OBITUARY: Wisbech businessman and author Mick Walker

ONE of Britain’s most prolific motoring writers and a leading light of the UK motorcycle scene has died aged 69.

Wisbech man Mick Walker was the author of over 130 published company histories, collectors’ guides and rider biographies.

A former motorcycle dealer and importer who was internationally respected as a consultant to the industry, he played a key role in The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the University of Northumbria Gallery’s Ducati 2000 exhibition.

Born in Wretton, Norfolk in 1942, Walker left school at 15 and served in the RAF for ten years before starting his own business, selling spares from a garden shed.

He rapidly built up one of Britain’s largest motorcycle dealerships in his home town of Wisbech and went on to become the UK importer for several European marques.

When the 1980s recession brought a general slump in sales, Walker was forced to close his superstore, although he continued to provide spares and repairs for Ducati enthusiasts as a home-based business.

He also took up a new career, becoming an associate editor of Motorcycle Enthusiast magazine before penning the first of his many books – a history of classic Ducatis, published in 1985.

A former amateur racer of considerable ability, Walker sponsored many young riders and ran his own race team from 1995 to 2007.

Among its numerous successful graduates was double-World Superbike Champion James Toseland.

Walker was feted by Ducati on the occasion of the company’s 50th anniversary in 1998, and later presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Ducati Owner’s Club to mark his part in popularising the Italian marque in Britain.

Following the onset of terminal cancer, Walker completed a number of books before embarking on an autobiography. He completed it earlier this year but died on the eve of its publication.

He is survived by his wife Susan and son Steven.

Michael John Gilbert Walker, 30 November 1942 – 8 March 2012