Freddie Dixon – The Man with the Heart of a Lion

By David Mason

It’s astonishing, in view of the place Freddie Dixon holds in the history of successful motor cycle and car racing, and his many engineering projects, that we’ve had to wait so long for a book about him. David Mason, a barrister, has now ably provided this. He covers it all – races, commercial ventures, patents as well as Dixon’s drinking episodes. He details the court cases in which he was involved, ending in prison sentences, and his life in detail.

The racing cars and motor cycles are all thoroughly described, and Dixon’s many achievements tabulated. Something no enthusiast should miss, particularly as the photographs are an excellent adjunct to the text.

There are a few blunders – an Austin Six never took third at Brooklands in 1934 and Mason’s accounts of Freddie’s brushes with the stewards differ from mine – but both are probably apocryphal. Mason says that when Dixon came before the stewards for baulking a faster car he asked how he could be expected to look behind him at 125mph. My version is that he said he knew little about motor racing but his car was in the paddock with fuel and his mechanic to get it going, so which of the gents would show him how to do it?

Nevertheless this is a serious, informative book; don’t be misled because of the splendid cartoon cover.

Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 1 84425 540 5, £25.