Barry Sheene's father, Frank Sheene, has died at the age of 96.

'Franco', as he was affectionately known, passed away peacefully on Friday night at his Australian home.

Frank was a legendary bike builder and tuner, who was no mean rider either. He was responsible for fettling most of Barry's bikes during his early career and was always on hand with a spanner or some worldly advice, even when Barry became a world wide motorcycling hero, racing the likes of Kenny Roberts, Phil Read, Randy Mamola and Giacomo Agostini.

Between 1975 and 1982 Barry won more international 500cc and 750cc races than any other rider, and fought back from horrendous accidents at Silverstone and Daytona, before retiring at the end of 1984.

After retiring, Sheene moved to the warmer climes of Australia in order to ease the pain of multiple broken bones, operations and the onset of arthritis. One of the greatest characters in motorsport, Sheene soon carved out a niche for himself as an expert TV commentator on both two and four wheel racing.

Barry Sheene lost a battle against cancer in March 2003.

Frank Sheene leaves a daughter Maggie Smart, married to ex-Ducati rider Paul, and grandchildren Scott Smart (British Superbike rider), Paula Smart, Sidonie Sheene and Freddie Sheene. sends its sympathies to the Sheene family.