Bri­tish Café Rac­ers

Old Bike Australasia - - TRIUMPH THRUXTON R -

By Uli Cloe­sen Pub­lished by Ve­loce ISBN: 978-1-845848-96-5 128 pages hard cover. RRP: $55.50 Avail­able from Ren­niks (02) 9695 7055­ I am strug­gling a bit with this one – mainly with the ti­tle ver­sus the sub­ject mat­ter. The book opens up with a story on the AJS 7R, soon fol­lowed by Ex­cel­sior Manx­man, Match­less G50, Manx Nor­ton, Ve­lo­cette KTT, rac­ing ro­tary Nor­tons, See­ley G50s et al. Café Rac­ers? You’d need some­thing stronger than cof­fee to cope with this lot in traf­fic. The bal­ance of the book con­tains some pretty tasty stuff how­ever. Some lovely Norvins, lots of Tri­tons, Wes­lake/Nor­tons, Metisses of var­ied power in­clud­ing a very well ex­e­cuted Metisse fit­ted with a V-twin God­den grass track en­gine, Eglis, and for the off-the-shelf cus­tomer, the new range of Tri­umph twins. A to­tal of 250 colour pic­tures in the 128 pages. again and he hit the in­ter­na­tional trail once more, be­com­ing World TT F3 Cham­pion twice along the way. He re­counts his races with amaz­ing de­tail, but it’s the tales of the friends he made and the places he saw, that re­ally add the colour to this book. A great read, with won­der­ful photos, from a man who has ob­vi­ously en­joyed ev­ery mo­ment of his life, putting in­juries and per­sonal is­sues be­hind him in pur­suit of his ca­reer. By Philippe Guy­ony ISBN: 978-1-845849-02-3 Pub­lished by Ve­loce 400 pages hard cover RRP: $187.50 Avail­able from Ren­niks (02) 9695 7055­ Con­sid­er­ing Vin­cent’s post-war his­tory spanned just one decade, the Steve­nage com­pany cer­tainly left its mark on mo­tor­cy­cling. This ex­tremely com­pre­hen­sive and well-pre­sented large for­mat book cov­ers the evo­lu­tion of the sin­gles and twins through the B. C and D se­ries, and de­spite the ti­tle, in­cludes some of the pre-war Se­ries A machines as well. There’s the in­evitable fo­cus on record set­ting and break­ing, rac­ing suc­cess in­clud­ing the leg­endary Gunga Din and the Grey Flash, sprint­ers and of course, spe­cials. There are Norvins of all man­ner of con­cep­tion (in­clud­ing that of the late and much-loved Eric Deben­ham), Vin­catis, Vin­di­ans, and a very thor­ough look at the prod­ucts of Fritz Egli, who sup­plied the for­ward for the book. Other pur­vey­ors of Vin­cent-in­spired spe­cials in­clude Roger Slater, Pa­trick Godet, and even mo­tocross le­gend Eric Cheney, plus many lesser-known at­tempts from firms like CTG and Sprint. The Aus­tralasian con­nec­tion is well cov­ered too; Terry Prince with his TPV com­mands a large chunk of the book, along with Ken McIn­tosh, and the rac­ing-only Irv­ing Vin­cents from Mel­bourne. By Graeme Cocks ISBN: 978-0-9872808-1-7 488 pages hard cover Pub­lished by Mo­tor­ing Past­tor­ing­ PO Box 297 In­gle­wood WA 6052 Email: ad­[email protected]­tor­ing­ RRP: $149.50 plus postage. This is a truly mon­u­men­tal work (weigh­ing four kg) and a trib­ute to the ded­i­ca­tion of the au­thor and re­searcher Graeme Cocks, for­merly CEO of the Fre­man­tle Mo­tor Mu­seum, who has writ­ten a num­ber of books on WA’s rich mo­tor­ing his­tory. Red Dust Rac­ers is the story of the re­mark­able Lake Perko­lilli cir­cuit near Kal­go­or­lie – a most un­likely place for mo­tor sport – that be­gan in 1914. ‘Perko’, as it is af­fec­tion­ately known, is noth­ing but a vast, per­fectly flat ex­am­ple of rock-hard red clay that im­me­di­ately cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of would-be rac­ers on two and four wheels. And re­mem­ber, this was only seven years af­ter the cre­ation of Brook­lands, the world’s first pur­pose-built rac­ing cir­cuit, in UK. For the next 25 years, cars and mo­tor­cy­cles pow­ered around Perko, even though the venue was 370 miles from Perth and more than half the jour­ney in­volved ne­go­ti­at­ing sand drifts, tree roots, rocks, stumps and river cross­ings. Cocks de­scribes him­self as a ‘Perko­holic’; it took 20 years to put this book to­gether, in­volv­ing count­less hours por­ing over old mi­cro­film and news­pa­per re­ports, gath­er­ing photos and mem­o­ra­bilia. The re­sult is re­mark­able – a vis­ual ex­trav­a­ganza – beau­ti­fully laid out and art di­rected on high qual­ity stock with gold em­boss­ing on the page edges. Both cars and bikes are cov­ered in equal mea­sure, and the qual­ity of the early pho­tog­ra­phy is a joy to be­hold – the book con­tains over 1200 il­lus­tra­tions. There is a com­plete list of re­sults and the in­dex alone ex­tends to 18 pages. In mo­tor sport terms, Perko lasted un­til 1939, and to­day there is lit­tle ev­i­dence that the cir­cuit ever ex­isted. In 2014, a re­union was held –iron­i­cally al­most washed out by a rare storm – to cel­e­brate the cen­te­nary, and at­tracted a healthy turn out of cars, mo­tor­cy­cles, and a few air­craft. Only 1000 copies of this book have been pro­duced, each one num­bered. Even if it were twice the price, it would still be a bar­gain.

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