Books and films

Hard Luck Lloyd
John Lingle

Lloyd Ruby’s Indycar career didn’t boast the results his talent and determination warranted, with only seven wins to his name.

Much of that was down to luck and circumstance (his sports car record boasted two Daytona victories and one at Sebring and he was one of Carroll Shelby’s go-to guys) and this book aims to set the record straight about ‘the greatest driver never to win the Indy 500’.

Lingle has spoken to most of Ruby’s surviving contemporaries and family members and the result is a warm recollection of a quiet but fiercely driven man who remained philosophical about his failure to win at Indy. With a wealth of stats and more than 275 photos, there’s something here for everyone. ACH

Published by Racemaker ISBN 978-1-935240-05-1, $49.95

Francis Howe
Motor Man Par Excellence
Tim May

Earl Howe’s name crops up constantly in racing history, yet this is the first biography of the man who was at the centre of it, both behind the wheel and also making racing’s wheels go round.

His RNVR days and political career, as an MP and then a Lord, were both significant, but it’s the racing that fascinates. Howe had the finest cars – 38/250, Delage 15 S8, 8C2.3, ERA, T59 – and raced in style. The pale blue overalls and cloth cap popped up all over Europe, but as May illustrates Howe was a tireless organiser too: BRDC president, RAC official, FIA steward, circuit entrepreneur.

Avoiding hagiography, the book examines his legacy, but as this enlightening and fact-packed work then goes on to show, the racing Lord did a great deal for British motor racing. GC

Published by GMS, ISBN 978-0-9928680-0-0, £72.50 (£65 plus p&p)

Bert Hadley,
A Son of Birmingham
Tribute compiled by Geoff Roe

Bert Hadley’s Brummie roots flavour this tale of the apprentice who became the mainstay of ‘The Austin’s race team. Most famously associated with the sophisticated 750cc Twin Cam Austin racers, Hadley became a rapid racer too – ERA tried to poach him for the works team and later he drove at Le Mans and the Mille Miglia in Jags, Triumphs and Healeys.

Author Coe knew Hadley, who died in 1993, so while this big paperback is hardly a coffee-table production, it does include first-hand facts on Austin racers from Dutch Clog onwards, together with tales about Bira, Kaye Petre, designer Murray Jamieson, Bert’s barneys with Lord Austin, and helping Tom Wheatcroft to resurrect two Twin Cams.

With plenty of photos and correspondence (including from WB and DSJ), it’s a timely record of an intriguing racing story. GC

Published by the Pre-War Austin 7 Club ISBN 978-0-9572426-2-3, £18

Directed by Michael Hewitt and Dermot Lavery

The sport of real road racing is a huge anachronism in an age that has an unhealthy obsession with health and safety: grown men racing motorcycles between the hedges at jaw-dropping speeds, enjoying a buzz they can’t find anywhere else, knowing full well what will happen if they make a mistake or something goes wrong.

No other film captures the allure of this sport better than Road, which follows the story of the Dunlop dynasty – Joey, Robert, Michael and William – with unflinching candour as they pursue their dreams at the Isle of Man TT and in Irish events. The story is at times harrowing, but more importantly the film captures the essence of why these men pursue their sometimes fatal addiction. MO

On limited cinema release from June 11 and available on DVD later