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Was Hailwood really that good?


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#1 Telbert

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 21:58

I know the thread title sounds like i'm trying to wind people up so perhaps i should try and explain.
 
Every time i hear any tv pundit label Valentino Rossi as the greatest of all time it makes me shudder. I've always considered Hailwood as so obviously superior that any comparison is laughable. Wins on a wide variety of machinery on a wide variety of circuits and a fairytale comeback put him miles ahead in my opinion but the thing is i never got to see Mike race so this impession is all based on articles in books and magazines and we all know how they can exaggerate things so my question is aimed at those fortunate enough to have actually seen Mike race back in the 60's.
 
Has Hailwood been hyped up in the same way that Rossi is? Was he as good we young whippersnappers are led to believe? In his early days didn't his dad always provide him with the best machinery, then when riding the MVs and Hondas wasn't he on far superior machinery to the oppositions Nortons, Matchless's etc. rather like Agostini was in the late 60's/early 70's. When Cooper beat Ago it was like David beating Goliath so was Hailwood ever beaten in similar circumstances? Was he head and shoulders better than the opposition or was he regularly beaten?


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#2 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 22:26

Agostini best ever.

 

:cool:



#3 GD66

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 23:03

Hi Telbert, I won't be involved in another of these cross-era futile attempted comparisons, but you should probably get stuck into books by 6-time world champion Jim Redman, and 8-time champ Phil Read who were both contemporaries of Hailwood, to get a perspective of the esteem in which he was held by his peers. Regarding the superiority of the MVs, Jim Redman on Honda beat Hailwood's MV four years in a row in the 350 title, but when they were both on Hondas Mike had the edge.

I agree Ago is great, but Jim Redman will proudly tell you that he was never beaten by Ago in a race they both finished.

So racing is racing, and stats don't tell the full story... :yawnface:



#4 fastfitter

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 23:22

Ahem

 

<-------------------

 

 ;)


Edited by fastfitter, 23 September 2013 - 23:23.


#5 GD66

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 23:53

Nice one ! :up:



#6 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 07:26

One of the daftest threads I've read in a while.



#7 Classicpics

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 19:56

If you are over 65 years old you will have watched, Mike Hailwood, Ago, Phil Read, Bob Mac, John Hartle and the other several hundred riders around from the 50's onward. Then you will know in your mind who was the best. Books do not tell the full story.

 

Forget this thread its a waste of time.



#8 roger9650

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 20:28

I agree it is impossible to objectively compare one era with another, but there is one salient fact. Today's MotoGP stars (with their bizarre 'Emperors New Clothes' leg waving) only ride one bike a day in one race.  I defy anyone who watched the World championship in the sixties to say today is better.

As for Mike, I remember one time in, I think 1968, when he and others turned up at Oulton on british singles and still won.

By the way if anyone thinks this is a poor thread, just have a look at the IOMTT forum these days!


Edited by roger9650, 24 September 2013 - 20:56.


#9 Telbert

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 20:58

Oh dear i obviously didn't manage to explain the meaning behind my question well enough for some as they seem to see it as some sort of attack so i'll try and rephrase things.

 

Books do not tell the whole story and sadly/fortunately i'm not over 65 years so i never got to see any racing in the 60's that's why i'm asking the question  :confused:

 

The first meeting i attended was 1972 so i did get to see Ago, Read, Saarinen etc and i know who i think was best (Saarinen by a mile) but my question was never about asking who was best it was asking if Hailwood was as good as the pundits would have me believe. Another thread on the forum about a meeting at Brands featuring Hailwood and Minter got me wondering just how regularly Hailwood was beaten. Perhaps i should have named the thread "Did you ever see Hailwood get beaten", then i might have got some sensible replies. Serves me right :rolleyes:  

 

Gd66 thanks for your reply. I never knew that Ago had never beaten Jim Redman. That's the sort of info i was hoping to hear  


Edited by Telbert, 24 September 2013 - 21:01.


