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Mike Hailwood


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#1 charles r

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 14:48

Did anyone see the TT's Greatest Moments programme on ITV4 on Sunday?
It seems unbelievable that SMBH could come back and achieve what he did not only after after such a long lay off but after suffering a career ending crash in F1. He seems forgotten now in the car world.
If he had stuck with F1 in the 60's do you think he would have been a more serious contender for GP honours ?

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#2 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 16:38

:wave: I am not sure you are right on this , charles , as there are 7 other threads on Mike Hailwood here , and they are not all about MC racing !

#3 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 21:52

But to answer your question, I think , Mike would not have been better off trying to continue in F1 ,and for whom ? After the halfton F1 many teams were more or less in the wilderness trying to find their feet ,and he had as most others with secondhand F1s struggled for a tiny bit of succes. So he probably was not rated as one of the big talents! .Proving himself again in MC , and then returning fit for fight in Formula and F1 racing ,showed what a tremendous 4wheel racer he was , only needing some luck and the last tick in his Surtees to be right up there, he certainly proved he could do it !

#4 Gary C

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 22:00

er.............I think we're talking AFTER 1974 here, Bjorn.

#5 David McKinney

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 22:09

Originally posted by Gary C
er.............I think we're talking AFTER 1974 here, Bjorn.

So why does the first post say "in the '60s"? :)

#6 Gary C

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 22:27

ah! slopes off to bed....................

#7 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 07:30

:wave: To my knowledge , no one else than Mike can show such a unique feat : World champion on 2 wheeels, then proving a point on 4 wheels , back to 2 wheels and world champion , then winning on 4 wheels,retirement due to crash and then winning again on 2 wheels !

#8 charles r

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 08:52

Thanks Bjorn - It was a rhetorical question really, just wondering if he had had the chance to further develop his talent in the 60s whether we would have seen him in a more competitive seat in the 70s - Hailwood in a Ferrari 312B would have been interesting :)

#9 Mal9444

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 15:06

Originally posted by Bjørn Kjer
:wave: To my knowledge , no one else than Mike can show such a unique feat : World champion on 2 wheeels, then proving a point on 4 wheels , back to 2 wheels and world champion , then winning on 4 wheels,retirement due to crash and then winning again on 2 wheels !


Surtees remains, I believe, the only person ever to be world champion on 2 wheels and on 4.

World champion at Grand Prix level in both disciplines, I mean - no doubt there is someone, somewhere (probably in USA), who has been world champion on 2, 4, 6 and 8 wheels - and equally without doubt someone on TNF will know his name, whereabouts and the tyre pressures on which he won his titles. :)

#10 picblanc

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 18:27

Originally posted by Gary C
ah! slopes off to bed....................


:lol: :lol: :rotfl:

#11 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 19:42

While I don´t wish to take anything away from Mike´s TT comeback. the TT in his comeback year was no longer a world (GP level) championship. It was nothing more than a gloryfied international race and must be seen in that context. It might have had "W/C" status, but I think everyone would agree, it wasn´t at GP level. Mike would have been run over at the top level, and I am sure he would have been the first to admit that fact.
With regards his F1 career, I think his biggest problem was his inability to set a car up propelry, and while he was not the only talented driver to experience this problem, he was never able to secure a seat in a team that had the ability to overcome this shortcoming. Also, I think he changed to 4 wheel far to late in his career. Maybe if he had made the switch 7 or 8 years earlier, things would have turned out far differently.

#12 f1steveuk

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 19:50

He wasn't too shabby in F2............

#13 David McKinney

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 19:53

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
Also, I think he changed to 4 wheel far to late in his career. Maybe if he had made the switch 7 or 8 years earlier, things would have turned out far differently.

Unlikely for him to have made the switch when he was 15 or 16, which was his age 7 or 8 years before he took to four wheels in 1963

#14 Richard Young

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 20:25

I seem to recall, when Motor Sport did their 'Greatest All Rounders' feature, Mike Hailwood wasn't even mentioned, even though lesser (i.e. foor wheels only) talents were.. This despite two wheeled succes, then F2, F5000, F1, Sports Cars, the two wheeled comeback etc.
OK he may not have won or dominated in every discipline but.....He was a Contender, as they say in some other sport.
And a great bloke too !

