Mike Hailwood’s TT F1 Ducatis

The wrong photo of a Ducati-mounted Mike Hailwood was used in last month’s story about ‘Mike the Bike’ being inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame.

The picture actually showed him riding the 950 F1 machine in the 1979 race, in which he finished a disappointing fifth, rather than on the 833 machine which he rode to an historic Isle of Man comeback victory in the 1978 F1 race.

The photo we intended to use was of Mike winning the 1978 F1 race in a fairytale comeback. Both images from Mortons Archive.

In an interview with Alan Cathcart, Steve Wynne of Sports Motor Cycles recalled
how, in 1978, Mike topped the F1 TT leaderboard with a new record lap of 111mph, yet was convinced he’d done only 105mph because the V-twin was so easy and relaxing to ride.

If we’d looked more carefully at last month’s photo, we’d have spotted the differences, not only in the overall graphics of the red and green machine, but also the differences in the race numbers. In 1978 Mike raced with No 12, whereas the following year it was No 14.

Last month’s photo showed Mike on the 1979 TT F1 Ducati, with the racing number 14, on which he finished a disappointing fifth.

The 1979 race was dominated by Alex George, who had replaced the injured Mick Grant in the Honda Britain team, and although Mike was battling with Ron Haslam for third, mechanical problems relegated the Ducati to fifth place.

Mike’s 1979 TT visit is best remembered for his Senior win on the 500cc four-cylinder Suzuki two-stroke, but in the six-lap Classic Race that marked Mike’s final appearance on the Mountain Circuit, after fighting a tremendous battle with Alex George on a 1000cc Honda Britain machine, the Suzuki-mounted Mike had to concede victory by just 3.5 seconds.

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