Time Tunnel: 1978 - Hailwood's TT

Sharing the podium with Mike the Bike at the '78 TT

The biggest crowd ever turned up to watch the 1978 TT races. They came to see Mike Hailwood's return to racing. He didn't let them down.

Privateer racer Ian Richards got to share the Formula One TT podium with Hailwood and John Williams in 1978, certainly 'Hailwood's TT' and probably the most famous TT race ever.

"I'm the only one left now from that famous podium," recalls Ian, now retired but until recently a technician for the Louth-based Honda Racing team. "Both Mike and John are gone, so to share that moment in history was amazing. Mike was my hero before I started racing, and to stand with him on the rostrum was brilliant. It's hard to describe how good that felt.

"We actually started the Formula One race together. I was number 11 on my Kawasaki and Mike was 12 on the Ducati. I honestly don't remember if the crowd was making much noise - before the race you're focused on your riding not the crowd, and I had my helmet on. But I bet they were. Mike was a TT legend.

"When I heard Mike was racing again after an 11-year break I knew he'd be fast, but after such a long gap a lot of riders didn't expect him to be that fast. The game had moved on. I reckoned he'd take seventh or eighth place, not a win.

"But then in practice Mike passed me after Glen Helen and I followed him around Sarah's Cottage. He was so smooth and fast.

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