Legendary Racer Geoff Duke Passes

May 4 2015

Motorcycling’s first Superstar…

Geoff Duke was born March 29, 1923 in Lancashire, England and went on to become the first true Superstar of motorcycle racing. His six Grand Prix World Championships and six Isle of Man victories elevated him to legendary status, but it was his character, professionalism and undeniable style that made him the darling of the public.

His accomplishments and personality were so captivating, the British public voted him Sportsman of the Year in 1951, and he was later honoured with the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)  in 1953. Those achievement are made even more remarkable when we consider that they occurred at a time when motorcyclists were being portrayed as greasy thugs and hoodlums.

Duke was a forward thinker, and is credited with the first one-piece leather suit. He also created quiet an uproar when, just eight years after the end of WWII, he left Norton to ride for the Italian manufacturer Gilera. Though perceived as unpatriotic, his decision was purely business, as the future clearly lay in the development of multi-cylinder engines, not Norton’s big singles.

Geoff Duke passed away on May 1, 2015 at the age of 92, on his beloved Isle of Man, where he had celebrated so many great victories. He leaves behind a storied legacy from the golden era of motorcycling and a fine example for those to come.

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