Barry Stephen Frank Sheene MBE
(11 September 1950 – 10 March 2003)
Monday, 10 March 2003

"Barry Sheene, Britain's 500cc motorcycle world champion in 1976 and 1977, who has been resident in Australia for many years, died today after a brave battle against cancer. Sheene, aged 52, passed away in hospital on Queensland's Gold Coast at about 2 p.m. Queensland time. He is survived by his wife Stephanie, daughter Sidonie (18) and son Freddie (14). A private family funeral will be held later this week."
It is already 10 years since the passing of British GP legend Barry Sheene. This is my small tribute to this truly amazing and flamboyant World Champion Motorcycle Racer. I hope it brings back some happy memories for you too.
Barry Sheene was born in London, the second child of parents Frank and Iris. He grew up in Queen's Square, Holborn, London.
Frank, was himself, a very competent rider himself who also worked on his own bikes.
He started his racing career with Bultaco and a few years later in 1970, aged 20, he became the British 125cc champion riding a Suzuki. The following year he was runner up in the same series and also notched up his first 125GP win in Belgium.

Sheene won the newly formed Formula 750 European championship for Suzuki in 1973.

In 1974 Sheene went on to race in the 500cc World Championship.
28th FEBRUARY, 1975 - Daytona - 180mph
At the Daytona 200 in the 1975 season, Sheene was involved in a spectacular crash which threatened to end his career. Although he broke his left thigh, right arm, collarbone and two ribs, he was racing again after just seven weeks!
A year later in 1976, with five race wins, he won the 500cc World Championship, again with Suzuki. He repeated this achievement in 1977 when he won the 500cc championship, with six race wins in the season.
British Grand Prix 1979 - Silverstone
Sheene's battle with Kenny Roberts at the 1979 British Grand Prix at Silverstone has been cited as one of the greatest motorcycle Grand Prix races of the 1970s.
After the 1979 season, he left the Heron-Suzuki factory team, believing that he was receiving inferior equipment to his team-mates. His move to a privateer Yamaha machine soon saw the arrival of works equipment.

In 1981, Kenny Roberts was the reigning World 500cc Champion for the third time, and Barry Sheene, now on a competitive Yamaha, was determined to regain the championship. Ironically, Sheene and Roberts battled all season and let Suzuki riders Marco Lucchinelli of Italy and American Randy Mamola beat them for the top two spots. Roberts finished third and Sheene fourth for the 1981 championship.
Sheene won more International 500cc and 750cc Grand Prix races than any other rider, between 1975 and 1982

Barry Sheene remains the only rider to win Grand Prix races in the 50cc and 500cc categories.
From then on, Sheene struggled to find a bike capable of matching his talents and eventually announced his retirement in 1984.
The couple married in the same year, and had two children, a daughter, Sidonie, and a son, Freddie.

The Sheene family moved to Australia in the late 1980s, in the hope that the warmer climate would help relieve some of the pain of Sheene's injury-induced arthritis, moving to a property near the Gold Coast. He combined a property development business with a role as a commentator on motor sport, first at Nine Network with Darrell Eastlake, then moving with the TV coverage of the motorcycle Grand Prix series to Network Ten.

Videos by M4OON
Photograph Courtesy of Stephanie Sheene
Pit Board

Pit Board messages don't get much more motivational than this one. This trailer for the "Legacy" DVD is worth a watch. It covers a lot of ground in a short space of time.
Hand Signals Only
Sheene was famous for his hand signals. This one published by MCN also captured his attitude to Cancer. Barry was a fighter all of his life and he wasn't about to stop when he was told of his illness.
"I believe in God. I always have done."

Barry Sheene also had his Faith. Whilst not being a very religious person, he would openly say that he believed in God. "It's something that I am very happy with".

Daughter Sidonie comments in an MCN interview, "It sounds crazy but I can feel when he is around and watching me." Those of us that have lost someone close know it isn't crazy at all.
A Word From Steph

In an interview with Classic Bike Magazine, Barry's wife Steph commented, “The Seventies was like one big summer. We felt free. Then you wake up one morning and realize that you had a really good time, but now it’s all gone. I have no regrets and don’t believe Barry did. There’s nothing we would have done differently."
Photographs, Video and Accuracy

The internet is an amazing source of images. Unfortunately it is also very good at losing the names of those that created them. To those that I am unable to credit, I thank you for your love of photography and the memories which you capture for the greater good. If you know who should be acknowledged or notice an error, please Tweet me @YoopaMan and we can sort it out.
From an original piece of artwork by fan and bike artist Kerryann Hartley
The World Remembers