#10 fastfitter

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 22:23

Apart from being a bloody nice bloke, one of the amazing things about SMBH by all accounts was his almost total lack of any technical knowledge. He just jumped on the bikes and went fast. Tales of not knowing how many gears a particular bike had - though that could have been his normal self deprecation. Most of the other 'greats' are/were much more involved in the set-up of the bikes even to the tune (see what I did there?) of working on them themselves.



#11 GD66

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 22:33

 

As for Mike, I remember one time in, I think 1968, when he and others turned up at Oulton on british singles and still won.

ighh.jpg

 

Don't worry about all the grumping Telbert, that subject is not a nerve to poke. But if you don't ask, you won't learn, and none of us on here haven't had someone tut-tutting us at some stage...  ;)


Edited by GD66, 24 September 2013 - 22:36.


#12 Tonka

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 22:41

Hailwood was aware of people claiming he only won because he was sponsored by the Bank of Dad (the millionaire) and then rode works bikes, which gave him a huge advantage.

 

After one IOM TT, which he'd won a couple of races, he bought an AJS 7R (or a Matchless G50) off a rider who'd finished around 15th in his race.  He had it cleaned up, but otherwise left alone, and took it to the Mallory Race of the Year, on the Sunday after the TT and won on it.

 

I once stood at the bottom of Paddock Bend, during the Hutchinson 100 weekend, when they reversed the circuit.  I watched Hailwood ride up on a 500 Honda that couldn't travel in a straight line.  The back wheel was bouncing all over the place.  It didn't stop him screwing the arse off it and winning by a mile.  When I hear current riders complain that they have had to alter their bike by 5mm here or there, to make it rideable - I can't help laughing.



#13 Paul Collins

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 21:43

I'm finding this thread of interest too, I just missed the Hailwood era, and was so wrapped up in my own racing that I also missed his comeback rides later.

 

But I have a theory on riders with wealthy parents, ok when I was scraping every penny together to fund my own racing I always prayed my old man would win the pools and buy me that RG that I yearned for and a nice big truck to put it in, but then I saw how the few lads who did have the bank of dad behind them were looked upon and I realised that it was in fact a poison chalice!!

 

This was because people's perception seemed to be that if you were winning absolutely everything, you were only winning because your old boy was buying you all the best kit, and if you weren't winning absolutely everything you must be cr*p because your old boy was buying you all the best kit!! so excuse the pun but the poor lads couldn't win either way.

 

I think Hailwood was one of the few who managed to shake off this perception and it seems to be generally agreed that he would have been just as good regardless of Stan's financial clout.


Edited by Paul Collins, 25 September 2013 - 23:27.


#14 Telbert

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 22:34

Thanks for the last few decent replies folks  :up:

 

Did anyone else manage to win on that ill handling 500 Honda or was Mike the only bloke that rode it?



#15 GD66

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 23:57

When it was introduced at the start of the 1966 season, Jim Redman won the first two GPs of the year at Hockenheim and Assen, then crashed in the wet in practice at Spa, badly breaking his arm and ending his career. Hailwood took over as the sole 500 pilot for 1966 and '67, then Honda retired. John Cooper was trialed as a potential team-mate but not signed.



#16 fastfitter

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 19:52

It was on show outside Coop's garage in Derby one day when I popped in for petrol, must have been 69 or 70 IIRC as I was on my *spit* Starfire



#17 Telbert

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 22:26

Blimey i never realised that Cooper was nearly a works Honda rider  :eek:  Any idea where he actually raced for them?



#18 GD66

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 22:51

Just tested I think, Alan Shepherd was another mentioned as a possible Honda rider. Shepherd I think crashed at a test in Japan, but neither he nor Cooper actually raced for Honda. Some years earlier, Shepherd was to join Hailwood as an MV rider but from memory missed a shift and jangled the valves and was dropped like a hot potato in spite of being entered at the TT. All a long time ago now, no doubt someone will come on and tidy up the loose ends.

Cooper really was very good and not just because of his Mallory Park win over the MV. I was sad to see some swine broke in and stole his most prized bikes a few years back, including his MCN Man of the Year Seeley Matchless.



