. As more replicas enter the racing grids, the original machines will be put away out of sight, and then we all lose.
Whether racing our little Ducatiís or building a customer machine we use as much as possible of the original machine, including bodywork in some cases, thus our WCBR-Ducatiís are real "vintage" racers. Okay, someone is out there saying... "No there not vintage racers, just old Ducatiís". But your wrong, as Ducati did build a number of racing singles, plus marketed production racers such as the Mach-1. Ducati singles have thus carried a number of riders up the ladder of fame in both Production and Grand Prix racing. With that said, the Ducati single has earned a place in historic racing on their own merits, whereas the replicas are getting a free ride. On the same note of sorts, in 1993 we were approached by an east coast customer requesting that we build a Ducati. At first he wasn't too sure what he wanted, but the frame he'd purchased would dictate that the machine would have a "widecase" engine. In the end we created a one off machine, one that should (and I believe can) run up front in AHRMAís pinnacle class, 500-Premier, racing against Team Obsoletes G50, or Barber Dairy's replica G50. The cost? Approximately half of a real Manx Norton or G50, possibly less. A replica? Of sorts, as we did copy one of the ex-works 450 Ducatiís that was at one time campaigned by Bruno Spaggiari, though in this case we would again build a bike from genuine "period" components, the frame being the only new piece used in the project. I have included this machine within these pages, it being the "LS500GPĒ WCBR-Ducati.. Below is the LS500GP machine in 1994.