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Small and Dirty

This is the Regolarità, Ducati’s final 125 and two-stroke. In 1975 Pat Slinn was service manager for the UK importers and was asked by the factory’s director Cristiano de Eccher if he would ride one in the ISDT (International Six Day Trial) on the Isle of Man that autumn. Pat had ridden off-road for years, winning three gold medals in ISDTs and even raced alongside Steve McQueen. So Pat tried the 125 in a couple of UK events with some success, including winning the guest/expert cup at the British Army championship. It was game on for the ISDT. The Regolarità was very different (and harder) to race than the big four-strokes Pat was used to. The state of tune meant it wasn’t an easy starter, and needed a big handful of throttle just to pull away. Although (for a 125) there was good power it was in completely the wrong place for an enduro bike. Muddy and boggy hills had to be taken almost flat out to keep the motor within its narrow power band, although the handling was very good, especially the Marzocchi suspension. It was also a very thirsty little motorcycle and Pat had to carry extra fuel strapped to the rear of the bike. During the ISDT on the Isle of Man the bike ran perfectly for three days, with Pat on course for a gold medal. But on day four - absolutely flat out in top gear along a rocky moorland track - the motor seized. The next thing that Pat remembers was looking up at a pale green ceiling convinced he was in heaven. After what seemed like ages he heard a nurse say "Oh, you're awake!" The bike wasn’t too badly damaged but it seemed the big end bearing had broken up, although there was plenty of lubricant on the bearing. Ducati sent a new crankshaft assembly and Pat continued to use the Regolarita in enduros for a couple of seasons. Sometime during 1978 he sold the bike to finance a growing family. Sadly the Regolarità flopped in the showrooms as did the later Six Days. It was to be Ducati’s last 125 and last two-stroke although the bottom end had been designed so that it could be reinvented as a four-stroke. Fabio Taglioni always followed his own path. The full story with photo by Phil Aynsley is in Benzina 5

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