Friday, 3 September 2010


Mike Hailwood's usually cited as a hero for his riding, but this is him in 1973 performing one of the greatest acts of heroism in all of motorsport. During the South African Grand Prix, Dave Charlton crashed taking out Hailwood and Clay Regazzoni. Inside the fireball Mike triggered his fire extinguisher, but Regazzoni lay unconscious and trapped.

Hailwood tried to save Regazzoni but had to run when his own clothing caught fire. Marshals doused the flames but as they tried to drag a still unconscious Regazzoni clear, the car reignited. Mike dived back in to pull Regazzoni out. Back in the pits a taciturn Hailwood simply told his girlfriend they were leaving, and she finally discovered Mike’s heroism via the next morning’s papers. He was awarded the George Medal for his actions, the second highest award for civilian bravery granted in the UK. "Hailwood" read the citation, "totally ignored his own safety and the intensity of the flames." See the full vid here

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