"Mike the Bike."

That's what legions of his fellow Englishmen called him as 10 times he won world motorcycle racing championships . . . called him even after he switched to four-wheel competition and drove Formula 1 for the Surtees and McLaren teams . . . as he received the George Cross for his courage in pulling Swiss driver Clay Regazzoni (now crippled from a subsequent crash) from a blazing car after a pileup in the South African Grand Prix in 1973 . . . as he came back from an accident himself in the German Grand Prix of 1974 and ensuing four years away from the tracks to cycling again and, sensationally, the 1978 world title . . . as this son of a wealthy motorcycle dealer retired from racing in 1979 and started his own dealership in Birmingham, England . . . the while helping police by lecturing on road safety . . .

Tragic irony, then, as the Rover sedan Mike Hailwood was driving to get a Saturday night fish-and-chips supper with daughter Michelle, 9, and son David, 6, somehow rammed into the rear of a truck. Michelle was killed instantly; David injured slightly. And, with wife Pauline at his bedside, Mike Hailwood, 40, died yesterday in Birmingham Accident Hospital.

After Carol Burnett . . . Bob Feller sues the National Enquirer for libel, naming the supermarket tabloid and a "John Doe" defendant, an unnamed Cleveland sportswriter, for burning the old fireballer in an April 8, 1980, item as a "shameless moocher" . . . and the Yankee-Met feud flares again.A New York daily quotes Frank Cashen, g.m. of the Shea Stadium entry, as saying the movie "Fort Apache, The Bronx," should have been named "Fort Apache, Yankee Stadium." Bringing George Steinbrenner, Yank owner, to say: "If he made (the remark), it doesn't surprise me because I never thought much of Mr. Cashen . . ."