By Eoin S. Young. 224 pp. 8 1/2 in. x 5 1/2 in. (Eyre & Spottiswoode, 11, New Fetter Lane, London, EC4. £2.)
There is no-one better fitted for writing of the career of Bruce McLaren and his racing team than Eoin Young, for he was associated with the popular New Zealand driver/constructor from the earliest days of Bruce’s racing activities in England in 1962, when McLaren used to say he and Eoin were a two-man act, “the nice guy and the baddie”, and Young was one of the first directors of Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Limited when that Company was formed late in 1963.
So who better to recall the endeavours, set-backs, aims and successes of the cheerful New Zealander than this fellow countryman who worked beside McLaren and is an accomplished motoring journalist into the bargain? The book opens with an Introduction, by the author, which describes vividly how McLaren lost his life testing a 630-b.h.p. Chevrolet V8-powered Can-Am M6A McLaren at Goodwood in 1970, a reminder of how swiftly the sad accidents of motor racing happen. It is a shock to have so graphically recalled for us the fatal accident involving McLaren, as told by such a close friend of his, although, in fact, Young was not present when it occurred.
It is fitting that this book has been written to pay tribute, as Young says, to a driver who had so many friends all over the World. It is a reflection on the hazardous nature of motor racing that this book about the deceased Bruce McLaren follows so quickly another, “Trio at the Top”, by Desmond Mahoney, another New Zealander, which sought to show what made three drivers from New Zealand what they were, published (by Robert Hale, also in 1970) when all three, McLaren, Hulme and Amon were alive.
Now McLaren has gone, snuffed out at the peak of his chosen career. But Eoin Young’s book stands as a fitting memorial to him. It covers his career fully, from his youthful exploits with an Ulster Austin 7 and Ford Ten Special to the great exploits of the specialised sports and Grand Prix cars which carried his name. It is all there, in easily absorbed, behind-his-shoulder style—the Cooper days, the evolution of the original McLarens, Bruce’s entry into the Can-Am arena, details of engines and designs used by McLaren, and details of how the McLaren team was run, with Teddy Mayer as Business Partner and Team Manager Phil Kerr looking after the internal business management, the racing mechanics, from Wally Willmott and Tyler Alexander onwards, the associations with Trojan, racing in America, etc.
This is a book which all Bruce’s many friends will wish to read and one which is informative to others in the same game, especially those running modern racing teams, or who want to glean all the available details of McLaren racing cars and the engines that powered them. Inevitably, there is some repetition and some of the illustrations have been seen previously, because Bruce wrote of his career in “From the Cockpit”. But the present author has done an excellent job, and chosen the pictures well.—W. B.