Thoughts and prayers are with Steph, Sidonie, Freddie and the rest of the family as the World remembers Barry Sheene, MBE, 10 years after losing his battle against Cancer.
"I don't give a Donald....."
The famous and timeless Donald Duck logo worn by Sheene on his helmet for most of his racing career came about for a few reasons. When he started racing Sheene wondered what to put on his helmet. What he did know was that he wanted something silly. So silly that noone one wearing such a design could possibly be any good. Sheene remembered that as a five year old boy his dad , Frank, built him a bike to ride. Young Barry was constantly falling off and bashing his head, so Frank went out and bought him a plastic helmet. It was black with gold lines and had a picture of Donald Duck on it. But there was another reason for his choice. As a cockney he would frequent say, "I don't give a Donald", an abbreviation of "Donald Duck" and "Duck" being cockney slang for "F***".
Why Number 7?
Because it's lucky! Well actually, Barry didn't know that. At school it was simply his favourite number. On a trip to race in the USA in 1974, he had the opportunity to use number 7 as racer Mert Lawwell had just retired. He raced for the first time under Number 7 and thought, "Wouldn't it be great if I could keep number 7 when I get back to England." So, on his return he set to work on the organisers. The rest, as they say is, history.
Mert Lawwel, 7, racing in USA
Broken Bones
Left Toes________________Three
Right Toes________________Two
Right Ankle_______________Four
Left Tibula_______________ Once
Left Fibula_______________ Once
Right Tibula______________Twice
Right Fibula______________Twice
Left Femur_______________Once
Right Femur______________Once
Heelbone________________ Once
Vertibrae_______________ Twelve
Left Ribs_________________ Four
Right Ribs________________ Five
Split Kidney______________ Once
Left Collarbone___________ Three
Right Collarbone___________Four
Right Forearm____________ Once
Left Wrist_________________Four
Right Wrist_______________ Once
Left Metacarpals___________ Four
Left Knuckles______________Four
Left Hand Fingers__________ Four
Amputation______ Left Little Finger
A Model Couple
Before the couple had ever met, Steph spoke to her manager about an idea that she had regarding doing some modelling in motorcycle race leathers. Barry wasn't to know that they would be his!
While on crutches and working on a photo shoot for Chrysler, Sheene met glamour model Stephanie McLean. Barry and ‘Steph’ were to become one of the most glamorous couples of the 1970s.
Bionic Barry
Barry Sheen probably had the most famous legs in the business. Pioneering surgery at the time enabled surgeons to re-build him. Some referred to him as being 'Bionic Barry'. Of course, these days, this surgery is commonplace and routine.

Some commentators say he had a total of 27 screws (which I believe to be correct), whilst others say 28. How many can you count?
"The Silverstone crash was different," he said. "That was major - I could have ended up legless. My left leg was hanging on by the femoral artery."
Barry Sheene, MBE
Britain's world motorcycling champion Barry Sheene accompanied by his parents, Iris and Frank, when he left his Putney flat to attend the Investiture at Buckingham Palace. * He was to recieve from the Queen the MBE awarded him in the New Year Honours.
Barry Sheene, MBE, "This Is Your Life"
Two of a Kind
Separated by a generation but sharing the same passion....... for riding under their own number.

When Barry won the World Championship in 1976 the organisers told him that he would be riding under number 1 the following season. Barry informed the organisers that he would NOT be. After some discussion, it was agreed that Barry could continue to ride under his favourite number 7. He became the first reigning World Champion not to use the Number 1 Plate. Many riders have followed him in this practise since, probably the most notable one being Valentino Rossi '46'.
Later Years
In later years, Sheene became involved in historic motorcycle racing.
Barry Sheene rides a Molnar FWD Manx through the paddock of the Donnington Park circuit in this file photo taken in summer of 2000.
Barry jokes with Murray walker, former BBC F1 Commentator and Motorcycle Racer.
True Grit
Barry battles against cancer to race at the Goodwood Revival Meeting in September 2002.
Barry is an intimate and revealing account told by three people who knew him better than most. Steve 'Stavros' Parrish, fellow bike racer and now BBC commentator, Nick Harris, who wrote and broadcast on all Barry's major successes, and Barry's widow, Stephanie. Frank and fascinating, Barry is an exclusive look into the extraordinary life of a charming and complex man.

Barry is still available from Amazon.