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Michael Alan Duff/Michelle Ann Duff

Wed, 29 Dec 2010

Spotted the link to this short film on a Dutch blog. It's beautifully shot/directed and captures GP rider Mike Duff's recovery from a horrific hip and pelvis injury suffered at the Japanese GP which cost him a six month stay in hospital. Watching him push-start makes you wince just imagining the pain he must have been in.

That in itself is an amazing story of bravery and determination which has been an integral feature of Duff's life story - particularly in later life.  In 1967 he stopped professional racing, separated from his wife, and moved to California to become associate editor of Cycle World. He still did some racing, and in 1969 won the Eastern Canadian Championship. From 1970-8 he ran a Yamaha dealership. He also remarried and had another son. From 1978-84 he worked doing specialized machine-shop work in the Greater Toronto area.

In 1984 Michael became Michelle and moved to down-town Toronto to start living as a woman. He had once said that it always felt like he was 'wearing his shoes on the wrong feet.' Michelle completed 'transition' in 1987. She published her autobiography 'Make Haste Slowly' in 1999, and in 2000 moved to an isolated cottage in central Ontario. She is also a photographer and writer of children’s fiction. In 2009 she published two young-adult titles about animals.

I haven't read her autobiography yet but my next stop is Amazon... hardly what you'd call an easy or normal life, aye?

By mark forsyth

See also: Three-year-old donuts, Yamaha Pro Am madness, the best one make championship ever?, John Reynolds: Riding Masterclass.