#15 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 21:00

:smoking: If you go to post 7 , read it , and you will see that I did not try to make Mike more or less than he was or did ( if you can say so ). And its still a unique feat , Surtees or not !.... and as I happen to know about MC racing too he was near unbeatable on a decent bike , allways up there on a poor bike , and supreme when all worked , Agostini or not! And may I add ,that allthough perhaps a couple of years later than most , it did not seem to hamper Mike , he was one of the very last to race in many classes over a relative short , as Clark, G.Hill, Brabham did in the 60s , and Mike won in all except F1 were he was 2nd once, I believe ! And as I remember it , the Surtees
cars never seemed to have the right driver for a superb set , and win ! Could have been the cars , see post 2/3 :smoking:

#16 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 21:55

Originally posted by David McKinney

Unlikely for him to have made the switch when he was 15 or 16, which was his age 7 or 8 years before he took to four wheels in 1963


Born in 1940, Mike was essentially a bike racer, and his real entry into car racing was after his official retirement from bikes at the end of 1967, the year he won both the 250 and 350 world titles. In other words, 1968. The car racing he did before that was simply foot in the water stuff, and not a serious attempt to establish himself, so I don´t count his involvement in cars until 1968 . He won his first world motorcycle championship in 1961, so I stand by my original statement, give or take a year or two. It´s interesting to note that Mike, like a lot of ex motorcycle racers, disliked the people involved in car racing, and I think , to a large extent, he has been dismissed because of his outspoken feelings in that regard.

#17 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 22:20

Sorry - I don't think that's necessarily true - it smacks of chip on shoulder us-poor-common-motorcyclists resentment.

To my personal knowledge Mike was HUGELY popular and highly regarded within the four-wheeled racing world once his initial honeymoon phase of 1962-63 was past. He certainly found people he didn't particularly warm to within the car world, but from some of his stories there were certainly people within the motorcycle world who were not on his Christmas card list either... Within serious Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 5000 and endurance racing Mike the Bike was very welcome. One thing's for darned sure...if he hadn't enjoyed it, he would NOT have stayed in it...

DCN

#18 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 05:03

:wave: Hi ex Rhodie racer , I would like to point out if you should not know , that Mike did 3 F1 races in 63 and 4 i think in 65 ,but in 1964 he took on the whole WC in f1 plus all non-WC f1 races , 18 by the number ! To not consider that , would to me be a case of reconsidering. Furthermore his late TT win , yes "WC" status and not the regular top level , but why ? Because the others were scared ! And understandable , but no less a feat as he beat all the others daring to race!

#19 David McKinney

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 06:43

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
The car racing he did before that was simply foot in the water stuff, and not a serious attempt to establish himself, so I don´t count his involvement in cars until 1968.

This, I take it, is your reply to the question asked in the original post? And your earlier post a red herring?

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#20 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 08:29

Bjorn, as far as I am aware (using the Mikethebike website as a reference) he only competed in 2 F1 GP´s in 1963 (British and Italian), and 4 in 1964 (Manaco, French, Austrian and US). His next event was in 1971. The point I was trying to make was that until his retirement from bikes in 1967, his first priority was motorcycle racing, and he was just testing the waters in car racing, so as to speak.

Quote- Sorry - I don't think that's necessarily true - it smacks of chip on shoulder us-poor-common-motorcyclists resentment.

Doug, as I was a personal friend of Mike´s, I know it was exactly that type of sentiment that turned him off certain people in car racing. Motorcycle racers are not common, and certainly don´t think of themselves as such. so why on earth would you imagine they carry a chip on their shoulders?
I, like many Southern Africans grew up in an environment where bikes and cars shared the programme, and the only resentment I felt during my bike years ( I also raced cars later BTW) was from certain, not all, members of the car racing fraternity who somehow, and for whatever reason, felt "superiour" in some way to their motorcycle racing counterparts. God only knows why.
You weren´t one of them I hope ?;)

Mr McKinney, with all due respects sir, may I point out that just because someone doesn´t entirely agree with you, and during the course of a discussion drifts slightly off topic, it doesn´t mean they are fishing. However, I will make every effort in future to confine myself to the topic, the whole topic and nothing but the topic, and I apologize for any distress I might have caused you. :kiss:

#21 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 09:04

Originally posted by Doug Nye
To my personal knowledge Mike was HUGELY popular and highly regarded within the four-wheeled racing world once his initial honeymoon phase of 1962-63 was past. He certainly found people he didn't particularly warm to within the car world, but from some of his stories there were certainly people within the motorcycle world who were not on his Christmas card list either...
DCN


Rhodie - so where precisely was I wrong to report the above???

