A brief biography




2nd April 1940 - 23rd March 1981

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.

In 1978, after an eleven year retirement from bikes, he made a fairytale 'comeback' to win another Isle of Man T.T. and with it, his 10th World Championship. Following a car accident near Birmingham, England in which his nine year old daughter Michelle was killed instantly; Mike and David were taken to hospital, where Mike died two days later on 23rd March 1981.

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 motorcycle 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.

 

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