Reviews, January 2011

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The class motor racing circuits of Europe
by David Venables
How fitting that a sport as prone to selfmythologising as motor racing should have found its nascent expression on the European continent. Its landscapes and cultures have enriched us with Norse sagas, chivalric romances, Greek gods, the Niebelungen and Parsifal, but they have also given us the legends of Fangio in the shadows of Schloss Nurburg, Moss on the northern Italian mountain passes, and Clark in the Belgian Ardennes forest.
David Venables’ briskly and clearly wriffen text is divided into chapters devoted to one circuit apiece. Although only a few pages in length each is rich in fascinating photographs, illuminating circuit diagrams, poffed driver biographies and, especially, apposite facts. For instance, I was unaware that Offo Merz, winner of the first German Grand Prix on the Nurburgring, was chauffeur to Archduke Franz Ferdinand on that fateful June day in Sarajevo in 1914. This read is as educational as it is entertaining. As the lights are switched off in Abu Dhabi, Venables’ well-produced volume serves as a timely and salient reminder that racing’s origins are to be found in the heart of Europe. It will also make an ideal Christmas present for the historian in one’s life.., or the mythologist. IM
Published by Ian Allen, ISBN 978 7110 3481 5, £24.99

An age of superheroes – A time before traction control
by Mat Oxley
After an impressive debut season, this factory Yamaha rider won the title the following year when the defending champion was sidelined through injury.
No, not Jorge Lorenzo. Four-time 500cc champion Eddie Lawson won his first title in 1984, and is one of Mat Oxley’s five ‘Superheroes’ alongside Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey, Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner.
Few can argue with the description of a supercharged ‘golden era’ in this photographic tribute. The imagery is striking and reminiscences of each champion offer great insight into the ‘superheroes’. Each season has a dedicated chapter, including full statistics. The concluding chapter is especially poignant, and the message that today’s MotoGP is a giant leap on from yesteryear is aptly delivered. JG
Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 1 84425 583 2, £30

Passion for speed, Vol 1 – Ferrari Enzo
First of a series to augment the Nick Mason/Mark Hales book Passion for Speed, this DVD explores in detail the musician’s Ferrari Enzo, in the workshop, on track and on the road.
If you’ve ever watched a television road test and found yourself saying ‘show us more of the cockpit!’ then you’ll love this. It’s a full hour of probing, driving and discussing the Maranello road-rocket, with racer and journalist Hales analysing it on track, Nick and Mark discussing the car in the workshop, and a rainy drive through Gloucestershire lanes where Mason struggles with the view, reverse gear and too many knobs “that’s why you’re here, Mark as riding mechanic”.
An uncut interview and extra incar laps are included in the bonus features. If your fantasy is a day with an Enzo, this will fuel your dream. GC
Produced by Into the Red Films, £14.99

The Welsh Rally
by Mark Griffin and Martin Leonard
Turns out you can be a Fast Finn and conquer Wales… Former World Rally Champion Hannu Mikkola writes the foreword to this photographic and highly detailed history of the Welsh International Rally in its heyday, explaining that each nation’s road conditions taught drivers ‘the right formula for success’.
Beautifully constructed with handsome imagery aplenty, the book chronicles not only the events of each rally from 1964-91 plus full standings but also its inception and activities behind the scenes, with enjoyable anecdotes throughout from competitors and organisers alike. But commentary from a wide variety of contributors can become repetitive, while the book skips over the origins of the event which stretch back to 1935. Still, owning one of only 1500 copies published is an incentive in itself. For rally fans, it’ll be a collectors’ item. JG
www.griffinrally.com, £35

Endurance racing at Silverstone in the 1970s and 1980s
Chas Parker
Another great little book in the ‘Those were the days. .’ series. There’s everything from Jagermeister 956s to MGB GT V8s covered in these two decades.
Published by Veloce, ISBN 978 1 845842 77 2, £14.99

Northeast American sports car races 1950-1959
Terry O’Neil
A weighty tome That is as comprehensive as the photos are good The endless results and detailed text makes it a very useful reference book for the decade.
Published by Veloce, ISBN 978 1 845842 54 3, £100

The Speed Merchants
Michael Keyser Bill Oursler, Balfour Walker
Photo record of 70s and 80s racing marques from GT to F1 containing over 1000 images but at three to a page They’re pretty small You II have to be a diehard fan to justify the price.
Autosports Marketing Associates Ltd, ISBN 978 9760392 8 0, $79.95