Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to 3,000+ Reviews, Guides, & More

Charley Boorman in top 20 motorcycle icons

Charley Boorman adventure bike
Charley Boorman

While the late Barry Sheene topped a list of UK motorcycle icons amid a cast of mainly famous racers, Long Way Round riders Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have also squeezed in at 17th and 18th.

The top 20 motorcycling icons were voted on by British bikers from a shortlist supplied by the British National Motor Museum Trust Advisory Council and UK motorcycling focus groups.


Former world champ Bazza topped the list ahead of Isle of Man TT legends Joey Dunlop (2) and John McGuinness (5) and world champions Valentino Rossi (3) and Mike Hailwood (4).

Surprisingly five-time world champion Aussie Mick Doohan wasn’t even shortlisted. If you think that’s because it’s a British poll and they hate Aussies you could be right as the list includes many non-Brit riders including Italian Rossi, American McQueen (8), 11-time Dakar winner (six on a bike) Stephane Peterhansel of France, American stuntman Evel Knievel (11), 10-time world motocross champion Stefan Everts of Belgium and Hollywood actor Marlon Brando from The Wild One.

Of course, no list would be complete without Italian Giacomo Agostini (6) considered the greatest rider of all time with 10 Isle of Man TT wins, 15 World Championships and 122 Grand Prix wins. Other notable inclusions are Ted Simon (20) who wrote the definitive motorcycle travelogue Jupiter’s Travels, four-time World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty (7) and famous Brough Superior fan T.E. Lawrence also known as Lawrence of Arabia.

Four British women made the shortlist: Britain’s most successful female motorcycle trials rider, Becky Cook (19); Beryl Swain who was the first solo female rider of the Isle of Man TT in 1962; and current TT racers Maria Costello (14) and Jenny Tinmouth (12).

The top 20 icons took centre stage this week in The Motorcycle Story display opening at the National Motor Museum.

Motorcycling icons

  1. Barry Sheene
  2. Joey Dunlop
  3. Valentino Rossi
  4. Mike Hailwood
  5. John McGuinness
  6. Giacomo Agostini
  7. Carl Fogarty
  8. Steve McQueen
  9. John Surtees
  10. Nick Sanders
  11. Evel Knievel
  12. Jenny Tinmouth
  13. Kenny Roberts
  14. Maria Costello
  15. Dougie Lampkin
  16. Sammy Miller
  17. Ewan McGregor
  18. Charley Boorman
  19. Becky Cook
  20. Ted Simon