Geoff Duke

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Geoff Duke
Geoff Duke (1951).jpg
Geoff Duke (1951)
Nationality United Kingdom British
Born (1923-03-29)29 March 1923
St. Helens, Lancashire, England
Died 1 May 2015(2015-05-01) (aged 92)
Isle of Man
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Active years 1950 - 1959
First race 1950 Isle of Man TT
Last race 1959 Nations Grand Prix
First win 1950 500 cc Isle of Man TT
Last win 1958 500 cc Swedish Grand Prix
Team(s) Benelli, BMW, Gilera, Norton, NSU
Championships 350 cc - 1951, 1952
500 cc - 1951, 1953 - 1955
Starts Wins Podiums Poles F. laps Points
89 33 50 359 (371)
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested 9 (1949 - 1955, 1958, 1959)
TT wins 6
First TT win 1949 Clubmans Senior TT
Last TT win 1955 Senior TT
Podiums 8

Geoffrey Ernest Duke OBE (29 March 1923 – 1 May 2015) was a British multiple motorcycle Grand Prix road racing world champion. He was born in St. Helens, Lancashire.[1]

Career[edit]

After reaching the status of Team Sergeant in the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team, The White Helmets,[2] Duke was a prominent figure in racing in the 1950s, winning six world championships and six Isle of Man TT races.[1] First entering the Isle of Man Manx Grand Prix in 1948, he retired after four laps of the Junior race. He came to prominence after the 1949 events, finishing second in the Junior race, after remounting due to a spill, and winning the Senior race with a record lap and race-average speeds.[3][4][5] He also won the 1949 Senior Clubmans TT.[6] He signed to the Norton works team for the 1950 TT, finishing second in the Junior TT and breaking both lap and race records in the Senior TT.

After winning three World Championships for Norton, he moved abroad to Italian motorcycle manufacturer, Gilera in 1953.[7] With Gilera, he had a string of three consecutive 500 cc world championships.[1] His support for a riders' strike demanding more start money led the FIM to suspend him for six months, dashing any hopes for a fourth consecutive title.[7][8] For 1953 he joined the sports car racing team of Aston Martin (Feltham, Middlesex) to race the DB3.[9] Teamed with Peter Collins, the pair led the 12 Hours of Sebring until Duke's accident and resulting DNF. In 1955 he was declared the first rider to lap the Isle of Man TT course at 100 mph, though this was later corrected to 99.97.[10] As a consequence the official first 100 mph lap is credited to Bob McIntyre, also on a Gilera, in 1957. Duke was a non-starter because of injury. His final race was the 1959 Nations Grand Prix. In 1963, he formed a racing team – Scuderia Duke, with riders Derek Minter and John Hartle – to race the 1957 Gileras against Mike Hailwood riding the MV Agusta.[7]

Later life[edit]

Duke was the most famous rider to adopt one-piece leathers - he had enlisted his local tailor to make the first of his now famous one-piece race suits.[11] He was named Sportsman of the Year in 1951, awarded the RAC Segrave Trophy[12] and, in recognition of his services to motorcycling, was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1953. Highly honoured by the Isle of Man, where he made so many of his world record breaking rides, a point on the Mountain Course has been named after him. Three sharp bends at the 32nd Milestone between Brandywell and Windy Corner now carry the title 'Duke's'.

After retiring from racing, Duke became a businessman, initially in the motor trade and later in shipping services to the Isle of Man. In 1978 he was instrumental in setting up the Manx Line that introduced the first roll-on-roll-off ferry service to the Isle of Man in competition with the 150-year-old Isle of Man Steam Packet Company[13] The FIM named him a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2002.[14] He died, at the age of 92, at his home on the Isle of Man on 1 May 2015 after being ill for some time.[15]

World Championship results[edit]

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6
Points 8 6 4 3 2 1

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap. An empty black cell indicates that the class did not compete at that particular championship round.)

