28 Facts About Barry Sheene


Barry Steven Frank Sheene was an English professional motorcycle racer.


Barry Sheene competed in Grand Prix motorcycle racing and was a two-time world champion, winning consecutive 500cc titles in 1976 and 1977.


Barry Sheene was born off the Gray's Inn Road, Bloomsbury, London, the second child of parents Frank, who had been resident engineer at the Royal College of Surgeons, and was himself a former competitive rider who retired in 1956 and an experienced motorcycle mechanic.


Barry Sheene began competitive motorcycle racing in 1968, winning his first races at Brands Hatch riding father Frank's 125cc and 250cc Bultacos.


Barry Sheene improved to second behind Chas Mortimer in 1969 in the 125cc class on the Bultaco.


For 1974, Suzuki introduced the RG500 which Barry Sheene rode to a second, third and a fourth scoring 30 points and finishing sixth in the World Championship.


Barry Sheene won the Mallory Park Race of the Year.


Barry Sheene took the Championship again in the 1977 season with six victories.


Barry Sheene switched to a privateer on a Yamaha machine, but soon started receiving works equipment.


Barry Sheene's injured legs were saved by orthopaedic surgeon Mr Nigel John Cobb FRCS at the nearby Northampton General Hospital.


Barry Sheene was known for being outspoken in his criticism of what he considered to be dangerous race tracks, most notably the Isle of Man TT course, which he considered too dangerous for world championship competition.


Barry Sheene was a colourful, exuberant character who used his good looks, grin and London accent to good effect in self-promotion, and combined with an interest in business was one of the first riders to make a lot of money from endorsements.


Barry Sheene is credited with boosting the appeal of motorcycle racing into the realm of the mass marketing media.


Barry Sheene was contracted by Faberge to promote their Brut aftershave lotion.


In 1975 while on crutches, Barry Sheene met fashion-model-turned-glamour-model Stephanie McLean, who was Penthouse Pet of the Month for April 1970 and Pet of the Year in 1971, while they were working together on a photoshoot for Chrysler.


Barry Sheene left her first husband for Sheene and after she had divorced, the couple married in 1984, having a son and a daughter.


Barry Sheene enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, socialising with friends such as James Hunt, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, drinking and smoking heavily.


Barry Sheene even had a hole drilled through the chin-bar on his full-face helmet allowing him to smoke right up to the start of a race.


The Barry Sheene family moved to Australia in the late 1980s, in the hope that the warmer climate would help relieve some of the pain of Barry Sheene's injury-induced arthritis, settling in a property near the Gold Coast.


Barry Sheene combined a property development business with a role as a commentator on motor sport.


Barry Sheene began on SBS TV then moved to the Nine Network with Darrell Eastlake, and finally followed the TV broadcast rights of the Grand Prix motorcycle series to Network Ten.


In later years, Barry Sheene became involved in historic motorcycle racing, often returning to England to race at Donington Park.


Barry Sheene competed in his last UK race at the Goodwood Revival in 2002.


Barry Sheene was chosen to run with the Queen's Baton in the run-up to the 2002 Commonwealth Games held in Manchester, England.


In July 2002, at the age of 51, Barry Sheene was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus and stomach.


Barry Sheene died at a hospital on Queensland's Gold Coast in 2003, aged 52, having suffered from the condition for eight months.


Barry Sheene was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1978 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at a motor racing cycle exhibition in London's Victoria.


Barry Sheene is featured on a vase by ceramic artist Grayson Perry entitled My Heroes created in 1994.