Mike Hailwood is of course the great motorcycle racer, which some consider to be among the greatest of all time. Most accounts of his life claim he learned to ride on a mini-bike. Was the mini-bike a Royal Enfield? It turns out that in 1932 Major Smith, the head of the company, had a 98cc mini-bike built for his son Barry Smith, the last member of the family to work in Royal Enfield, and who passed a way a few years ago. There even is a picture of it in The Gun, I reproduce it here. An unsigned article in The Gun claims that Major Smith was friends with Stan Hailwood, Mike's father. The latter was born in 1940, so by the time he started riding that Royal Enfield must have been over a decade old. But maybe it was around and young Mike learned the ropes on it?
The Emperor of Motorcycles
7 hours ago