Mike Hailwood was not just the dominant motorcycle racer of the 1960s, but is regarded by many as the most talented rider to ever bump-start a grand prix bike. Greater even than 15-time champ Giacomo Agostini and current two-wheeled megastar Valentino Rossi.
The era across which his ultra-successful career peaked – that of the early to mid-1960s – was a period of total domination for ‘Mike the Bike’ and the works MV Agusta squad as he secured an incredible nine World Championship titles across 250, 350 and 500cc divisions of grand prix racing.
It is also the timeframe into which the bikes that make up the grid for this year’s Goodwood Revival Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy – 500s of a kind that raced from 1960-66 – were at their most active.
We’ve found this brilliant video of Hailwood, made during the build-up to the 1964 Belgian Grand Prix, which he of course won, beating fellow Briton and future World Champion Phil Read by over four and a half minutes!
In it, Hailwood describes his return to the two-wheeled paddock after an initial foray into four-wheeled racing the previous year and talks about why bikes were his first love, before we get a riders’-eye view of a lap of the daunting eight-mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit from what we’re convinced must have been some pretty massive on-board cameras.
The Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy will feature MVs and Nortons of a kind raced by Hailwood in the 1960s plus rivals from BMW, Matchless and Triumph, with a two-rider crew on each bike and a race scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday of the September 11-13 event.