Rac­ing Line

Old Bike Australasia - - EYES RIGHT -

Bri­tish mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing in the golden age of the big sin­gle

By Bob Gun­trip 232 pages hard cover ISBN: 978-1-845847-93-7 RRP: $49.99 Pub­lished by Ve­loce Avail­able from Pit­stop (1800 622 422) and Au­to­book World (02) 9231 6713 Lon­don born Bob Gun­trip has been an Aus­tralian res­i­dent for 35 years, dur­ing which time he had spells as editor of, and con­trib­u­tor to, sev­eral lo­cal mag­a­zines in­clud­ing Revs, Aus­tralian Mo­tor­cy­cle News, and more lat­terly Cy­cle Torque. Gun­trip orig­i­nally set out in 2012 to write a book about his hero Bob McIn­tyre, killed at Oul­ton Park in 1962, but soon found him­self chron­i­cling a trib­ute to “the gi­ants of my youth” – hard rid­ing men like Derek Min­ter, John Cooper, Mike Hail­wood, Peter Wil­liams, Bill Ivy, Dave Crox­ford, Peter Wil­liams and Alan Bar­nett. The pri­mary fo­cus, as the sub-ti­tle sug­gests, is on the Bri­tish big bangers in the 350cc and 500cc classes, but the book strays into other ar­eas too, such as what the Brits called Pro­duc­tion Rac­ing, and nat­u­rally in­cludes the Ital­ian mul­tis from Gil­era and MV Agusta. There is a fas­ci­nat­ing se­lec­tion of largely orig­i­nal pho­tos through­out; many from Bill Snelling’s fab­u­lous FoTTfind­ers li­brary, from Aus­tralian his­to­rian Den­nis Quin­lan, and from El­wyn Roberts in UK. Most of th­ese shots I have never seen be­fore. There are some in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter por­traits, but the bulk of the book is suc­ces­sive sea­sons’ ac­counts of the rac­ing that took place. If you fol­lowed the fran­tic world of the Bri­tish short cir­cuit ‘scratch­ers’ in the ‘six­ties you’ll find this an en­ter­tain­ing read, be­cause it was a time of colour­ful char­ac­ters and close­ness of com­pe­ti­tion that is rarely seen to­day. And the noise, that was pretty good too.

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