Why this day rates so highly

Classic Racer - - PEOPLE -

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.

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