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Motorcyclists Should Mourn Loss of Curator and Author Mick Walker

Mick Walker authored some 130 books on every motorcycling topic under the sun, and he recently lost his battle with cancer at the age of 69, but before he passed from this veil of tears, he left behind a legacy of  histories, collectors’ guides and racer biographies which are most assuredly the definitive works on the subjects.

The preeminent motorcycle historian was a consultant for the seminal The Art of the Motorcycle which was displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1998 among his many other accomplishments.

An “untrained” writer, Walker only began his career as a scribe after he was already acknowledged as one of the most respected figures in the motorcycle industry. His passion for Italian machines – and the Ducati marque in particular – may well be his most lasting contribution. Starting in the late 1960s, Walker wore many hats as a motorcycle dealer, importer and avid race sponsor. He was the subject of kudos from Ducati during that company’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 1998, and the recipient of a lifetime achievement award bestowed on him by the British Ducati Owner’s Club.

Born in Norfolk, Walker served an apprenticeship with the RAF and then turned a passion for amateur racing into a business venture which saw Walker sell motorcycle spare parts from a shed behind his home. In short order, his keen business acumen led him to preside over a  220,000 sq ft store and made him the top dog in the industry until the recession in the 1980s. Once the motorcycle business hit a snag, Walker took on the job as assistant editor of Motorcycle Enthusiast magazine. That post led him to write his first book, a history of Ducati classic single-cylinder models, and he was, so to speak, off to the races as an author.

Those editorial successes led Walker to form his own race team (which competed between 1995 right up until 2007), and he became a mentor and friend to a host of riders, perhaps most notably represented by world superbike champion, James Toseland.

A fighter until the end, Walker managed to work on and complete his last books even while suffering the illness that ultimately claimed his life. As he began to understand that the end was inevitable, he assented to a request that he write his autobiography. This autobiography, his final tome, was completed but sadly, Walker passed on but a single day before the first printed copy arrived on his doorstep.

Walker is survived by his wife, Susan, whom he married in 1969, and a son, Steven, but he will be remembered fondly by many who love motorcycles and anyone who has read his works or seen the exhibits he so lovingly assembled for posterity.

Safe travels, Mick, we’ll all meet up for a ride across the sky…

 

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