On the first of this month the motorcycling world lost one of its idols; a man whose name ranks with the likes of Agostini, Hailwood and Rossi as one of the very finest ever to have sat astride a motorcycle.
Famous for winning six world titles and as many Isle of Man TTs, Geoff Duke was one of motorcycle racing’s first superstars, who would have added to his impressive haul of honours but for injury and ill fortune. He is also credited with bringing a meticulous and professional approach to his racing, as well as being one of the first riders to adopt one-piece leathers (he reckoned that a one-piece outfit allowed better airflow than the traditional two-piece suits.)
Like so many riders (including of course his great rival John Surtees) he also proved adept at driving racing cars, and even managed a third place at the 1952 Goodwood Easter Handicap in an Aston Martin DB3. Somewhat fittingly, last years Revival meeting saw Kevin Schwantz grace Goodwood on the last surviving ‘Featherbed’-framed Manx Norton – the like of which Duke rode to victory in the Isle of Man Senior TT.
In retirement the well-liked Lancastrian helped set up the Manx Line ferry service as well as his son Peter’s Duke Video Company, who made the short film we’re sharing here. Having spent so much of his life living on the Isle of Man, it was fitting that his body be carried around the famous Snaefell Mountain Course one last time in this touching tribute to a biking legend…