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350cc, 500cc

Date de naissance


Lieu de naissance

St. Helens


Known affectionately by fans as The Duke, Englishman Geoff Duke was a six-time World title winner and the first rider whose image was used to promote the World Championship internationally, after he sprang to prominence in the early 1950s.

When Norton provided the Lancastrian with a competitive machine in 1950 Duke took advantage immediately by winning the Isle of Man TT, setting a new lap record and new record race time in the process.

That year was also Duke’s first World Championship season and he finished runner-up in both the 350cc and 500cc categories – missing out on the premier class title by one point to Umberto Masseti, having won three Grands Prix.

In ’51 however it was a different story as the Norton rider stormed to the title in both of the 'bigger classes', in just his second year of competition - winning every race in the 350cc championship and taking four victories in the 500cc competition.

The following season he was again undefeated on 350cc machinery as he retained the title, though he was unable to hold on to his 500cc crown.

His signing for Gilera in 1953 was not popular with the British press, but it was highly successful move for Duke, who concentrated solely on 500cc racing during the mid ‘50s and took the premier class title three seasons in a row – missing out on race victory on just three occasions in a period of dominance from ’53-’55.

Though he raced with Norton again later in his career and made a return to the 350cc category – and even a pair of 250cc appearances – his 1955 World title was his last. Nonetheless, Duke retired from the World Championship at the end of the 1959 season at the age of 36, with an enviable record of six World titles and 33 Grand Prix victories.