29/3/1923 - 1/5/2015
Lancashire born Geoff Duke came to prominence after winning the 1949 Senior Clubmans TT and the Senior Manx Grand Prix. He was snapped up for the Norton works team for the 1950 TT, finishing second in the Junior and shattering the lap and race records on winning the Senior! He took three more victories for Norton before changing to Gilera in 1953.
In 1955 he won the Senior, and was declared the first rider to lap at 100mph, but this was corrected two laps later to 99.97mph. His final mtorcyle race was the 1959 Junior when he finished fourth on a Norton. Duke, a six-times TT winner and six-times World Champion took the sport to a whole new level with his professionalism. He was the first rider to wear revolutionary one-piece leathers, was crowned Sportsman of the Year in 1951, awarded the RAC Seagrave Trophy and, in recognition of his services to motorcycling, was awarded the O.B.E. in 1953.
He won a total of 4 500cc MotoGP World Championships in 1951, 1953, 1954 and 1955. He also won a totla of 22 500cc MotoGP wins and 11 350cc MotoGP wins.
He also raced on four wheels finishing 3rd at the Goodwood Easter Meeting sportscar race in an Aston Martin DB3 in 1952. The following year he went to the Sebring 12 Hour race in a works Aston Martin with Peter Collins crashing out on lap 53.
In 1960 he raced in Formula Junior with the Chequered Flag team.
In 1961 he raced a F1 Cooper at Karlskoga but the gearbox seized, causing a crash in which the car landed on top of him. Duke had ribs torn from his sternum, a punctured lung, torn heart muscle, a cracked pelvis and a broken collar bone. He survived, but never raced again.