Why this day rates so highly
In the last 15 years, I have been privileged to know Jim Redman well. He is fun, kind, courteous and the complete professional to work with but, beneath the smiles and easy grace in meeting fans, he is SAS tough. Cross Jim, even at 83 years of age, or show any disrespect for his achievements, and you will place yourself in real physical danger. It’s this physical and mental toughness that gave Jim three GP wins in a day – unquestionably the greatest achievement ever in motorcycle racing. I don’t look at the classic racing era and say that these were the best riders ever. How can you when you see Marquez slide a Motogp bike on the front wheel at 175mph? But what you can say about Jim and his contemporaries is that they were physically and mentally tough beyond belief. They were brought up during the Second World War when everyone knew someone who had been killed. When Jim went to school kids were routinely slapped by teachers and punished with canes, leather straps or anything else that was to hand. Being hard wasn’t a lifestyle choice – it was life. As a teenager, Jim didn’t do work experience – he experienced work to put food on the table for his family. Without his efforts, the family would have gone cold and hungry. He also possessed supreme selfbelief. This is not the sort of braggadocio you see on modern social media or the professional PR talk that tutored riders give at press conferences. Jim didn’t believe, or hope, or plan to win three races that baking summer’s day in Holland – he knew before every God in the multiverse that he would be successful. Ordinary mortals can only imagine what it must be like to have that much trust in oneself. The best bikes, the best riders and the toughest conditions – Jim beat them all. This is why the 1964 Dutchtt was the greatest achievement in the history of motorcycle racing – and always will be.