Monthly Archives: October 2012

Graham Hill (1929–1975)

Graham Hill was educated at a technical college in Hendon, where he and the property millionaire Harry Hyams were picked out as the two boys least likely to succeed. Undeterred, Hill left at sixteen for a five-year apprenticeship with Smiths, the instrument makers. In the early 1950s rowing was his main sporting interest and he […]

Jim Clark (1936–1968)

Educated at Loretto School, Edinburgh, Jim Clark left at sixteen and went to work on the family sheep farm on the borders. Like many farmers’ sons he was at home with machinery and handling cars off the road long before he was old enough to take a driving test. Another border farmer, his older brother-in-law […]

Tommy Simpson (1937–1967)

Tommy Simpson was brought up in Harworth, Nottinghamshire, and as a boy he joined Harworth district cycling club where he was nicknamed Four-Stone Coppi after the Italian champion. While working as a draughtsman in a Retford glassworks he won a bronze medal in the team pursuit at the Melbourne Olympics (1956) and a silver in […]

Mike Hailwood (1940–1981)

Despite a lack of academic achievements Mike Hailwood was a champion boxer and a very accomplished musician on several instruments. Even in his early days he displayed the will to win that made him such a talented competitor. He spent a short time in the family business before his father sent him to work at […]

James Hunt (1947–1993)

James Hunt was educated in Cheam and at Wellington College, where he excelled at a variety of sports, and represented the college at cross-country running and squash. He was also an accomplished tennis player, and progressed eventually to junior Wimbledon. He was intended by his parents for a career in medicine but opted instead for […]

Barry Sheene (1950–2003)

Barry Sheene was not academic, and left school at the age of fifteen without any qualifications. He was steeped in the culture of motorcycle racing from an early age. At the Royal College of Surgeons his father, a former motorcycle racer himself, had the use of a workshop, in which he exercised his considerable skills […]

Joey Dunlop (1952–2000)

As a youth Joey had an ambition to join the army, but that changed when, at sixteen, he bought his first motorcycle, a 250 cc BSA. From then he financed his passion for motorcycling by working in various jobs, including as a diesel fitter, lorry driver, steel erector, and roofer, and latterly as the publican […]

Colin McRae (1968–2007)

By the time he was eight Colin McRae was riding off-road motorbikes and in his early teens he became the Scottish schoolboy motor-cross champion. Yet his real passion was cars and after a number of preliminary events he entered his first formal rally, the Kames stages, in 1985, driving a borrowed Talbot Avenger 1600, coming […]

Richard Burns (1971–2005)

Richard’s interest in motor cars became apparent at a very early age and by the time he was eight he was to be found practising his driving skills on a circuit of some 165 yards around the yard of his parents’ farmhouse. He also gained driving experience by volunteering to reverse horse trailers at his […]