Hail­wood hon­our

Classic Racer - - PADDOCK GOSSIP -

Mike Hail­wood was hon­oured at the 2018 Mo­tor Sport Hall of Fame Awards, which took place on June 4 at the Royal Au­to­mo­bile Club’s Wood­cote Park es­tate. Hail­wood’s widow Pauline was at the star-stud­ded event, which was hosted by broad­caster Suzi Perry, to re­ceive the award from his for­mer Honda team-mate Stu­art Graham. More than 40,000 en­thu­si­asts from around the world voted for their favourites in a num­ber of cat­e­gories, with Hail­wood top­ping a mo­tor­cy­cle short­list that also in­cluded the late Joey Dun­lop and Amer­i­can world cham­pion ‘King Kenny’ Roberts. Stu­art Graham spoke warmly of his friend – nine times a Grand Prix world cham­pion on 250, 350 and 500cc ma­chin­ery – en­ter­tain­ing the au­di­ence with mem­o­ries of their time rac­ing for the fac­tory Honda team in 1966. “When we went to Monza in Septem­ber 1966, I’d got used to the bike and I found that, be­ing small and light, I could pull a higher top gear than Mike and over­take him go­ing past the pits. Dur­ing prac­tice, I’d asked him whether Curva Grande was flat and he ca­su­ally said: ‘Oh yeah, no prob­lem’. I went back out, wound my­self up and fi­nally did it. I came in, told him that it was a bit hairy but that, yes, it could be taken flat-out, and he said: ‘You silly lit­tle so and so – I was only jok­ing!’ “Mike was so laid back and such a nat­u­ral. He didn’t think too much about it be­cause it all came so nat­u­rally. If you’d asked him how he did it, he wouldn’t have been able to ex­plain it. “It’s so dif­fi­cult to com­pare dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions, but he was the best of our era. He was so ver­sa­tile and could win on any­thing. “When he came back to the Isle of Man and, in 1979, rode that RG500 Suzuki – on mod­ern tyres and com­pletely dif­fer­ent to ev­ery­thing else he’d rid­den – that proved be­yond all doubt that he had ex­cep­tional tal­ent. “He was just such a lovely guy. We be­came friends be­cause in those days there was a won­der­ful ca­ma­raderie be­tween rid­ers – we watched out for each other. No one had a bad word to say about Mike.” Among the other awards to be pre­sented on the night was one for In­dus­try Cham­pion, Motorsport Vi­sion boss Jonathan Palmer re­ceiv­ing it from last year’s winner David Richards. As well as run­ning fa­mous venues such as Brands Hatch, Don­ing­ton Park and Oul­ton Park, MSV has run the Bri­tish Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onship since 2008. As well as honouring the great names from two wheels and four, the awards sup­ported char­ity part­ner Mis­sion Motorsport, which pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for ser­vice­men and women af­fected by mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions to take part in mo­tor rac­ing as part of their re­cov­ery and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

Nick Ni­cholls Col­lec­tion at Mor­tons Ar­chive

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