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Motor Racing Legends: Mike Hailwood

Posted in Motor Racing Legends by Wheels Near U Team on the October 12th, 2007

Mike Hailwood Motorbike Racing Legend For this weeks instalment of Motor Racing Legends we turn our attention to the world of Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing. Our series will look at some of the better drivers, riders and motor racing legends to ever race. Mike Hailwood (Stanley Micheal Bailey Hailwood) was born April 2nd 1940 in Oxfordshire. Born into comfort Mike’s father owned a large motorcycle distributorship and himself used to race pre world war II.

Hailwood is considered by many to be one of the greatest racers of all time, with his natural motorbike riding ability quickly gaining him the nickname ‘Mike the Bike‘. But his racing skills did not just encompass 2 wheeled machines, he is one of the few men to compete at Grand Prix level on both Motorcycles and in Car Racing.

Riding motorbikes from an early age, he started on a minibike as a small boy. Practising his motorbike riding in an eight-acre field close to his residence he managed to wear an oval track from the consistent laps he had rode on Sunday afternoons after church.

Mike Hailwood’s Motor Racing career then got started in 1957 when he was 17 and by 1961 he had won the 250cc World Championship for then a Japanese upstart factory named Honda. He then went on to claim the following wins in Grand Prix World Championships: 250cc (1966 and 1967), 350cc (1966 and 1967), 500cc (1962, 1963, 1964, 1965 – 4 consecutive Wins!) He closed his Grand Prix Motorcycle career with 76 wins and 112 podium finishes in total. As well as these amazing totals he also won the Isle of Man TT Island Mountain Course 12 times including 3 consecutive wins in the 1961 TT.

Moving on to cars Mike Hailwood never really had the same level success as he had done on motorbikes, however his achievements are noteworthy: He won the 1972 Formula 2, and earned a podium finish at the 24 hour LeMans. It should also be noted that Mike won over the hearts of the fans when in 1973 in the South African Grand Prix he stopped mid circuit to pull out Clay Regazzoni from his burning car caused by an accident, for this he won the George Medal – the second highest gallantry award that a British civilian can be awarded.

Motor Racing Legend Mike HailwoodMike Hailwood made a comeback at the 1978 Isle of Man TT, re-retiring the next year with 76 Grand Prix victories, 14 Isle of Man TT wins and 9 World Championships.

Mike Hailwood OBE, GM is this weeks Motor Racing Legend of the Week. For more information and some great racing photographs click here to go to our Motor Racing Legend Gallery.

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  1. on October 19th, 2007 at 10:37 am

    […] motor racing legends of all time, we have already seen Stirling Moss the Formula One Champion and Mike Hailwood the Grand Prix Motorcycle Champion. Motor Racing Legends this week looks at Jimmy Clark, the […]