“I’ve been won­der­ing anew why so few suc­cess­ful bik­ers have failed to also make their mark on car rac­ing…”

F1 Racing - - CHEQUERED FLAG -

This thought came to mind fol­low­ing the re­cent death of the great mo­tor­cy­cle cham­pion Ge­off Duke. His ef­forts to switch to cars failed de­spite a promis­ing at­tempt. Yet sev­eral bike rac­ers have made the switch in the past.

My all-time hero, Tazio Nu­volari, started his ca­reer on bikes in the 1920s. He was a top man in Italy be­fore mix­ing two wheels and four and be­com­ing a grand prix and sportscar su­per­star for Bu­gatti, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Fer­rari and Auto Union. One of his ma­jor ri­vals on bikes and in cars was his fel­low Ital­ian, the enig­matic Achille Varzi, their fa­bled ri­valry rag­ing from the 1920s un­til af­ter World War II.

Both their bril­liant ca­reers lasted for more than 20 years, but that of the Ger­man ge­nius Bernd Rose­meyer was trag­i­cally brief. As a star rider for the Ger­man NSU and DKW mo­tor­cy­cle firms, Rose­meyer was re­cruited to drive the hard-to-han­dle, rear-en­gined Auto Union in 1935. De­spite never hav­ing driven a rac­ing car be­fore, he took to it like a duck to wa­ter. A suc­ces­sion of bril­liant wins against the might of Mercedes fol­lowed in 1936 and ’37 be­fore his

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