Today, March 29, 2013, Geoff Duke celebrates his 90th birthday.
The legendary British rider, who dominated the scene in the early 50s with six world titles between 350 and 500 cc (including the ‘double‘ in 1951 with Norton and three titles in the premier class with Gilera) and was one of the first true ‘characters’ in the history of motorcycle racing, will celebrate with his family at his home on the Isle of Man, where he made his debut in 1948 at the Tourist Trophy.
In Manx Duke is regarded as a sort of demi-God: in his career he collected six victories at the TT (including 3 Senior TT) while setting numerous on the mighty Mountain Course, part of which now bears his name.
In MotoGP Duke has won 33 of the 89 races he started, finishing his career in 1959 after a brief spell in auto racing.
Never forgetful of his numerous fans, Duke issued for the occasion the following message:“As I celebrate my 90th birthday on Good Friday, I just wanted to thank you all for your kind messages, cards and gifts.
It is always a pleasure to receive a letter from a fan and wonderful to know there are so many of you out there who remember fondly my racing days.
”“Unfortunately, I am no longer able to reply to all your kind messages and requests for autographs, but I wanted to let you know how much your letters mean to me.
I remain a keen follower of our sport, and have always enjoyed meeting you and reminiscing about the old days at events all over the world.
”“Although I can’t make it to as many meetings as I have in the past, I am looking forward to the 2013 season, especially the Isle of Man TT, which, as many of you know, takes place not far from my home.
”“As I mark my 90th birthday with my family, I will be recalling my career and remembering all the fans who played such a large part in it.
Thank you all.