TONY ROBINSON: THE BIOGRAPHY OF A RACE MECHANIC
Ian Wagstaff. Published 2013 by Veloce who supplied the review copy (veloce.co.uk). 160 pages. Available from Octane Books, Auckland. This is, for anyone with an interest in that classic 1950s/60s period of racing, an absolutely terrific book. Tony Robinson was in the thick of so much of this period: both for private owners (Bruce Halford, Stirling Moss), for semi-works outfits (UDT-Laystall) and for what was in effect a works team until it got shafted by the powers that be: BRP (Ferris de Joux gets some coverage in that chapter). He also was at Cooper in their last days. As well as F1, this meant he was engaged in F2, Le Mans and the Indy 500 where BRP was commissioned to engineer cars for Masten Gregory, Chris Amon and others.
Sadly, it meant that people like Robinson were far more closely involved with the downside of racing- he was there for the death of Harry Schell and Chris Bristow, who Robinson rates as a potential world champion, and helped cut Moss from his Goodwood wreckage in 1962.
Robinson worked with the legendary Alf Francis for some years and was highly-regarded by his employers as a skilled and resourceful guy: you had to be in those days when you drove the team’s transporter, argued with customs officials, etc! The anecdotes flow thick & fast in this readable and entertaining book.