The greatest ever? Remembering motorcycle legend Mike Hailwood

Following an 11-year retirement from motorcycle racing, Mike Hailwood - riding a Suzuki - competes during his final Isle of Man Classic TT race in 1979, which he lost by a mere two seconds.

Don Morley/Getty Images

On March 23, 1981, Mike Hailwood, at the age of 40, succumbed to injuries after a traffic incident two days earlier, in which he was completely without blame.

In just his short time on the Earth, Mike Hailwood won four championships in the premiere class of – what is now – MotoGP, as well as 14 Isle of Man TT victories, two Formula One podiums, and a podium finish at the 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Mike’s success on two wheels and four have turned him into a legend that will not soon, if ever, be forgotten, with even a section on the famed Isle of Man TT mountain course named after him.

Among those 14 TT victories was the historic 1967 event, in which he closely challenged his fiercest rival Giacomo Agostini. Hailwood’s record speed in that race – despite riding on an ill-handling Honda RC181 – stood for another eight years.

Mike’s nine-year-old daughter Michelle was tragically also killed in the traffic crash that claimed his life, yet his son, Dave, survived the incident, and still has plenty of memorabilia from his father’s motor racing days, which he took with him last year onto BT Sport’s “MotoGP Tonight” show:

Photos, news, merchandise and more on “Mike the Bike” are all available on the official Mike Hailwood website here » http://www.mikethebike.com