Taming the Beast - Honda RC 181 - Mike Hailwood
Mike Hailwood Motorcycle Racing Art Print of the Honda RC 181 during the 1967 Isle of Man Senior TT by Motorsport Artist Stuart Booth
With Mike Hailwood already having won the 250cc title several years earlier on the RC 166 and having continued success, Honda developed the RC 181 as a racer for the 500cc GP Class of 1966. Along with Jim Redman on the other of the team's RC 181, Hailwood would finish second to Giancomo Agostini on the MV Agusta in the debut season after a bad start where he retired in the first four races. 1967 ended with the same result but gave Honda a Constructor's Championship and one of Hailwood's most memorable rides on the RC 181, notably at the Isle of Man TT, which he won. Honda withdrew from racing the following year but it is felt by many commentators that the RC 181 gave Honda a very real technological advantage that they fully exploited in their road-going machines of the the next decade.