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Colin Hardman (24 February 1947 – 8 July 2006)[1] was a British motorcycle racer who competed in both the solo and sidecar classes.[2][3][1]

Colin Hardman
Colin Hardman 1989 TT Race winner.jpg
Hardman wearing 1989 Sidecar TT Race 'A' winner's garland
NationalityBritish
Born(1947-02-24)24 February 1947
St Helens, Lancashire
Died8 July 2006(2006-07-08) (aged 59) Oliver's Mount, Scarborough
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested19 (1982 – 1989, 1993, 1995 – 2006)
TT wins1
First TT win1989 Sidecar TT Race 'A'
Podiums4

Contents

BiographyEdit

Nicknamed "Cocker,"[3] Colin Hardman was born in St Helens, Lancashire and was the younger brother of the rugby league player, Alan Hardman.

Racing careerEdit

Solo racingEdit

1974 - 1981Edit

Inspired by motorcycle racers such as Geoff Duke, Hardman began his racing career in 1966 on a Triumph at Croft subsequently competing at the Aintree Motor Racing Circuit and Cadwell Park amongst others, before making his debut on the Isle of Man at the 1974 Manx Grand Prix where he competed in the Lightweight race, securing 52nd place on board a Ducati.[2]

 
Astride a Suzuki, Hardman approaching Braddan Bridge in the Classic Manx Grand Prix

Returning to the Isle of Man in 1975 he again campaigned a Ducati in the Lightweight Manx Grand Prix, improving on his maiden appearance taking his machine home in 37th place. Hardman next competed at the 1979 Manx Grand Prix and continued his participation at the 1980 and 1981 meetings, however he posted retirements in all three races.[2][3][1]

1985 - 1993Edit

Although concentrating primarily on sidecar racing at this time, Hardman resumed competing on solo machinery at the 1985 Manx Grand Prix which saw him entered in the Junior race competing on a Yamaha. By the mid 1980s the Manx Motorcycle Club had introduced the format of classic racing to the Manx Grand Prix programme, and Hardman was able to compete in the class on a Suzuki, although in 1985 he failed to finish in both races he entered.[2][3][1]

Fortunes were mixed at the 1986 meeting with Hardman forced to retire whilst competing on a Rotax in the Lightweight class. However a relative upturn in fortune occurred in the Junior Classic in which he managed to finish in 20th place, although this was followed by further retirements at the 1987 and 1988 meetings.[2][3][1]

From 1988 Hardman did not compete again on solo machinery until 1992, however two further retirements accompanied his endeavors at the 1992 and 1993 races. After this Hardman no longer competed in the solo classes.[2][3][1]

Sidecar RacingEdit

1982 - 2006Edit

Hardman switched to sidecar racing in 1982 and made his first appearance in the Sidecar TT as passenger for Brian Hargreaves. A disappointing retirement for Hargreaves and Hardman in the opening race was followed by a 14th-place finish in their second outing (the event is raced over two legs with the overall winner performing the best in terms of aggregate).[2]

Hardman teamed up with highly experienced driver Dennis Keen for the 1983 Isle of Man TT which saw them become an established partnership. Campaigning a Yamaha outfit, disappointment featured in the opening race which resulted in a retirement, however they subsequently claimed their first top ten finish when 7th place was secured in the second sidecar race. At the 1984 TT a retirement again befell Keen and Hardman in the opening race, however the second race saw a credible 6th-place finish. Keen and Hardman took 7th place in the opening sidecar race at the 1985 Isle of Man TT, which also saw them take the outfit through the 100 miles per hour race average with an average race speed of 100.63 mph (161.95 km/h).[2][3][1] Hardman partnered Keen for a fourth consecutive season in 1986, and again they saw mixed results at the Isle of Man TT posting a retirement in the opening race before taking 8th place in the second race of the meeting.[2][3][1]

Following his time partnering Keen, Hardman took the chair for Michael Burcombe which saw them finish in 13th place at the 1987 Sidecar Race 'A' followed by a retirement in the Sidecar Race 'B'. A marked improvement in 1988 saw Burcombe and Hardman take their Ireson Yamaha home in 7th place in the sidecar 'A' race which in turn was followed up by 5th place in the 'B' race.[2][3][1]

 
Dave Molyneux and Hardman descend Bray Hill on their way to third place in the 1989 Isle of Man TT sidecar 'B' race

By 1989 Hardman was recognised as one of the leading sidecar passengers in the race paddock and this led to his partnership with Dave Molyneux. For the 1989 Sidecar Race 'A' the duo took their place on the starting grid at the TT Grandstand alongside pre-race favourites Mick Boddice and Chas Birks and experienced crews such as Kenny Howles and Steve Pointer; Lars Schwartz and Leif Gustavsson; and Dave Saville and Richard Crossley. After the 3 punishing laps of the Snaefell Mountain Course, covering 113 miles (182 km) of racing,[2][3][1] Molyneux and Hardman brought their 750cc Bregazzi Yamaha across the line in 1st place, claiming victory by the narrow margin of one second on corrected time from Howles & Pointer in a race time of 1hr 4mins 57seconds, recording an average speed of 104.56 mph (168.27 km/h). This was followed by 3rd place in the Sidecar 'B' race where Molyneux and Hardman upped their average race speed to 105.26 mph (169.40 km/h) allowing them to claim the Sidecar TT victory on aggregate over the two legs of the meeting.[2][3][1]

The 1989 TT was the last time sidecars with an upper engine capacity of 1000 cc competed on the Snaefell Mountain Course. From 1990, formula racing was introduced to the Sidecar TT with engine capacity restricted to either 350 cc two stroke or 600 cc four stroke.

