Book Re­view — speed


Mat Ox­ley’s thrilling work makes for a great read

If you’re a long­time reader of Bike In­dia you’re most prob­a­bly quite fa­mil­iar with Mat ox­ley’s name. our highly ex­pe­ri­enced fire­brand Mo­togP ed­i­tor is one of the fore­most names in the world of mo­tor sport re­portage and has earned a rep­u­ta­tion for pulling no punches when shar­ing his thoughts on the pin­na­cle of two-wheeled rac­ing. With a jour­nal­is­tic ca­reer span­ning over 30 years and an Isle of Man TT win­ner’s medal to his credit, Mat is the real deal. His lat­est lit­er­ary en­deav­our draws on all this con­sid­er­able ex­pe­ri­ence and trans­ports its readers to the very gen­e­sis of com­pe­ti­tion astride mo­tor­ized two-wheel­ers.

In Speed: The One Gen­uinely Modern

Plea­sure you will meet colour­ful char­ac­ters like the ruf­fian rac­ers hail­ing from eng­land, whose post-race de­bauch­ery would put any rock ‘n’ roll band to shame, the ne’er-do-wells chasing riches, fame, and glory and courting death at ev­ery turn of amer­ica’s treach­er­ous mo­tor­dromes, and the french rac­ing con­tin­gent that pi­o­neered mo­tor­cy­cle com­pe­ti­tion and cer­tainly weren’t above a bit of skul­dug­gery to en­sure the lo­cal he­roes al­ways came out on top.

This book grabs your at­ten­tion and ar­rests it as you hold on for a vir­tual ride that sees you hur­tle through time, space, and the his­tory of mo­tor­cy­cle cul­ture. you’ll be trans­ported from the Brook­lands Mo­tor

Cir­cuit in Sur­rey, the first ever pur­pose-built prov­ing grounds, to the Parc Des Princes, then a velo­drome-turned-mo­tor­cy­cle race­track and now home to Paris Sain­tger­main and its bil­lion­aire foot­baller stars, and will also blast along the wide-open spa­ces of the au­to­bahn and nav­i­gate the then muddy lanes of the leg­endary Isle of


Speed… is awash with quotes from main­stream and niche pub­li­ca­tions from all the dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods it cov­ers, adding a ring of au­then­tic­ity to these fan­tas­ti­cal tales. It is also per­fectly punc­tu­ated by some breath-tak­ing im­agery that of­fers the reader an insight into the barely con­trolled chaos that was bike rac­ing in its in­fancy. It’s no rose-tinted rem­i­nisce about the glory days with roughish he­roes con­sis­tently de­fy­ing the grim reaper’s scythe ei­ther. In­stead, it of­fers its reader a holis­tic view that serves up a bal­anced out­look touch­ing upon both the heady highs of rac­ing and the trail of death and de­struc­tion it left in its wake.

So, whether you’re a rac­ing fan or a mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­ast in gen­eral, Speed… should hold a place of pride in your book­shelf. This book is a per­fect mix of the en­thralling and the in­for­ma­tive; a sem­i­nal trib­ute to the prizes and pit­falls of mankind’s un­quench­able lust for that wil­i­est of temptresses: speed.

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