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.