Former world motorcycling champion Barry Sheene passed away on Monday after battling against cancer.

Former world motorcycling champion Barry Sheene passed away on Monday after battling against cancer.

Sheene was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and stomach in July last year. He was unable to accept an offer to wave the chequered flag at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix. He died in hospital on Australia’s Gold Coast on Monday, aged 52.

Sheene won the 500cc world motorcycle championships in 1976 and 1977. He won 19 races and was the last British rider to have won the world title.

He made his professional debut at 18, riding a 125cc Bultaco, and two years later won his first major honour, the 1970 British 750cc title.

Between 1975 and 1982 Sheene won more international 500cc and 750cc races than any other rider, and fought back from the horrendous accidents at Silverstone and Daytona, before retiring at the end of 1984. At one stage in his career he had metal plates in both knees, 28 screws in his legs and a bolt in his left wrist.

Sheene, who was awarded the MBE in 1978, moved to Australia in the 1990s as the warmer climate would ease the pain caused by arthritis from numerous broken bones suffered in crashes.

"It's a sad day for British motorcycle racing," said former Superbikes champion Carl Fogarty. "He was the biggest household name that the sport has created here in Britain. Even though there had been other British world champions before him, he was the first person to make that cross-over from racer to celebrity.”

Triple 500cc world champion Kenny Roberts said his legendary battles with Sheene helped boost his career.

"Barry made me dig down deeper than I'd ever dug to win races. He pulled so much extra out of me - it wouldn't have been the same without him."

Roberts claimed his first world title in 1978 by beating Sheene. In the British Grand Prix in 1979 Roberts passed Sheene on the final lap. "We always knew that particular race was going to be one that people will always remember," Roberts said. "It is the one people still bring up all the time. We knew it would come down to the last lap because we just couldn't get away from each other.

"I will remember Barry as just being Barry - very sharp, very quick and never boring."

Original article from Car