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Damon Hill’s passionate, but mediocre, motorcycle career

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Being the son of a Formula One legend, such as “King of Monaco” Graham Hill, you would expect a certain talent in motorsports racing. This wasn’t necessarily the case for the 21-year old Damon Hill. Having no sponsors, the young Damon Hill spent his days working as a building labourer as well as a dispatch rider for Special Delivery, a London-based motorcycle dispatch company in order to fund his racing career. Contrary to what you would think, the Hill family didn’t have much to spend on racing during the 80’s, following an air crash involving Graham Hill and members of his Formula One team, leaving the family under difficult financial circumstances due to insurance claims.

“Damon, why are you riding bikes?”

“They’re much more exciting than cars.”

“No aspiration to move on to four wheels?”

“No, not really.”

Reporter and Damon Hill, Donington Park (1982)

Showing great passion for motorcycle racing, the young Damon Hill was his own mechanic, working by himself on his bikes and even slept in tents during races. His passion alone, however, wasn’t enough to succeed in motorcycle racing at the time. As Rob McDonnell of Motorcycle News put it: “[Damon Hill] didn’t really look destined for great things”. Damon raced from 1981-1985, and would only have one notable merit, namely being crowned “Champion of Brands” following a 40-win season on a 350cc Yamaha. Not bad for being an independent young motorcyclist.

Here is a video featuring the future Formula One champion, although here with no plans of becoming a four-wheel racer.

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