#19 greg1953

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 07:09

I was at Mallory when Mike won on the Ducati in '78 and to say he was impressive would be an understatement, I was also present at the Race of the Year when Coop beat Ago and I seem to recall Mike raced there on a Seeley 500 but did not feature in the results ( please feel free to correct if I'm mistaken ) and these are the only times I got to see Mike .

Being a mad keen racing fan since I was 14, (now 60) I've seen most of the top riders but the one that sticks in my mind was Saarinen who I saw at Olivers Mount in '72.

Watching him through the start - finish, which in '72 was bumpier than a ploughed field, on a 350 Yamaha was unbelievable .

I don't think it's valid to compare riders from  other era's, it's a different sport now but it was definitely better for the spectators as we got to see the stars on several different machines at the big internationals in this country and abroad and as previously mentioned in this thread no-one at the top level rides more than one bike....such is progress. 

Greg



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#20 Telbert

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 10:08

Again it was never really my intention to compare riders from different eras, it was more about pundits hyping up riders as though they had never lost a race and it's easy to use Rossi as an example as the pundits are still doing it. If Rossi overtakes someone they go into raptures but if he is passed its nothing special. I'm not trying to knock Rossi. Its the way  pundits hype riders up and i simply wondered if Hailwood had been hyped up in the same way when the reality was that he was regularly beaten as that's not the impression they give.

 

It's interesting to hear a bit of praise for Cooper as whenever i saw him race he was nothing special which has sort of clouded my judgment but then again it may be because i saw him at places like Olivers Mount and Cadwell and he may not have liked those tracks? Did he really gel with the 2 strokes? Was he near the end of his career? :confused: 

I was probably too young at the time to know and was more dazzled by peolpe like Saarinen turning up and thrashing everyone.

 

After reading a few of the posts something that has struck me is how underrated Jim Redman is. When you see these (sort of pointless) greatest of all time lists he hardly gets a mention but he seems to have been more than a thorn in the sides of Hailwood and Agostini.



#21 fil2.8

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 12:11

I am not going into the debate on who was/is the greatest as we all have our own ideas , however , the issue of John Cooper and 2-smokes has been raised and the facts speak for themselves that on the 350 Yamsel he was a major force , a potential winner every time he was on the grid 



#22 Classicpics

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 19:26

mikehailwood1portrait.png

 

 

mike350mvdevils.png
 

mike350honda6.png
 
 
Sorry Telbert I thought you were just stirring up the older guys, like me. 
 
Yes he really was that good from being a skinny 18 year old he could ride anything fast. On the Ducati he'd lost none of it, as the men at the top of their game found out.
 
Sorry you never saw him. you missed the best. 
 
John


#23 Telbert

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 20:49

No problem John, i sort of brought it on myself with the title of the topic. I would have got to see him at the TT in 78 and 79 but i was taking my O levels and they seemed more important at the time. Not the best decision i ever made  :cry:



#24 greg1953

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 08:00

An impressive part of Mikes career must be his return after eleven years away, can you imagine anyone from the modern era making a successful comeback after such a period of time ? All the top riders of his era rode in two or three classes at the same meetings which no-one does that now, I'm not slagging todays stars as modern bikes take so much time to set up it would be an impossible task but it would be great if the GP & WSB riders attended the big internationals ( which no longer exist ) Daytona 200, Imola 200, Race of the Year, Race of the South, Post TT etc. Mike & co. did these events on full factory kit.

Many articles currently in the mags. mention dwindling crowds, try getting the stars to do more racing i.e. resurrect these events to their former status to give the public what they want, to see racing, I for one would go.

Greg



#25 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 09:37

.

Many articles currently in the mags. mention dwindling crowds, try getting the stars to do more racing i.e. resurrect these events to their former status to give the public what they want, to see racing, I for one would go.

 

My interest seems to have faded when there were no longer classes for 50, 125, 250, 350, 500, Unlimited and sidecars and Hailwood and others would often ride in four of those IN ONE AFTERNOON.

 

Telbert, Let me recommend to you three good books that no enthusaist should be without -

1. MIKE by Ted Macauley

2. JIM REDMAN - SIX TIMES WORLD CHAMPION

3. Mike Duff's autobiography (I can't recall the title)

 

The last book is quite exceptional.



