Book Review: Lap of Honour — a photographic journey with Sir Stirling Moss

Books about Stirling Moss are no rarity, but few offer the sort of slant Lap of Honour provides, says Gordon Cruickshank

Stirling Moss lap of honour

Lap of Honour is chock-full of period images, which are enriched by Moss’s personal recollections

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You’d be forgiven for thinking this was just about maestro Moss, but the word ‘with’ in the subtitle hints at what’s different. Hain was an amateur photographer and race fan (as well as a kart racer) who had a burst of snappery at circuits in the 1960s, when Stirling inevitably became his hero, and then dropped cameras for guitars and girls. But with the growth of historic racing, and especially the resurgence of Goodwood, his enthusiasm sparked again and he reconnected with the cars and many of the people he had watched as a child – especially Moss. A series of encounters with the now- retired ace led to a friendship built around Hain’s photographs old and new and much input from the great man to the book, where he comments on photos Hain shows him.

Not that it’s always informative: Hain likes to quote conversations even when showing Moss a photo and getting the answer “I don’t remember that”. Some, though, add colourful detail to a grainy photo. And there are scads of pictures, some great, some not, many of ‘Mr Motor Racing’ snapped in 33 different cars, in both his first and second race careers and afterwards.

Stirling-Moss-lap-of-honour-book-coverTo vary the mix (and this is a massive 415-page volume) Hain diverts to other topics, such as a conversation with Aston Martin racer Eric Thompson, who it turns out went out with Hain’s mother, leading to an exchange of photos. In that sense it is somewhat like listening in to private family reminiscing. There are long transcripts of chats with Bette Hill, John Whitmore and others, some interesting and some merely the conversations we all have at race meetings. Then there will be a sudden choice nugget of recollection, such as the trivial sum Ray Bellm paid for a pair of Williams Formula 1 cars, or the fact that Stirling once introduced a run of Jethro Tull concerts… Music is the other part of Hain’s life – he’s a singer-songwriter – so musical references pop up: it’s not often you’ll see Edison Lighthouse mentioned in a racing book, and there’s another Moss appreciation by Mark Knopfler.

Eccentric and even self-indulgent, yes, yet the book has a charm of its own, turning up tales you might have missed, all with a deeply personal slant.

Lap of Honour – a photographic journey with Sir Stirling Moss

Tim Hain
Pitch Publishing, £45
ISBN: 978-1-785315-55-8


Richie Ginther — motor racing’s free thinker

It can’t help a man’s development if his mother gives him a bill for his upbringing. Richie Ginther got one, paid it, and never spoke to the woman again. Yet he had an image of being cheerful and friendly. Using memories from many family and friends, this offers a fond portrait of a man who had more to him than often remembered – highly sensitive to machinery, who would give up a podium rather than blow an engine, talent enough to push Moss to his best race ever, Monaco 1961, yet who walked away from racing having made Honda a force. Jenkins deflates the hippy recluse image of his later years; he did choose a clock-free life in a campervan, but was contented with life. While hardly elegant, this softback has some great personal photos. GC

Richard Jenkins, Performance Publishing,
£27, ISBN 978-0-9576450-5-9


The racing life of E R Hall

I’ve always admired Eddie Hall, driving his pre-war Bentley solo to eighth at Le Mans in 1950 – the only man ever to do it. This softback relates Hall’s whole career from sprints to the TT. It’s hardly beautiful with its printer-quality photos, but it’s the most comprehensive account of the wealthy textile heir’s racing. Written by a man who knew him well (and is now 95), it fills out a little-known story of a determined racer who was also an Olympic bobsleigh crewman and a skilled photographer. GC

Frank Turtle, Self-published.
8 Northgate, Cottingham, HU16 4HH. £25 + P&P


Racing Mustangs — An international photographic history 1964-86

This book inevitably begins with the oft-told story of the car’s conception and birth, but then it diverges into a photo record of Mustangs in competition, in races major and minor, each picture bearing a lengthy, chatty caption. If you’re a fan and don’t mind the odd ropy photo, there’s plenty to enjoy here. GC

Steve Holmes, Veloce
£25 ISBN 978-1-787115-11-8