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Mike Hailwood's Suzuki Motorcycle
Mike Hailwood
Mike Hailwood's Suzuki Motorcycle can be found at the Manx Museum

No other motorsport event in the World can claim to have as much heritage as the Isle of Man TT races.

To most riders winning on the Mountain Course is the ultimate achievement, Mike Hailwood won an astonishing 14 times before his tragic death in 1981.

Hailwood dominated the event in the 1960s with Honda before taking an 11 year break from the sport.

He returned to the event in 1978 and in 1979 he claimed his final TT victory on this very special Suzuki machine.

Curator of social history for Manx National Heritage, Matthew Richardson said: "Even though he died in 1981, he is still by head and shoulders the most popular and most revered motorcycle racer that Britiain has ever produced."

The TT races were first run in 1907, by the 1930s the races had become Europe's premier sporting event. Adolf Hitler saw the propaganda potential of a Nazi TT victory, and in 1939 sent an elite team to win.

In the 1960s Japanese firms Honda and Suzuki wanted to break into western markets.

It was at the Isle of Man TT, the world's toughest motorcycle race, that they chose to make their debut. Honda's success was largely due to their partnership with Mike Hailwood.

In 1978, after 11 years away, Hailwood made a sensational return to the TT. This is the machine supplied to him for the 1979 event, upon which he won his 14th and final TT race.

Curator of social history for Manx National Heritage, Matthew Richardson tells BBC Isle of Man about what Mike Hailwood's Suzuki represents.


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