#26 GD66

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 10:47

Book is entitled Make Haste, Slowly.



#27 fil2.8

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 11:51

 

.

Many articles currently in the mags. mention dwindling crowds, try getting the stars to do more racing i.e. resurrect these events to their former status to give the public what they want, to see racing, I for one would go.

 

My interest seems to have faded when there were no longer classes for 50, 125, 250, 350, 500, Unlimited and sidecars and Hailwood and others would often ride in four of those IN ONE AFTERNOON.

 

 

Plus , of course , the way the punters are treated now , pushed back further and further from the action , high fences offering very limited photo opportunities , it wasn't so long ago you could see virtually all of the short circuit at Brands from the startline grandstand , all the ' big ' circuits are to corporate minded , ----------- , thats really where they make the dosh , the cost of hiring a ' big ' circuit now is horrendous , I , for one enjoy the unfashionable circuits , Darley Moor , Aberdare , spring to mind , where the viewing , hospitality and pricing are second to none ( shame about the standard of food at Darley )   ;)

 

 

 



#28 knickerbrook

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 17:07

I copied the following text from a post I put on here a few years ago - and so was delighted this week to see GD66's picture of Read on the bike!

I have always been intrigued by a relatively unknown chap who bought a pair of bikes fromTom Kirby's stable - a 7R and G50 (pre-metisse models) around about 1969 time. He was an Austrian by the name of Christian Godetz, a garage owner I believe, who was living in Pontypridd (South Wales) at the time. He rode them once himself at a club meeting at Llandow, then disappeared from the radar. The same year (1969?) Phil Read borrowed the G50 from him to compete in a "clash of the titans" type single-cylinder race at Oulton Park against Mike Hailwood and John Cooper, who I think were both Seeley mounted. Out of interest I have Googled his name, but drew a blank. I wonder to this day, what became of those illustrious machines?
 

ighh.jpg

Now when we were waiting to board the ferry for the Classic TT last month, Phil Read was in the van just immediately in front of us and we struck up conversation. I asked him about this very race - and more to the point, about the bike. His rather curt reply threw me somewhat - "don't remember that, why would I want to borrow a bike? I've ridden so many bikes over the years!"

#29 exclubracer

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 22:43

 

 



 

.

 

 ( shame about the standard of food at Darley )   ;)

 

 

 

Campervan, Phil, campervan.  ;)

 

Or sandwiches.



#30 GD66

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 22:48

Hi Barry :wave:

 

That race was the Avon Gold Cup at the Daily Express-sponsored Oulton Park International, September 2nd 1968.

 

Phil's still up to speed on the tact and diplomacy, then... :eek:



#31 fil2.8

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 23:03

Campervan, Phil, campervan.  ;)

 

Or sandwiches.

wouldn't know , Mick , wasn't offered ....................................



#32 fil2.8

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 23:08

 

 

Phil's still up to speed on the tact and diplomacy, then... :eek:

 

 

Hi , Glenn , hope all is well , down under , tact and diplomacy ?? , nah , would sooner say things as I see , ta , but , do try to be respectable , mind



#33 knickerbrook

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 23:58

Hi , Glenn , hope all is well , down under , tact and diplomacy ?? , nah , would sooner say things as I see , ta , but , do try to be respectable , mind

Wires crossed maybe Phil?
I think Glen was referring to Phil Read's response to my chat with him about the G50!

#34 GD66

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 00:45

Yes, that's it, you never now what Lutonboy's going to come up with when he speaks...sometimes wonder if he knows himself ! Still a legend, lumps and all. 

 

Murf, saw a few pics of your 350G in the Island, looking good, you must be stoked ! One ripper in particular of Nigel R, can't recall where from though. Good stuff mate. :up:



#35 Robin127

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 01:08

Yes, that's it, you never now what Lutonboy's going to come up with when he speaks...sometimes wonder if he knows himself ! Still a legend, lumps and all.

 

 

Dave Roper told me a couple of stories a year or so ago.

