The county has a major tourism industry. The area is noted for the concentration of performance motorsport companies and facilities. Oxford University Press has headed a concentration of print and publishing firms; the university is also linked to the concentration of local biotechnology companies.
Abingdon is eight miles south of Oxford, in the flat valley of the Thames and is situated on the west (right) bank of that river, where the small river Ock flows in from the Vale of White Horse. The town is situated on the A415 between Witney and Dorchester and has the benefit of being adjacent to the A34 trunk road, linking it with the M4 and M40 motorways. The B4017 and A4183 also link traffic into the town – both of these roads being part of the old A34 and often heavily congested.
Mike Hailwood was born at Langsmeade House Great Milton in Oxfordshire, His father, who also raced in the pre-World War II era, owned a large motorcycle distributorship and young Hailwood was raised in relative affluence. He began riding at an early age, starting on a minibike as a small boy. He learned to ride in an eight-acre field near his home and wore an oval track from the constant laps he rode on Sunday afternoons after church. He was educated at Pangbourne College, but left early and worked for a short time in the family business before his father sent him to work at Triumph motorcycles. He married Pauline Barbara Nash on 11 June 1975 and had a son and a daughter.