British Café Racers
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 www.renniks.com 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 www.renniks.com 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 Past www.motoringpast.com.au PO Box 297 Inglewood WA 6052 Email: ad[email protected]toringpast.com.au 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.