If ever there was a way to describe Mike Hawthorn, then the words fast, young and full of life wouldn’t go amiss. Large and boisterous, Mike Hawthorn was known to race, sometimes, with a bow tie and a broad grin. For Mike, motorsports was just the fastest way to do something he enjoyed - drive.
Mike Hawthorn was born near the Brooklands circuit in Farnham, Surrey. This proximity surely played a major role in inspiring the young Brit to take up racing as one of his favourite hobbies and passions. Although he wasn’t probably the best ever driver to win the championships, he certainly was the most colourful. Hawthorn’s career was strung by tragedy, scandal and even personal losses.
Mike’s father, another racing enthusiast, had bought a garage near the Brooklands circuit, two years after mike was born. The Hawthorn garage was a bustling place where, before races, cars and motorcycles were prepared for competition. A nine year old Mike saw this, took it all in, and decided that it would be what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
His education was pushing him towards a career at the Farnham-based garage. Mike’s father, though, kept encouraging his son’s need for speed by providing him with motorcycles first, and then cars, to participate in local competitions. Mike was also part of a group of friends who created mayhem as they raced around the countryside looking for pubs and women. In 1950, Mike finally started winning races in a small Riley sportscar that his father got for him. It took him three years, from his first ever win, to get behind the wheels of a Formula One car owned by Enzo Ferrari.
His rise to the top level was exactly similar to how he had lived his life - fast. In 1952, his first ever competition in a single seater Formula Two Cooper Bristol gave him the opportunity to drive alongside people of the likes of Froilan Gonzalez and Juan Manuel Fangio. Mike qualified at pole, and led the race all the way to the finish. He also finished first in the Formula Libre race that same Easter gathering and came an incredible second at the main event
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Saturday June 28
UK’s annual Goodwood Festival of Speed has decided to mark the 50th anniversary of Mike Hawthorn’s Formula One championship win, by setting the theme for this year’s festival “Hawthorn to Hamilton”. More