The year was 1978, and Mike Hailwood was itching for a ride. He had not raced full-time for more than 10 years. When Honda pulled out from the race scene in 1968, they paid him a large sum of money not to race for anyone else.
So he raced cars instead and earned a well respected reputation. He won the Formula Two world title and a podium finish at the 24-Hours Lemans. In 1973 at South Africa's Kyalami circuit, he stopped his car in the middle of a race to pull Clay Regazzoni out from a burning car. A terrifying crash at the German Grand Prix in 1974 resulted in a severely broken right leg ending his auto-racing career.
But to Mike, car racing was just different. He was restless and wanted to race a bike. He was eyeing the Isle of Man TT against the advice from all his friends. They didn't want him to injure himself and his reputation. After all, Mike was already a 9-times World Champion, winner of 76 career Grand Prix and 14-time winner of the legendary Isle of Man TT which he held the lap record title for 8 years. There was nothing else to prove.
But for Mike the island was different. It was special. Not everyone could race on the mountainous road. If you ran off the road, you would hit the trees or a brick wall. The island had taken the lives of many riders, most of whom he knew very well. It was dangerous.
This time he was on a non-factory Ducati 900 ss which had 20 horsepower less than Phil Read's Honda. The bike was modified by NCR and tuned by Steve Wynne's Sports Motor Cycles. Steve painted it green and red for the Castrol sponsorship, which a lot of people mistaken it for the Italian flag design.
Mike started in 12th place in the TTF1 Superbikes class, and gained a 9-second lead at the end of the first lap. By the time he crossed the finish line, he was far ahead of everyone else with about a 2-minute lead. He shattered the lap record when he took the checkered flag. It was the most memorable race for those who had the privilege to witness it.
After that legendary victory, many replicas of the 900ss, were produced and were very much sought after.
Tragically on March 23 1981, during his retirement age of 42, Mike died in an automobile accident with his daughter Michelle while on their way for dinner. His son, David was the sole survivor of the accident.
With it, motor racing lost one of the greatest racers of all time.
Engine: 4 stroke, air cooled 90° V-twin
Weight: 365Ib (165kg)
Power: 87hp @ 9000rpm
Top Speed: more than 158mph (254km/h)
Print Size: A2 (420mm x 594mm)
Approx 16.53" x 23.38"
Print Type: OffSet Lithographic 4C Printing
Paper: Maple White - Acid Free - 220gsm
Take Note: Paper stock base colour do differ slightly from batches to batches due to its 50% recycle properties.
Free Shipping for 3 or more prints.
Discount Code: FRSP
Limited to 100 prints only.