Joe Hailwoods Memoirs

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David survived but two days later Mike died in hospital due to internal injuries. His ex-girlfriend Elizabeth McCarthy later revealed in a memoir that he had a premonition he would die and had shared it with her.


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He told her a fortune teller in South Africa had told him he would not live past 40 and would be killed by a truck. Hailwood, born in Great Milton in Oxfordshire, first raced at the age of 17 in He was Grand Prix motorcycle champion nine times in the cc, cc and cc categories and won the Isle of Man TT competition 12 times on the island mountain course.

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The first thing we did were the foot rests, gear change and brake pedal change over, Mike sat on the bike to readjust the seat and riding position. With a further check over the bike was now ready for its first practice. The practice periods showed up some problems as I remember, that we had to attend to and modify before Mike was happy.


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However, they were all overcome by race day. Air flow to the sump area was increased; oil on a rear tyre was cured with tank encasement. Fuel surging was eliminated with insertion of baffles in fuel tank. SW now in the meanwhile had secured a GP Honda twin from the Honda camp, a well worn practice hack, with no spares, "service and tidy it up, and tighten everything and see what it goes like Joe" said SW. Mike said he could handle it so it stayed in situ for the race. Dick and I tried to persuade SW to allow us to refit the original 4 speed back but to no avail, SW would not give way.

On This Day: British motorcyclist Mike 'Mike the Bike' Hailwood, 40, dies after car crash

The race was won by Phil Read, but Mike was leading the race till the engine blew up a few miles from the end. In retrospect, over revving, plus the gudgeon pin had not been internally ground so it split in pieces horizontally, from the broaching operation, which finally caused the engine failure. How Mike skilfully rode it so far in the race we were amazed.

The Dutch TT at Assen was the next classic, both the Hondas only needed servicing to get them to the line, after winning the cc race by about 28sec, Mike was now leading the World Championship by 2 points from Tom Phillis who was on 20 points.

In the cc race Mike fell avoiding a tail ender while dicing with Phillis. He couldn't carry on so he retired to the pits, to get ready for the cc race.

The Norton was no match for the MV Agusta for power in the cc race, but Mike gave his best and finally came in a worthy 2nd place on his Norton to the delight of the spectators, and his team. The Honda went very well in practice for The Belgian GP, and race day we were hoping Mike would be able to pull off a win and increase his lead in the world championship.

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Jefferies, making his Ulster GP debut, won the opener and also set a new lap record at Sadly, popular Colerain man Owen McNally was killed after a crash in the final race of the day while leading the cc event at Dawsons Bend. Lindsay won the cc Production, cc and cc races on his home circuit. Lougher earned a Superbike double plus victory in the cc Supersport race.

Rising star Gary Jess was tragically killed after a crash in the first Superbike race at Cochranstown. Archibald raised the lap record to Anstey smashed the outright lap record with a speed of He also had the upper-hand over Anstey in the Production race.

The official Mike Hailwood website || For Love of the Sport

John McGuinness sealed a cc and Supersport brace. Ian Hutchinson established a new outright lap record at Bruce Anstey and Guy Martin had a win apiece in the Superbike races. Dunlop hit back to win the second Superbike race following his earlier win over Ian Lougher in the Superstock event. Bruce Anstey and William Dunlop shared the Supersport victories.

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The New Zealander recorded wins in the Superbike and Supersport classes as well as a third place in the Superstock race, and was never far from the front in each of the practice sessions. Derek McGee and Bruce Anstey were among the other winners, but the highlight for many was the final Superbike race of the day, which was won by Peter Hickman after a masterful performance in tricky conditions. American racer Patricia Fernandez became the fastest ever female racer at Dundrod with her