Motor sport book reviews in brief: January 2021

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The Irish International Grand Prix

Bob Montgomery

Irish International GP bookConsidering there were only three of these Irish grand prix meetings this seems a big book. But, says Bob Montgomery, these races were a signal that the young Irish state had arrived on the world stage.

It was a huge undertaking – they moved a monument and dug a subway – but entries justified the effort: Tim Birkin, Malcolm Campbell, Giulio Campari, even Rudi Caracciola, whose wife had to dress as a man to be admitted to the pits.

With its two-mile straight and scenic setting it was very popular, drawing thousands, but the fun didn’t last, defeated by financial losses despite terrific racing.

Montgomery relates this in exciting detail, especially the rain-drenched final battle between Birkin and Campari, and provides all results, entries and lap timings. More than that, as archivist of the Royal Ulster AC he has access to background information and includes club photos, letters, news reports, adverts, and pit passes for colour. High-quality production offsets the inevitably ‘variable’ quality of many photos. Specialised, but unlikely to be surpassed. GC ,

Dreoilin, £49.99
ISBN 9781902773384


Cars on film

Giles Chapman

A fun dip into cinematic motoring.

Giles, a well-known lover of the arcane, doesn’t just run through plots and list car makes but adds juicy detail about filming, crew, drivers, even the later careers of cars and people. The big hitters are here (DeLorean, Chitty) but more absorbing are research gems from other films – how the Plymouth in Christine repairs itself before CGI, that they really did machine-gun a Rolls-Royce for one film. Fascinating. Now to track down Trial by Combat to see jousting with Minis… One surprise – no Bond DB5. Boringly familiar, says Giles. Quite right, too. GC

History Press, £14.99
ISBN 9780750994002


Stirling Moss: rally driver

Vic Quayle

Moss was the all-rounder par excellence, yet the racing sidelines the dozens of rallies he entered, a balance redressed by this book. Quayle offers remarkable detail even on lesser-known events – Alpines and Monte Carlos were well covered but where did he find info on the 1954 Great American Mountain rally? Stretching the remit, he includes Mille Miglia, Tours de France, endurance runs, the Safari and the 1974 World Cup Rally when Moss was stranded in the desert, and runs on to historic rallying when Stirling was still scoring high (even I get the briefest mention). With sections on sister Pat Moss and Norman Garrad, and many photos, this one was overdue. GC

Herridge & Sons, £30
ISBN 9781906133931


Quest for speed

Barry John

If you follow the land speed record you’ll know many of these stories, but there’s added value here – instead of photos, graphic artist Barry John provides illustrations of cars and drivers as well as diagrams of blowers and transmissions, and writes knowledgeably about design principles and human motivation. It’s
not all LSR, covering Bonneville belly tankers, steamers and two-wheelers, e.g. Burt Munro’s Indian, and John appraises several ongoing projects. Thoughtful and informative. GC

Evro Publishing, £30
ISBN 9781910505595

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