Monday, 1 July 2013

Mike “The Bike” Hailwood

Mike Hailwood was a popular British racer, racing in both Formula 1 motorcycles and cars.

Born in 1940, son of a motorcycle dealer and racer, Hailwood quickly learned the business. He also started racing motorcycles in 1957, and by 1958, he was winning races.

In 1961, racing for Honda, he actually won in 3 different classes of the Isle of Mann TT, all in the same weekend! He won the 250cc World Championship that year.

For 1962, he moved to MV Agusta, and won 4 consecutive 500cc World Championships.

Returning to Honda for 1966, he again won titles in both the 250cc and 350cc classes, repeating it again for 1967.

Honda stepped out of Grand Prix motorcycle racing for 1968, and paid Hailwood not to go to another team, hoping to have him back when they returned.

He instead took up automobile racing, starting in sports/GT, moving to Formula 2, where he earned the 1972 European title. He moved into Formula 1, but retired after being badly injured in major crash during the 1974 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.

He married Pauline Barbara Nash in 1975 and they had two children, a son David and daughter Michelle.

Pen&ink and paint markers on red archival stock
© Paul Chenard 2013

In 1978, a full 11 years after stopping, he returned to motorcycle racing in a stunning way, famously winning the Isle of Mann TT in a Ducati 900SS.

He retired completely from racing in 1979, and opened a motorcycle dealership. Tragically, the well-liked racer was killed with his daughter in a 1981 motor vehicle accident when a truck made an illegal turn and pull out in front of them.