|Motorcycle Grand Prix Career|
|Active years||1958 - 1967|
|Team(s)||Honda, MV Agusta|
|Championships||250cc - 1961, 1966, 1967 350cc - 1966, 1967. 500cc -1962,1963,1964,1965.|
|First Grand Prix||1958 250cc Isle of Man TT|
|First win||1959 125cc Ulster Grand Prix|
|Last win||1967 350cc Japanese Grand Prix|
|Last Grand Prix||1967 350cc Japanese Grand Prix|
Stanley Michael Bailey Hailwood MBE (April 2 1940 – March 23 1981) was a British Grand Prix motorcycle road racer regarded by many as possibly the greatest racer of all time. He was known as Mike "The Bike" because of his natural riding ability. Later in his career he went on to compete in Formula One auto racing, becoming one of the few men to compete at the Grand Prix level on motorcycles and in auto racing.
Mike Hailwood was born at Great Milton in Oxfordshire, His father, who also raced in the pre-World War II era, owned a large motorcycle distributorship and young Hailwood was raised in relative affluence. He began riding at an early age, starting on a minibike as a small boy. He learned to ride in an eight-acre field near his home and wore an oval track from the constant laps he rode on Sunday afternoons after church. He was educated at Pangbourne College, but left early and worked for a short time in the family business before his father sent him to work at Triumph motorcycles. He married Pauline Barbara Nash on 11 June, 1975 and had a son and a daughter.
Motorcycle Racing Career
Hailwood first raced on 22 April 1957, at Oulton Park. Barely 17, he finishing in 11th place, but was soon winning on a regular basis. By 1961, Hailwood was racing for a Japanese upstart factory named Honda. Riding a four-stroke, four-cylinder 250cc Honda, Hailwood won the 1961 250cc world championship. In 1962, Hailwood signed with MV Agusta and went on to become the first rider to win four consecutive 500cc World Championships. After his success with MV Agusta, Hailwood went back to Honda and won four more world titles in 1966 and 1967 in the 250cc and 350cc categories.
Hailwood is perhaps best known for his accomplishment at the renowned Isle of Man TT. By 1967, he had won 12 times on the infamous island mountain course. He won what many historians consider to be the greatest Isle of Man race of all time, the 1967 Senior TT against his great rival, Giacomo Agostini.
In 1968, Honda pulled out of Grand Prix racing, but paid Hailwood not to ride in expectation of keeping him as its rider upon return to competition. But Hailwood would never return to motorcycle racing on a full-time basis, instead electing to pursue a career in auto racing.
Auto Racing Career
While he never attained the success in cars that he had on motorcycles, Hailwood became a respected driver in Formula One and World Sports Cars. He won the 1972 Formula Two world title and earned a podium finish at the 24 Hours of LeMans. He participated in 50 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting in the British Grand Prix on July 20, 1963. He achieved two podium finishes, and scored a total of 29 championship points. Hailwood earned the admiration of fans and fellow drivers when in the 1973 South African Grand Prix, Hailwood stopped his car on the circuit to pull Clay Regazzoni from his burning car after an accident, an act for which he was awarded the George Medal. He left Formula One after being injured at the 1974 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
In 1978, after an 11 year hiatus from motorcycling, Hailwood performed one of the most legendary comebacks in motor sports at the Isle of Man TT. Few observers believed the 38 year old would be competitive after such a long absence. Riding on a Ducati 900SS, he was not only competitive, but managed a hugely popular win. He raced the following year at the Isle of Man TT before retiring for good at the age of 39. He retired with 76 Grand Prix victories, 14 Isle of Man TT wins and 9 World Championships.
He was awarded the Segrave Trophy in 1979.
An annual "Mike Hailwood Memorial Run" takes place in March every year. The start point is the former Norton factory in Aston, Birmingham. The run goes out to Portway, where the accident occurred and then onto the church in Tanworth-in-Arden where Mike and Michelle are buried. 2006 is the 25th anniversary of this tragic accident. More details of the run can be found at www.madeinbirmingham.org
Motorcycle Grand Prix results
Complete Formula One results
(Note: grands prix in bold denote points scoring races.)
- 50 Years Of Moto Grand Prix (1st edition). Hazelton Publishing Ltd, 1999. ISBN 1-874557-83-7
- Motorcycle Hall of Fame
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography