22/1/1959, John Michael Hawthorn dies.
On his day Mike Hawthorn was as quick as any top driver, but he was also inconsistent. Health issues, like persisting problems with his kidneys, could well have played o role on his varying performance levels. Glory and tragedy seemed often to go hand in hand for the Brit. Hawthorn won the 1955 edition of the 24 hours of Le Mans, but it was also his approach to the pits that triggered the tragic accident that killed Pierre Levegh and dozens of spectators. The following year, on the way to winning the World Championship, he lost his team-mate and close friend Peter Collins at the German Grand Prix and announced his retirement from racing. Hawthorn was looking forward for a promising business career away from the tracks, but in fact his kidneys were deteriorating and he was facing a long and painful time with a life expectation of just 18 months. A road accident on the Guildford bypass early in 1959 took his life only prematurely. It is said, he’d been racing team-owner Rob Walker, whom Hawthorn had spotted driving by on the road with his Mercedes Benz 300 SL. Blasting past Walker at a speed well over 100 mph in his Jaguar, the World Champion spun out of right hand corner and hit a tree sideways. The impact threw Hawthorn to the back seat, where he was found at the brink of death. Instead a long and painful death, Mike Hawthorn died doing what he loved doing: taking a car to its limit – and beyond.
Born: 10th of April 1929 in Mexborough, UK.
Died: 22nd of January 1959 in Guildford, UK, aged 29.