DCN

#22 David McKinney

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 09:10

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
Mr McKinney, with all due respects sir, may I point out that just because someone doesn´t entirely agree with you, and during the course of a discussion drifts slightly off topic, it doesn´t mean they are fishing. However, I will make every effort in future to confine myself to the topic, the whole topic and nothing but the topic, and I apologize for any distress I might have caused you. :kiss:

And with respects to you, too, Rhodie
My comments had nothing to do with agreeing with anyone - it just seemed that you had missed the point of the thread.
The first post ended with:
"If he had stuck with F1 in the 60s do you think he would have been a more serious contender for GP honours?"
Your first post said:
"I think he changed to 4 wheel far to late in his career. Maybe if he had made the switch 7 or 8 years earlier, things would have turned out far differently."
I was merely following on from that

#23 charles r

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:02

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Sorry - I don't think that's necessarily true - it smacks of chip on shoulder us-poor-common-motorcyclists resentment.

To my personal knowledge Mike was HUGELY popular and highly regarded within the four-wheeled racing world once his initial honeymoon phase of 1962-63 was past. He certainly found people he didn't particularly warm to within the car world, but from some of his stories there were certainly people within the motorcycle world who were not on his Christmas card list either... Within serious Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula 5000 and endurance racing Mike the Bike was very welcome. One thing's for darned sure...if he hadn't enjoyed it, he would NOT have stayed in it...

DCN

:up:
Spot on I would say.

#24 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:07

Originally posted by David McKinney
"If he had stuck with F1 in the 60s do you think he would have been a more serious contender for GP honours?"


Yes I do, but only if he had managed to get a drive with a team that could compensate for his lack of set up skills. Mike had the same problem on 2 wheels, the only difference being, he was able to ride around the problems thanks to his extraordinary skills, something that simply was not possible on 4 wheels.

Doug, basically, other than your opening statement, you are correct. However, and I apologize for going off topic for a moment, I think if we are honest with each other here, there has always been a snobby element in car racing who tend to look down their noses at the 2 wheel world. As I have already said, I don´t understand why, but having been a part of both, I can vouch for this. Valentiono Rossi cited this as one of the reasons he decided to stay on 2 wheels instead of joining F1, and I know Mike had similar reservations.

#25 David McKinney

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 11:50

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
there has always been a snobby element in car racing who tend to look down their noses at the 2 wheel world

I think that's true
But I also think Doug's "chip on the shoulder" reference is valid
The question is, perhaps, which came first?
Material for new thread?

#26 philippe7

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 14:45

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
While I don´t wish to take anything away from Mike´s TT comeback. the TT in his comeback year was no longer a world (GP level) championship. It was nothing more than a gloryfied international race and must be seen in that context. It might have had "W/C" status, but I think everyone would agree, it wasn´t at GP level. Mike would have been run over at the top level, and I am sure he would have been the first to admit that fact.


I disagree , Rhodie.....as a bike racing enthusiast myself - and from "the continent" , which means I have no specific over-hype about the TT as such - , I think Mike's return there was a most astounding achievement. Not so much in his much publicised 1978 TT-F1 victory aboard the Ducati, when one might to some extent consider that he rode a superior machine ( and of a "vintage" style that he may have felt easily at home on ) but still had caught and passed the man considered as the favourite, Phil Read on a factory Honda, before the latter retired . But his achievement of the year after, 1979 , was in my opinion an even greater moment : he won brilliantly the 500cc Senior TT , on a factory two-stroke, square four RG 500 Suzuki, the most modern machinery you could think of at the time, and a style of machine, engine or suspension-wise, he had never ridden before . And more significantly, he came second that same year in the Jubilee TT , on the same 500cc machine, beaten only by Alex George's factory 1000cc Honda , and leaving behind him none others than Charlie Williams, Jeff Sayle, Graeme Mc Gregor, Joey Dunlop , Chas Mortimer and Kenny Blake....all names maybe not well known of our 4-wheels specialists friends, but who were among the top brass of the time, not only on the road circuits, but also in the "short circuits" world championship . Therefore, I would have been most interested to see what Mike, on competitive machinery, could have been able to do on "normal" circuits , outside of the
Isle of Man......I do not think he would have been "run over" ....but we'll never know, so.....;)

