Reviews

Murray Walker scrapbook
Murray Walker and Philip Porter

After the success of The Stirling Moss Scrapbook 1929-1954, which we hailed as “never less than interesting and frequently fascinating” in our November 2007 issue, hopes were high for the book on the ever-charismatic Murray Walker.

Of course the scrapbook includes some of his more famous Murrayisms such as “Mansell is slowing down, taking it easy. Oh, no he isn’t! It’s a lap record!” But it is the kind words from the sport’s leading figures that really give you an idea of what makes this man from Birmingham tick. It is, you’ll find, motor racing, in any shape or form.

The book charts his move from “son of Graham Walker”, the exceedingly quick motorcycle racer, to one of Formula 1’s most famous voices (and faces) in an eclectic mix of photos, letters, newspaper clippings and memories. Indeed, one of the surprises is just how wide-ranging Murray’s interests are.

It is a book that you’ll be hard-pushed to read cover to cover as the jumps between eras are sometimes a little confusing, so perhaps this shouldn’t be bought as a biography, but as a celebration of the great man.

As Lewis Hamilton so rightly says, “Murray was The Man”. EF
Published by Porter Press International, ISBN 978 0 9556564 5 3, £34.95

Jim Clark, A Photographic Portrait
Quentin Spurring and Peter Windsor

The phrase ‘photographic portrait’ can be a get-out for the lazy publisher. Not here. Each photo gets informative captions by racing journalist Quentin Spurring, while the book opens with a meditation on the man by journo and commentator Peter Windsor. He met Clark, so his analysis includes a personal element. One tale tells a lot: when he complimented Clark on another textbook win, the Scot replied that it wasn’t a perfect race – he touched a kerb because he was thinking about the headache he had.

After an outline of his early racing, each of his nine years in F1 gets a chapter, with a short scene-setting text. The photos are large and some are stunning, with a good deal of personal stuff. There is plenty here I’d not seen – like Jim downing a tot while Graham Hill looks on in kilt and tam-o-shanter. And of course Clark’s range of mounts makes for a healthy spread of car types – a problem for books on today’s drivers.

This would make a fine companion to Eric Dymock’s perceptive biography of a brilliant driver who was also so cool he could look good in a cardigan. GC
Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 1 84425 501 6, £30.00

British Touring Car Racing in Camera
Graham Robson

To celebrate 50 years of British Touring Car racing, Graham Robson has put together a photographic record of the spectators’ favourite championship.

Sadly, what he hasn’t done is capture the excitement, drama or wheel-to-wheel rivalry the BTCC is famous for. Using a lot of press and PR photos means a bias towards a few teams – 23 straight pages of the dominant Astras, anyone?

Although the book’s chapters are based on periods of time, there is a confusion of dates within each one. On one page alone the pictures jump from 1991 to ’99, while captioning is factual and dry. Image quality and colour reproduction don’t help either. Far too many are dark, out of focus and generally of too poor a quality to do justice to this spectacular sport.

This is a missed opportunity for fans of this ever-evolving championship, for whom it should be something to look back on and enjoy time and again. This hastily assembled and costly book won’t last past the first skim through. DC
Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 1 84425 469 9, £30.00

La course De Côte du Mont Ventoux Maurice Louche.

Every year of the spectacular French hillclimb from 1902-76, with complete results tables. Hundreds of terrific photos, from Brasiers on gravel to Porsches on slicks. French text only. GC.
Published by Maurice Louche, ISBN 978 2 950038 8 4, 135 Euros

Behind “Le Mans”
Michael Keyser

A lot of photos, not that many video clips, no commentary and a slightly dodgy music selection makes watching this DVD a little tiring. However, it does provide some insight as to how the classic film was made. EF.
Distributed by Autosports Marketing Associates, ISBN 978 0 9760392 4 2, $29.95

Sunset on Kyalami 1961-1971
Gary Kegel & Brian Bennet.

A blow-by-blow account of the first 10 years of the South African circuit. Thorough, but if you’re not a fan of Kyalami’s happenings, you’ll find it heavy going. EF.
Published by Genuine Classics, ISBN 978 0 620 40586 7, £29