Rallycourse

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edited by Mike Greasley. 121/2″x91/2″ I76pp. (Haselton Publishing, 3 Richmond Hill, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6RE, £19.95.)

For as near as damn-it twenty quid, the baby brother of Autocourse has precious little meat on it. Fortunately the vegetables are as gorgeous as ever!

Published as it has to be when one season of rallying is over and the next already getting into its stride, it is hardly surprising that Rallycourse should define its role as a photographic album first and foremost. Reinhard Klein’s lensmanship is seemingly allotted as much space as it cares to utilise. (and no expense is spared when it comes to printing) with free rein to steal the show from the supporting cast of renowned journalists.

This policy can be carried too far. Besides his preliminary overview, Motoring News‘ David Williams is given just half a page in which to sum up each round of the World Championship; though his are masterpieces of concise reflection, the subject matter deserves fuller coverage. Each event has a double-page of results (including a map of the route) in a separate section of the book, but it is surely only in conjunction with words that pictures and tables can present a complete record of the year’s activity?

Surprisingly, Paris-Dakar and Pikes Peak are permitted more words and more pictures respectively than any WRC rally. British and European events meanwhile, are given such scant coverage at the back of the book that they might as well have been omitted entirely . . .

The bulk of the reading matter is lumped at the front, where Mike Greasley gives an appreciation of Henry Liddon, Peter Foubister names Miki Biasion as his number one driver, and Martin Sharp looks into Group A rally-car technology. Rather annoyingly, if predictably, most of the colour at the sharp end is sold to advertisers.

Just as rallying cannot help but be a photogenic business, so this annual cannot help but be a thing of beauty. If its reviewer sounds critical, that is simply because that beauty is the most difficult ingredient to put into words! GT