#27 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 18:09

I think Rhodie is pretty close to the mark with much of what he says. Geoff Duke had misgivings when he moved into motor racing and found that his face didn't fit. I understand that Peter Collins may have been quite hostile to him. Perhaps the broad Lancashire accent didn't mix with the public school accents. I'm not saying this happened to Mike though. As for his lack of ability to set a car up, yes he had the same problems on bikes but rode around the problems. Just as Ronnie Peterson did.

#28 Bernard

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 10:21

I was at Snetterton one afternoon ,( was it Easter Sunday, Brands on the Friday, Oulton on the Monday)
Phillipe when Mike borrowed a Reg Dearden 500 Norton as he could not get the Honda for some reason
and outrode our short circuit guys . I remember him outbraking at least five going into the Esses and coming out in the lead. Cannot remember if he won the race though. But I am biased I thought then and still do that Mike was the best m/c racer. According to his autobiography Murray the Walker thinks the same.

#29 Classicpics

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 20:42

Posted Image



#30 philippe7

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 21:38

This thread having been brought back upfront ( thanks Classicpics ) I realised that we now have among our contributors someone who actually took part in the same 1979 TT as Mike did , at least in the Jubilee race since he is in the results ( see my post from 2 years ago, a little above ) , so I was wondering wether Jeff Sayle did at some stage come across MH during the race ( I realise that due to the specific "against the clock" nature of the TT races, it may well be that two competitors in the same race actually never see each other on track ) and if that was the case , firstly did he feel any special emotion at sharing the road with a legend of the sport, and secondly did he honestly notice something special about his riding ability ? I realise it might be difficult to answer, but I just thought I would ask.... Jeff ?

edit : maybe Stu was on the island as well that year, or the year before ?

Edited by philippe7, 04 June 2009 - 21:39.


#31 Classicpics

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 19:46

A video clip from Champions Forever on YouTube. Interviews of Mike from that film. Posted in three segments. These were all recorded on the same day in June,1973 when Mike was driving for John Surtees and was in Monaco for the GP.

In this one Mike is talking about the end of his time with Honda. Notice how he talks about having had enough money to retire at the end of 1967, and wanting to do something else...



Here's a wonderful contrast - Mike at Spa in 1964 talking about how much he loved bike people and didn't like racing cars. It's obvious where his heart was...



The above was sent to me by Elizabeth McCarthy

Edited by Classicpics, 05 August 2009 - 19:54.


#32 Russell Burrows

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 08:45

A video clip from Champions Forever on YouTube. Interviews of Mike from that film. Posted in three segments. These were all recorded on the same day in June,1973 when Mike was driving for John Surtees and was in Monaco for the GP.

In this one Mike is talking about the end of his time with Honda. Notice how he talks about having had enough money to retire at the end of 1967, and wanting to do something else...



Here's a wonderful contrast - Mike at Spa in 1964 talking about how much he loved bike people and didn't like racing cars. It's obvious where his heart was...



The above was sent to me by Elizabeth McCarthy


Thanks CP....He's strangely downbeat in the Monaco clips.........


#33 lukebaby

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 08:13

Rhodie is absolutely spot on with his remarks.........Natural skills on/in both bikes and cars but not gifted with mechanical aptitude. :|


#34 Coupe Kawasaki

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 16:33

[quote name='lukebaby' date='Aug 10 2009, 09:13' post='3790348']
Rhodie is absolutely spot on with his remarks.........Natural skills on/in both bikes and cars but not gifted with mechanical aptitude. :|
[/quote

Some riders were like that. Troy Bayliss was asked at a bbq about the Team GSE bikes and said ' I dunno, I just ride 'em' I think he said a similar thing on TV when asked what went wrong with the bike 'it broke' was the reply.:rotfl:


David

#35 exclubracer

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 18:19


Hi David, I remember Troy Bayliss in an interview when he said 'I'm only the throttle monkey, the mechanics do all the work on the bike' :D