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 KINGS OF THE TRACK

Sad end for a great champion

FOR a time he was an English motor racing superstar, inconsistent, maybe, but a worthy champion nontheless.
The racing career of Mike Hawthorn ended immediately when he became World Champion and announced his retirement from Forumla 1.
But still he dogged the headlines, but only for a short time. Within months of taking the title Mike Hawthorn was dead.
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*John Michael Hawthorn was born in Mexborough, Yorkshire on April 10, 1929.
*As a racing driver he was in the same British elite group that included Stirling Moss and his great friend Peter Collins, who would die in the 1958 German Grand Prix. Hawthorn went on to become Britain's first World Champion.
* He was a flambuoyant character who wore a bow tie and a broad smile - even when driving.
*Educated at public school, Hawthorn started to take an interest in racing when he was nine years old - his father owned a garage near the Brooklands race track. His racing career really got under way in 1950. By 1953 he was driving for Ferrari.
*His first full Formula 1 season was in 1953, but success eluded him - he had only one championship victory. It came in the French Grand Prix at Reims when he crossed the line a fraction of a second in front of Argentininian ace Fangio
*Bad publicity surrounded him when it was claimed he had avoided National Service. The reason he did not serve later came to light - a kidney ailment rendered him ineligible.
*Hawthorn left Ferrari to drive for Vanwall and BRM teams. In 1955 he was competing in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race when one car crashed killing over 80 people.
*Mike Hawthorn was winner of the 1958 Formula One Championship. After winning the title, Hawthorn immediately announced his retirement from Formula One.
*The same year he became champion Hawthorn saw his great friend Peter Collins killed at Nurburgring in Germany
*Mike Hawthorn was engaged to well known fashion model Jean Howarth.
*He died on January 22, 1959, near his home in Farnham when his Jaguar skidded off a wet corner. He was 29 years old.
*In his career Mike Hawthorn started 47 races, had 17 podium finishes and six fastest laps. His last Grand Prix was in Morocco.

Written by The Editor - 11/02/2007 13:12:24

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