 

When he and Jim Redman were riding the Team Obsolete bikes Redman told him that one time, he and Read were at a big International Classic meeting signing autographs, being basically the stars of the show.  Read said to him that if Hailwood were still alive no one would be interested in them.

 

Another one concerned the Classic Club Race of the year at Snetterton in the late 80's.  Roper was on the front row for the final of the Senior race, Read was racing and was expected to do well but hadn't quailfied too well and was several rows back.  The flag dropped and Read suddenly appeared alongside him and shouted c*** at him as he started his bike.


Edited by Robin127, 29 September 2013 - 01:09.


#36 Russell Burrows

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 10:57

In the early to mid sixties he was often beaten at Brit short circuits, but then so was everyone. 



#37 eman1948

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 15:56

Hailwood rode Mike Collins 500 seeley in the 1969 Race of the Year and finished 5th first single home.

 

Hailwood won the 61 TT on a single at an average speed of over 100 mph ( 6 Laps ) when doing just one 100 mph lap was an achievement and he was only 21.Nobody else achieved that in that

 

era.

 

John Cooper on his 350 air cooled Yamsel  ( I think it was 1970 ) was just about unbeatable and won 30 plus races that year.

 

I was at Snetterton 69 I think when John Cooper rode Hailwoods 500 Honda and Percy Tait and others were not happy as he was getting in the way in the corners ( to slow ) but left them in the dust on the straights.

 

A few snippets of information which I am sure I will be corrected on by the very knowledgeable posters on here..



#38 PaulMar

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 22:13

I copied the following text from a post I put on here a few years ago - and so was delighted this week to see GD66's picture of Read on the bike!

I have always been intrigued by a relatively unknown chap who bought a pair of bikes fromTom Kirby's stable - a 7R and G50 (pre-metisse models) around about 1969 time. He was an Austrian by the name of Christian Godetz, a garage owner I believe, who was living in Pontypridd (South Wales) at the time. He rode them once himself at a club meeting at Llandow, then disappeared from the radar. The same year (1969?) Phil Read borrowed the G50 from him to compete in a "clash of the titans" type single-cylinder race at Oulton Park against Mike Hailwood and John Cooper, who I think were both Seeley mounted. Out of interest I have Googled his name, but drew a blank. I wonder to this day, what became of those illustrious machines?
 
Now when we were waiting to board the ferry for the Classic TT last month, Phil Read was in the van just immediately in front of us and we struck up conversation. I asked him about this very race - and more to the point, about the bike. His rather curt reply threw me somewhat - "don't remember that, why would I want to borrow a bike? I've ridden so many bikes over the years!"

From personal experience in the 1970s "no surprise there"



#39 Telbert

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 20:49

Dave Roper told me a couple of stories a year or so ago.

 

When he and Jim Redman were riding the Team Obsolete bikes Redman told him that one time, he and Read were at a big International Classic meeting signing autographs, being basically the stars of the show.  Read said to him that if Hailwood were still alive no one would be interested in them.

 

I have to admit it does make me a little sad to see Phil Read at his stand signing autographs and trying to sell his merchandise at classic events. Any other rider with 8 world titles to their name would be worshiped but not The Prince of Speed.   

 



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#40 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:37

I heard that he wasn't well off and had resorted to dispatch riding to make ends meet. Perhaps multiple marriages and relationships and living above his means took it's toll?  I once approached him at a Goodwood Festival of Speed with a rather nice photo of him and Derek Minter rounding the hairpin at Brands, and with Derek's Norton going sideways. Derek had signed it some months earlier but had had a mysterious crash at Darley Moor (?) and had retired from riding under doctor's orders. Read's reaction was "Silly bugger! He'll kill himself if he doesn't retire!" Not said in a friendly way but a sneering way. My opinion of him dropped after that.



#41 fil2.8

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:51

 

 

Murf, saw a few pics of your 350G in the Island, looking good, you must be stoked ! One ripper in particular of Nigel R, can't recall where from though. Good stuff mate. :up:

 

 

Thanks , Glenn , there are quite a few piccies of Nigel and others on it on my facebook wall , if you want to look  :wave:



#42 greg1953

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 16:57

Just found this.. I was there , at the entrance to Gerards.

