As far as feel-good roadracing stories go, Mike Hailwood’s comeback at the 1978 IOMTT is almost impossible to beat. After years away from bike racing, Hailwood returned to two wheels (he’d been racing cars) and earned a win aboard a Ducati 900SS. It was, and still is, one of the most impressive race wins of all time.
Now, Aussie actor Eric Bana appears set to tell that story in a feature film.
For years, there’s been talk of a movie about Hailwood’s triumph; now Bana and director, producer and screenwriter Robert Connolly have teamed their companies up (Pick Up Truck Pictures and Arenamedia, respectively) to buy the rights to tell Hailwood’s story. Bana is expected to write, direct and star in the photo. He’s a rider himself, so although he is undoubtedly no Hailwood on-track, he should certainly bring a bit more quality to the pic than your average Hollywood personality.
Hailwood’s story is uncommonly tragic, as he outlasted many competitors on-track in an era where racing fatalities were common. He and his daughter were killed in a car crash in traffic, when he was only 40 and his daughter was 9. However, his surviving son and former wife say they’re on-board with this project, and if it’s well-done, this could finally be a great roadracing film about a rider who was perhaps the greatest of all time.