Following his success with Molyneux at the 1989 meeting, Hardman did not appear at the TT again until 1993 when he teamed up with Richard Crossley. Claiming a credible 6th place in their opening race, Crossley and Hardman then concluded the meeting when they took the 3rd place on the rostrum in Sidecar Race 'B'. Hardman was again absent from the TT in 1994 before going on to accompany Alan Warner at the 1995 and 1996 meetings. This partnership produced a somewhat poor return for Hardman, 13th place being the highlight in the Sidecar 'B' race at the 1996 Isle of Man TT.[2][3][1]

Hardman joined up with the former Swedish Sidecar Champion Lars Schwartz for the 1997 season with the pair continuing their partnership until 2000. Although they failed to make the grid for the Sidecar Race 'A' at the 1998 TT, a series of solid performances saw only one retirement in the seven occasions in which the duo competed at the TT with five top twenty finishes claimed.

The 2001 Isle of Man TT Races were cancelled as a consequence of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in the United Kingdom with racing resuming in 2002, and which saw the winning duo of Molyneux and Hardman reunited. Two strong performances saw them take 4th place in the opening race, and conclude the meeting by taking 2nd place in the second of the two races. Hardman then teamed up with John Holden in 2003 where they enjoyed a brace of top ten finishes at the TT.[2][3][1]

Missing the 2004 campaign, Hardman joined Gary Bryan in 2005. This partnership yielded a relatively low return at the 2005 TT where they were forced to retire in both races. The opening race of the 2006 TT saw Bryan and Hardman bring their outfit home in 5th position, however another retirement concluded their meeting.[2][3][1]

DeathEdit

Following the TT, Bryan and Hardman continued their season at the Oliver's Mount circuit in Yorkshire. During a practice session their outfit crashed at the Esses section of the course, resulting in Hardman dying at the scene. As a result of the tragedy the sidecar race at the meeting was cancelled, with the crews undertaking a parade lap in honour of the memory of Colin Hardman.[2][3][1]

FuneralEdit

Hardman's funeral took place at St German's Cathedral, Isle of Man following which there was a private cremation at Douglas Borough Crematorium. His ashes were scattered on the Cronk-y-Voddy Straight, said to of been his favourite section of the TT Course. There is a memorial headstone commemorating him in Kirk Michael Parish Churchyard.[2][3][1]

Private lifeEdit

Colin Hardman was twice married, with three children from his first marriage. Having lived for the early part of his life in St Helens, the family moved to the Isle of Man in 1977, where they made their home in Onchan.[2][3][1]

Racing StatisticsEdit

TT Race VictoriesEdit

Year Race & Capacity Motorcycle Average Speed
1989 TT Sidecar Race 'A' Bregazzi TZ750 Yamaha 104.56 mph

Career summaryEdit

Isle of Man TTEdit

Finishing Position 1st 2nd 3rd 5th 6th 7th 8th 13th 14th 20th DNF
Number of times 1 1 2 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 11

[2]

Manx Grand PrixEdit

Finishing Position 20th 37th 52nd DNF
Number of times 1 1 1 10

[2]

Complete TT recordEdit

2006 Sidecar Race A
5
Sidecar Race B
DNF
2005 Sidecar Race A
DNF
Sidecar Race B
DNF
2003 Sidecar Race A
8
Sidecar Race B
6
2002 Sidecar Race A
4
Sidecar Race B
2
2000 Sidecar Race A
DNF
Sidecar Race B
18
1999 Sidecar Race A
17
Sidecar Race B
15
1998 Sidecar Race A
DNS
Sidecar Race B
13
1997 Sidecar Race A
13
Sidecar Race B
22
1996 Sidecar Race A
17
Sidecar Race B
13
1995 Sidecar Race A
DNF
Sidecar Race B
17
1993 Sidecar Race A
6
Sidecar Race B
3
1989 Sidecar Race A
1
Sidecar Race B
3
1988 Sidecar Race A
7
Sidecar Race B
5
1987 Sidecar Race A
13
Sidecar Race B
DNF
1986 Sidecar Race A
DNF
Sidecar Race B
8
1985 Sidecar Race A
7
Sidecar Race B
DNF
1984 Sidecar 1st Leg
DNF
Sidecar 2nd Leg
6
1983 Sidecar 1st Leg
7
Sidecar 2nd Leg
DNF
1982 Sidecar 1st Leg
DNF
Sidecar 2nd Leg
14

[2]

Complete Manx Grand Prix recordEdit

1993 Classic Junior
DNF
1992 Classic Junior
DNF
1988 Lightweight
DNF
1987 Lightweight
DNF
1986 Classic Junior
20
Lightweight
DNF
1985 Classic Junior
DNF
Junior
DNF
1981 Lightweight
DNF
1980 Lightweight
DNF
1979 Lightweight
DNF
1975 Lightweight
37
1974 Lightweight
52

[2]

See alsoEdit

SourcesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Sidecar passenger killed in crash". News.bbc.co.uk. 9 July 2006. Retrieved 22 September 2018 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Race Results - Isle of Man TT Official Website". Iomtt.com. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q isleofman.com. "Motorsport mourns the loss of Colin Hardman - Isle of Man News :: isleofman.com". Isleofman.com. Retrieved 22 September 2018.

External linksEdit