April 2, 1940 - March 23, 1981
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS AT A
500cc:1962,1963, 1964 &1965
350cc: 1966 & 1967
250cc: 1961, 1966 & 1967
Considered to be the 'best motorcycle racer ever' by experts the world over,
Mike Hailwood is a legend to which others can only aspire to. He won his
first World Championship at the age of twenty one. He won nine World
Championships, 76 Grand Prix wins and fourteen T.T Races on the notoriously
dangerous Isle of Man course. He was revered for his outstanding talent and
versatility, he was a true sportsman, charismatic yet unassuming, he loved
music and had a huge sense of fun. In 1968 he was awarded the British Empire
Medal for his services to the sport.
When there was
nothing left to prove on two wheels, he turned to motor racing. In his first
full year of motor racing he finished third in the Formula 5000 Championship
and third in the famous 24 hour race at Le Mans. He went on to win the
Formula Two European Championship for the Surtees team, then moved into
Formula One. He was awarded The George Medal, Britain's highest award for
civilian bravery, for his heroic rescue of Clay Regazzoni who was trapped
and unconcious in his burning car after crashing in the 1973 South African
F1 Grand Prix. Standing in burning fuel tanks, Mike released the drivers
seat belts and tried to pull him free. Mike caught fire himself, he
extinguished his own flames, then went back into the fire for Clay. Mike's
Formula 1 career ended in 1974 whilst driving for the Mclaren team when he
sustained severe leg and foot injuries after crashing at Nurburgring. He had
been lying fourth in the World Championship.
Mike has been the subject of at least seven books, including the recently
published 'Mike Hailwood, A Motorcycle Legend' by Mick Woollett (Haynes). He
has also co-authored several reference books and is the most 'written about'
rider of all time. He has been voted 'Motorcyclist of the Millennium' by
leading motorcyle publications "Motor Cycle News" of
Britain and "Motociclismo" of Spain. Since July 2000 Mike was inducted into
the American Motorcyclist Association's Hall of Fame; The International
MotorSports Hall of Fame, and the prestigious MotoGP 'Legends' Hall of Fame.
Due to his illustrious career and achievements, Mike Hailwood remains
motorcycle racing's most durable and revered legend. He has been described
as the "Babe Ruth of motorcycle racing," "an icon of racing, just as James
Dean and Marilyn Monroe are icons of pop culture," and one hell of a guy.
In 1978, after an eleven year retirement from bikes, he made a fairytale
'comeback' on a Ducati to beat Phil Reed's Honda and win another Isle of Man
T.T. and with it, his 10th World Championship.
tragically with his nine year old daughter Michelle in a car accident
near Birmingham, England on March 23rd 1981.