Barry Sheene - Cigarette hole Bell helmet

BARRY SHEENE'S 1974 BELL RACING HELMET, in black, red and gold, and an Anderstorp Racing Club logo, decorated with his trademark 'Donald Duck' emblem and 'Barry Sheene' lettering on the back. It had a tinted visor and chin-guard with Sheene's trademark cigarette hole drilled into front to allow him to smoke even when fully kitted up, very race worn with evidence of crash damage to rear and loss to interior lining. That hole in his chin bar was evidence of a 60-a-day habit that undoubtedly contributed to his cancer. Sheene had been smoking since the age of nine, despite suffering from chronic asthma, and was rarely without a Gauloise. After one of his 175mph horror crash at Daytona, when he broke his leg, six ribs, his back, a wrist and his collarbone, the first thing he did when he came round in hospital was ask the nurse for “a fag”.

His famous number '7', Bell helmet was presented by Barry in 1975 to Merv Wright, the Suzuki race-team manager, as being the one he wore in his infamous Daytona crash of that year. Research suggests that this helmet was also worn while riding for Suzuki at various races during the 1974 season, including the Daytona 200, and that Sheene also wore it during the 1974 Swedish Grand Prix where he had a spectacular off in the rain, taking out Giacomo Agostini and thus gathering the visible 'scars' to the back of this helmet. Sheene was dubbed as "bionic" after his second near death crash He hit a stricken 250cc rider, Patrick Igoa, in practice for the British Grand Prix in 1982 at 165mph. They ended up in neighbouring hospital beds. This time there were metal plates and 27 screws. Kenny Roberts, one of the first on the scene, described what he saw as “a plane crash”. Yet Sheene returned and still made the podium in his final year in 1984. Barry was a fan of Bell and AGV helmets which helped him save his life during his career


His helmet was eventually auctioned off at Bonhams which sold for € 17,212 presentation on a base with plaque under a Perspex case. The offering included a laminated image of Sheene with his Suzuki team-mates featuring the helmet, five issues of MCN magazine containing articles relating to Sheene and a Sheene tribute.



Barry Sheene was certainly one of my hero's now and forever. During my motorcycle racing career so much so that I was and still have an obsession for the number 7. I had car number plates especially made and racing numbers allocated to me for all my race bikes which had to have a no 7 on it.Sheen's gloves shown in this image are the ones he wore at Silverstone when he had his horrific crash in 1982 riding a factory Yamaha", signed and dated July 28 1982 B.Sheene, race worn and damaged, left hand missing middle finger and shortened little finger. This pair of gloves were also auctioned off at Bonhams for € 1308.00


Sheene's mechanic, Martyn Ogborne, kept a record of deaths in the Suzuki GB Race Team from 1969 to 1988. The final tally was 62. Sheene was a hero to have survived the hardcore professional racer life he led during that period. He very sadly died of throat cancer at the age of 52 on the 10th March 2012. He is remembered by thousands of fans as one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time. He was a character and very likable personality on and off the track. Barry Sheene eventually retired and moved to Australia where he continued to remain in Motorsport as a TV personality and commentator.