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Brabham and Hailwood - extraordinary lives, extraordinary careers

Brabham and Hailwood - extraordinary lives, extraordinary careers

F1 News

Brabham and Hailwood - extraordinary lives, extraordinary careers

Brabham and Hailwood - extraordinary lives, extraordinary careers

Sir Jack Brabham and Mike Hailwood are two of the all-time greats of motorsport.

The glorious image that accompanies this article is from the 1964 Austrian Grand Prix at Zeltweg. Brabham was driving one of his own cars, the BT11, while Hailwood was in a Lotus 25 for Reg Parnell Racing.

Both men were born on this day in 1926 and 1940 respectively, and both enjoyed extraordinary careers on four and two wheels respectively.

Brabham, after serving as a mechanic in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II before setting up his own engineering business once the war was over, began racing Midgets in his homeland before turning to Formula 1 from 1955.

By 1959, Brabham had only competed in 16 grands prix over his initial five years' involvement in the sport. He won the first race of that season, in Monaco, providing him with a platform that saw him clinch the first of his three world championships.

Brabham repeated the feat the following year, again driving for Cooper, before opting to build his own cars from 1962.

Hard work and perseverance finally brought further reward Brabham's way in 1966 when he claimed what proved to be his final title before retiring in 1970, surviving some of F1's most brutal years and across 126 starts, from which he won 14.

As for Hailwood, known as 'Mike the Bike', he is widely regarded as the greatest racing motorcyclist of all time.

Throughout the 1960s, Hailwood won three 250cc world titles, two in the 350cc class, and a further four with 500cc power, while he won triumphed 14 times in the Isle of Man TT in different categories.

Hailwood's foray into F1 was not as successful as anticipated, initially in 12 grands prix for Reg Parnell Racing across 1963-65, before returning in 1971 for three seasons with Surtees, prior to one final campaign in 1974 with McLaren.

There were only two podium finishes, second in the 1972 Italian Grand Prix and third in the 1974 South African GP.

Sadly, Hailwood's life was cut short when he was killed in a road traffic accident at the age of 40, a year after retiring from competitive bike racing.

Brabham, meanwhile, went on to enjoy a full life. After being knighted in 1979, and continuing with a number of business interests. He passed away at the age of 88 in 2014.

Their paths may not have crossed too much, with the main image a rare reminder of one of the few occasions they did, but they remain legends of the sport.

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