Mike Hailwood

From WOI Encyclopedia Italia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mike Hailwood
Motorcycle Grand Prix Career
Nationality 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom.png Great Britain
Active years 1958 - 1967
Team(s) Honda, MV Agusta
Grands Prix 152
Championships 250cc - 1961, 1966, 1967 350cc - 1966, 1967. 500cc -1962,1963,1964,1965.
Wins 76
Podium finishes    112
Pole positions N/A
Fastest laps N/A
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 1940March 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.[1]

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.

The Comeback

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.


Hailwood died tragically in an automobile accident on March 23, 1981. His daughter, Michelle, was also killed in the crash, and his son, David, survived.

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

Year Class Classification Machine Victories
1958 250cc 4th NSU 0
1958 350cc 6th Norton 0
1959 125cc 3rd Ducati 1
1959 250cc 5th Mondial 0
1960 125cc 10th Ducati 0
1960 250cc 5th Mondial 0
1960 500cc 6th Norton 0
1961 125cc 6th Honda 1
1961 250cc 1st Honda 4
1961 350cc 8th MV Agusta 0
1961 500cc 2nd MV Agusta 2
1962 125cc 5th EMC 0
1962 350cc 3rd MV Agusta 1
1962 500cc 1st MV Agusta 5
1963 250cc 6th MZ 1
1963 350cc 2nd MV Agusta 2
1963 500cc 1st MV Agusta 7
1964 350cc 4th MV Agusta 0
1964 500cc 1st MV Agusta 7
1965 250cc 10th Honda 1
1965 350cc 3rd MV Agusta 1
1965 500cc 1st MV Agusta 8
1966 250cc 1st Honda 10
1966 350cc 1st Honda 6
1966 500cc 2nd Honda 3
1967 250cc 1st Honda 5
1967 350cc 1st Honda 6
1967 500cc 2nd Honda 5

Complete Formula One results

(Note: grands prix in bold denote points scoring races.)

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Team
1963 Lotus MON BEL DUT FRA GBR DEU ITA USA MEX SAF           Lola
1964 Lotus MON DUT BEL FRA GBR DEU AUT ITA USA MEX           Lotus
1965 Lotus SAF MON BEL FRA GBR DUT DEU ITA USA MEX           Lotus
1971 Surtees SAF SPA MON DUT FRA GBR DEU AUT ITA CAN USA         Surtees


  • 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

External links