DRIVERS: MIKE HAILWOOD

Name: Mike Hailwood
Nationality: Great Britain
Date of birth: April 2, 1940 - Great Milton Birmingham
Date of death: March 23, 1981 - Birmingham

One of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time, "Mike the Bike" became a top level motor racing star in the early 1970s.

Hailwood won a total of 10 World Championships in motorcycle racing, including five consecutive 500cc titles for the MV Agusta company. He also won three 250cc titles and two 350cc titles with Honda.

He first tried his hand in F1 in 1963 driving a Reg Parnell-run Lotus and reappeared on occasion in 1964 and 1965 before concentrating on bikes. It was only after his riding career ended that he decided to become a serious car racer. His first major victory came in 1969 in Formula 5000 at Brands Hatch.

Towards the end of 1971 John Surtees gave him another chance in F1 with a third car and in 1972 he raced in F1 and F2 for Surtees, winning the European F2 Championship and having several promising performances in F1 including battling for the lead in South Africa with Jackie Stewart until he retired with a rear suspension failure. The following year he won the George Medal for bravery for rescuing Clay Regazzoni from the burning wreckage of his car at the South African Grand Prix but the rest of the year proved to be frustrating although he shared victory with Derek Bell in the Spa 1000 in a Mirage-Ford sports car.

For the 1974 season he moved to McLaren, driving a third car in Yardley colours until a big accident at the Nurburging in August when he lost control of the car after the Pflanzgarten jump and crashed heavily, breaking his leg badly. The accident ended his motor racing career but in 1978 he made a sensational return to bike racing to win the Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man on a Ducati. The following year he won the Senior TT riding a 500cc Suzuki.

He then retired from racing but in March 1981 he was killed in a road accident with his daughter Michelle when their car was in collision with a truck while they were going out to collect some fish and chips, near their home in England.

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