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Barry Sheene: Life and career in pictures

September 11, 2020

Tributes to the late Barry Sheene have been paid on what would have been his 70th birthday.

Thanks to Mortons Archive, we delve into Sheene's biggest career defining moments with rare and previously unseen photographs of the two-time world champion. 

Here are some of the best photos of Sheene in action.

Barry Sheene at 1979 British Grand Prix
Barry Sheene and 'King' Kenny Roberts fought a breath-taking duel for victory at the 1979 British GP. Photo: Mortons Archive

Sheene and Kenny Roberts are two of motorcycling's all-time greats.

They first raced against each other at Daytona in 1974 and over the next decade they met more than 100 times and on four continents. The biggest and most famous meeting of them all was the British Grand Pix at Silverstone in 1979.

Barry Sheen & Kenny Roberts
Sheene and Roberts had an intense rivalry. Photo: Mortons Archive

Arguably the greatest Grand Prix of all time, Sheene and Roberts changed hands on several occasions but the latter ultimately won by just 0.03s. 

Barry Sheene Daytona 1975
Photo: Mortons Archive

In 1975, Sheene began the season is devastating fashion, breaking his left leg an ended it back on crutches after breaking his right knee. 

Between those two disasters he delivered the goods on the RG500, winning the first two 500cc GPs of his career.

Barry Sheene 1976
Photo: Mortons Archive

The steel pin Sheene had inserted in his left leg following his Daytona crash remained in place until December 1976. He said it was a pain in the a*** because its positioning meant he had to sit on it.

Nevertheless 1976 was a good year for Sheene. On July 25, 1976, Barry wrapped up his first 500cc world championship at Anderstorp in Sweden, after winning the race by 34 seconds from Australia’s Jack Findlay. 

His second world title came the year after. With Suzuki for his fifth consecutive year, Sheene continued using his famous number seven. He ended the year as World Champion with six wins being taken in Venezuela, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and Sweden and, at the conclusion of the 11-round series, he was 27 points clear of runner-up Baker. 

Sheene
Barry Sheene at the peak of his powers on the RG500, 1977. Photo: Mortons Archive
Sheene & Roberts 1977
Sheene and Roberts in 1978. Photo: Mortons Archive

The lap record of 137.150mph Sheene set in winning the 1977 Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps remains the fastest ever at a motorcycle Grand Prix and due to changes in track design it is highly unlikely that it will ever be bettered.

Spa was the scene of Barry Sheene's first ever GP win in 1971 and he is pictured leading Roberts in 1978.

About the Author

Sam Hewitt

Sam Hewitt is the Digital Content Editor at Mortons Media Group. Sam has a Journalism degree from the University of Lincoln. When he’s not writing about engines he can be found at Keepmoat Stadium, supporting his beloved League One football team Doncaster Rovers. 01507 529529 | SHewitt@Mortons.co.uk

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