Greg

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=0LnNP7mw7XY



#43 RC162

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 18:55

I heard that he wasn't well off and had resorted to dispatch riding to make ends meet. Perhaps multiple marriages and relationships and living above his means took it's toll?  I once approached him at a Goodwood Festival of Speed with a rather nice photo of him and Derek Minter rounding the hairpin at Brands, and with Derek's Norton going sideways. Derek had signed it some months earlier but had had a mysterious crash at Darley Moor (?) and had retired from riding under doctor's orders. Read's reaction was "Silly bugger! He'll kill himself if he doesn't retire!" Not said in a friendly way but a sneering way. My opinion of him dropped after that.

 

I've met Phil Read twice in a situation where we could talk. The first was at Chimay in 2002 where he had just lumped some official so I wasn't expecting too much but I had taken a poster of the 1978 Honda model range which had on the other side a picture of Read on the Honda Britain during the first Formula One race at the TT in 1977.  Clearly it was run in very wet conditions and with Read winning the race on his return to the island.  When he saw the picture he was really chatty and gave me his take on the race and was kind enough to sign the poster to me.  The second occasion was in 2011 when he was a guest at the Trophees Gerard Jumeaux event.  We said hello and I asked him if he was riding but he was quite sharp in saying he hadn't got a mechanic so the bike ( Paton )  was staying in the van and that was it. So for me he's a bit rum but I admire his ability on a bike.



#44 GD66

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 22:44

Phil was out here in 2000 or 2001, didn't race in Perth but was demoing an MV F4 and spoke at a dinner the club ran. I was lucky enough to get an interview on-air, and again poolside where he was staying with a mate of mine videoing the chat. When we stopped for a break, my mate who had been quietly chortling away as he filmed, said, "Can you swap chairs ? His left knacker is hanging out of his swimming shorts !"

Phil was back in Australia the following summer to ride at Eastern Creek on Ray Berry's Manx, and Barry Sheene was racing as well. They hadn't met for a couple of years but the aggro was immediately apparent, and they seldom crossed paths during the weekend. However, where we all stayed at the Blacktown Travelodge, Phil spent the evening drinking, dining and bench racing with us all, shouted when it was his round and was great company. His outlook is often defensive and his replies can be tactless, even curt, but he still loves the sport, hankers for more progress in suspension and chassis design by the manufacturers, and still looks great on a race bike, with the straight back and relaxed style.

My most vivid memory from the weekend is from when all the riders were walking away from the pre-race riders meeting, when Phil spotted good old Arthur Wheeler, pushed through the throng to get to him, and put his arm round Arthur's shoulder, saying, "Bloody hell Arthur, it's fantastic to see you still riding : you're an inspiration to us all."

I think he's a good bloke at heart, just must have been away the day tact was handed out...



#45 fil2.8

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 23:04

Phil was out here in 2000 or 2001, didn't race in Perth but was demoing an MV F4 and spoke at a dinner the club ran. I was lucky enough to get an interview on-air, and again poolside where he was staying with a mate of mine videoing the chat. When we stopped for a break, my mate who had been quietly chortling away as he filmed, said, "Can you swap chairs ? His left knacker is hanging out of his swimming shorts !"

Phil was back in Australia the following summer to ride at Eastern Creek on Ray Berry's Manx, and Barry Sheene was racing as well. They hadn't met for a couple of years but the aggro was immediately apparent, and they seldom crossed paths during the weekend. However, where we all stayed at the Blacktown Travelodge, Phil spent the evening drinking, dining and bench racing with us all, shouted when it was his round and was great company. His outlook is often defensive and his replies can be tactless, even curt, but he still loves the sport, hankers for more progress in suspension and chassis design by the manufacturers, and still looks great on a race bike, with the straight back and relaxed style.

My most vivid memory from the weekend is from when all the riders were walking away from the pre-race riders meeting, when Phil spotted good old Arthur Wheeler, pushed through the throng to get to him, and put his arm round Arthur's shoulder, saying, "Bloody hell Arthur, it's fantastic to see you still riding : you're an inspiration to us all."

