Mike Hailwood’s 1978 TT comeback to get big budget Hollywood treatment

The story of 'Mike the Bike' Mike Hailwood's stunning 1978 Isle of Man TT comeback is going to be hitting the big screen, starring Eric Bana

Mike Hailwood

The story of motorsport legend Mike Hailwood’s return to competition on the 1978 Isle of Man TT is to be adapted for the big screen, it has been revealed.

Australian actor Eric Bana, who has starred in films as Black Hawk Down and Troy, has acquired the rights to ‘Mike the Bike’ story through his Pick Up Truck Pictures company, together with his Robert Connolly’s Arenamedia.

Bana is confirmed to play Hailwood in the film, as well as direct from a screenplay that he has written.

Hailwood is regarded as one of the greatest racers of all time as one of the few to compete at the highest levels of both two and four wheel competition.

Winning nine Grand Prix World Championship titles between 1961 and 1967 – including three 500cc world titles – Hailwood went on to compete with podium winning success in Formula 1 too, even entering a handful of races while he was still competing in motorcycle racing, while he also has strong results at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

However, it is Hailwood’s return to motorcycle racing at the Isle of Man TT that forms the basis of this particular film. Returning to two-wheels after an 11-year hiatus, few expected Hailwood to be competitive on such a specialist event after more than a decade off the bike, but his performance would become the stuff of legend.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Eric Bana and Robert Connolly have taken Mike’s story to adapt into a feature film about his historic ‘comeback’ race win,” said Hailwood’s widow, Pauline Hailwood, and their son, David. “We are delighted that Mike will be depicted by Eric Bana, an actor with an immense passion and knowledge of Motorsports, Mike’s career, and a rider himself.”

Motorsport-related films have become something of a critics’ darling in recent years with both Rush – about the feud between Niki Lauda and James Hunt – and the Le Mans biopic Ford vs Ferrari both receiving Academy Award nominations.

However, this will be one of the first times motorcycle racing has received a similar big budget treatment.