Year Class Motorcycle 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Rank Points
1950 IOM BEL NED SUI ULS NAT
350 cc Norton 2 3 2 3 1 2nd 24 (28)
500 cc Norton 1 Ret Ret 4 1 1 2nd 27
1951 ESP SUI IOM BEL NED FRA ULS NAT
350 cc Norton Ret 1 1 Ret 1 1 1 1st 32 (40)
500 cc Norton Ret 1 1 1 5 1 4 1st 35 (37)
1952 SUI IOM NED BEL GER ULS NAT ESP
350 cc Norton 1 1 1 1 1st 32
500 cc Norton Ret Ret 2 2 7th 12
1953 IOM NED BEL GER FRA ULS SUI NAT ESP
500 cc Gilera Ret 1 Ret 1 2 1 1 1st 38
1954 FRA IOM ULS BEL NED GER SUI NAT ESP
500 cc Gilera Ret 2 C 1 1 1 1 1 1st 40 (46)
1955 ESP FRA IOM GER BEL NED ULS NAT
500 cc Gilera Ret 1 1 1 Ret 1 3 1st 36
1956 IOM NED BEL GER ULS NAT
500 cc Gilera Ret Ret Ret 1 7th 8
1957 GER IOM NED BEL ULS NAT
350 cc Gilera Ret Ret - 0
500 cc Gilera 3 2 4th 10
1958 IOM NED BEL GER SWE ULS NAT
350 cc Norton Ret Ret 5 Ret 1 4 3 3rd 17
500 cc BMW Ret Ret 4 Ret 3rd 13
Norton 1 5 7
1959 FRA IOM GER NED BEL SWE ULS NAT
250 cc NSU Ret 10th 5
Benelli 6 3 10
350 cc Norton 4 4 3 Ret 5th 10
500 cc Norton 9 3 3 3 4th 12

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  • All Grand Prix results are taken from Walker, pp. 248–252
  1. ^ a b c "· Geoff Duke". Motogp.com. 1923-03-29. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  2. ^ "Picture special: MCN meets veterans from the White Helmets army display team". MCN. 2007-09-18. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  3. ^ Motor Cycle, 5 November 1964, p.797. Help Club accessed 31 January 2015
  4. ^ "Race Results - Manx Grand Prix Official Website". Manxgrandprix.org. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  5. ^ "Race Results - Manx Grand Prix Official Website". Manxgrandprix.org. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  6. ^ "Race Results - Isle of Man TT Official Website". Iomtt.com. 1929-03-29. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  7. ^ a b c "Geoff Duke | MotoGP". Crash.Net. 1923-03-29. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  8. ^ "Geoff Duke Must Finish Six Months' Suspension". The Bulletin. 18 August 1956. p. 8. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  9. ^ "Aston Martin And The Last 100 Years - Aston Martin News Details". Hwmastonmartin.co.uk. 1913-01-15. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  10. ^ "Geoff Duke - Competitors - Isle of Man TT Official Website". Iomtt.com. 1929-03-29. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  11. ^ Walker, page 53.
  12. ^ "Learn more about The Royal Automobile Club". Royalautomobileclub.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  13. ^ John Moss. "Ricky hatton, Andrew Freddy Flintoff, Paula Radcliffe, Geoff Duke, Stanley Matthews & David Lloyd - British Sportsmen and Sportswomen from the Northwest region". Manchester2002-uk.com. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  14. ^ "· MotoGP Legends". Motogp.com. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 
  15. ^ Miller, Robin (2015-05-02). "Grand Prix and TT legend Geoff Duke has died". Bikesportnews.com. Retrieved 2015-05-02. 

Books[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Umberto Masetti
500 cc Motorcycle World Champion
1951
Succeeded by
Umberto Masetti
Preceded by
Bob Foster
350 cc Motorcycle World Champion
1951–1952
Succeeded by
Fergus Anderson
Preceded by
Umberto Masetti
500 cc Motorcycle World Champion
1953–1955
Succeeded by
John Surtees