Barry Sheene's roadracing career exactly reflected my own much more humble racing life. I remember first becoming aware of him when I heard the BBC report from Jarama on the final Grand Prix of the 1971 season. After winning three GPs in his first season in Europe on a privateer 125 Suzuki, Barry finished a close second to Angel Nieto on the works Derbi in the 125cc World Grand Prix Championship. Soon after that I started racing myself and continued to follow Barry's progress. Barry's swift rise to stardom during that period was punctuated by his horrific Daytona crash, then barely three months later, his amazing first 500cc GP victory over the seemingly invincible Giacomo Agostini. I got used to watching his exploits on the track and seeing him from afar in the race paddock, seemingly always chirpy and happy-go-lucky even in moments of stress - at which point he'd draw ever deeper on the inevitable Gauloise cigarette that became one of his trademarks, along with the Donald Duck helmet and No.7 race plate. It wasn't till I won my first championship in 1978 that I got to meet him at last, when he was guest of honor at the British Motorcycle Racing Club's awards evening, and presented me with my trophy. My wife, Stella and I sat with him and his modelesque girlfriend for dinner and were entertained with a classic performance of Sheene ribaldry, interspersed with several telling observations on factories, teams, race technique, and other riders. I've always regretted not having a tape recorder that evening. But when a couple of years later I became a full-time bike journalist, Barry not only remembered who I was and the occasion we'd first met, but went out of his way to give me comments and feedback about the bikes he was riding. I expect he realized only another racer would fully appreciate what he was relating and that I would be able to translate the information for my readers.