I think he's a good bloke at heart, just must have been away the day tact was handed out...

 

Couldn't have put it better , Glenn , I agree 100%  :clap:



#46 fil2.8

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 23:06

Phil was out here in 2000 or 2001, didn't race in Perth but was demoing an MV F4 and spoke at a dinner the club ran. I was lucky enough to get an interview on-air, and again poolside where he was staying with a mate of mine videoing the chat. When we stopped for a break, my mate who had been quietly chortling away as he filmed, said, "Can you swap chairs ? His left knacker is hanging out of his swimming shorts !"

Phil was back in Australia the following summer to ride at Eastern Creek on Ray Berry's Manx, and Barry Sheene was racing as well. They hadn't met for a couple of years but the aggro was immediately apparent, and they seldom crossed paths during the weekend. However, where we all stayed at the Blacktown Travelodge, Phil spent the evening drinking, dining and bench racing with us all, shouted when it was his round and was great company. His outlook is often defensive and his replies can be tactless, even curt, but he still loves the sport, hankers for more progress in suspension and chassis design by the manufacturers, and still looks great on a race bike, with the straight back and relaxed style.

My most vivid memory from the weekend is from when all the riders were walking away from the pre-race%



#47 mfd

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 23:34

 

I think he's a good bloke at heart, just must have been away the day tact was handed out...

I heard there's a new book planned, perhaps it ought to be called "Burning Bridges"  ;)



#48 Robin127

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 01:56

When I bought up those anecdotes about Read I didn't intend it to turn into a bash Philathon.

 

He realised that Hailwood was more popular and better than him or Redman (although this obviously has never really set well with him) and I found the Snetterton story amusing.

 

Read is really a complex character and as Glenn said tact is not his strong point.  I never saw Hailwood race, but I saw Read several times and to me he was the best from the 60's/early 70's that I watched.



#49 GD66

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 02:28

I find the complex nature of stars interesting, and have always thought in Phil Read's case his at-times bunker mentality could be caused by being an only child, and then his parents separating when he was only young. In his books he always makes mention of how indebted he is to his mum, who pressed on without complaint when things were tough for them, and who supported him without question from when he started racing. I recall a pic of her whizzing along on a Honda Cub when in advancing years. I would think she instilled into him the necessity to fight, fight, fight to get what you can from life, so as a result he is extremely driven and self-centric. Nothing wrong with that if you want to get ahead, bearing in mind the size and competitiveness of the fields when he was making his way in the sport, and he certainly didn't come from a privileged background like Mike, so that would have made him fight even harder. I recall him telling a yarn about being disrespected in a paddock chat by Bob Anderson, and reacting with, "Right. I'll bloody do you, mate" coursing through his mind as he walked away, burning to get out on the track and get on the road to success.

In these times of sanitised PR spin when riders speak it is virtually pointless listening to interviews, but back then you told it how it was, and Phil's inability or reluctance to tame things down has certainly gone against him as time's gone by. But his record speaks for itself, and when I asked him at Wanneroo on the PA if he was surprised, all those years later, and on the other side of the world, that so many people had turned out to see him, he instantly said, "No ! They all know how hard I rode, and how hard I worked to get there, so it's lovely to see them."



#50 chunder27

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 08:02

Interesting to hear peoples opinions here.

 

I have heard some rather sad stories about Mr Read, has never struck me as very pleasant chap, which is such a shame considering what he achieved.  When you compare him to a Duke, Surtees, Ago, Sheene even at least they seemed happy with their lot.

 

Maybe Read knows people always consider him less of a rider I don't know? But he often seems from peoples experiences with him to have a chip on his shoulder!

 

And he is always touting for money, which is even more of a shame. I guess some folk are able to look after their affairs, some aren't. Seems that simple to me.

 

As for the thread I never saw Mike, but take my opinion from guys like John brown, Ryder, Huewen, Sheene, Roberts who knew of him, saw him ride and they all say he was the best, and I can't see much reason to argue. Ago always had good bikes, but proved himself many times later in his career so must be up there too,